War hero pensioner killed in Walton-le-Dale crash served in all-female regiment during Blitz
A pensioner who was killed in a car crash in Walton-le-Dale was a celebrated war verteran, it has been revealed.
Connie Sharples died at the scene of a crash in Severn Drive, near Walton-le-Dale Primary School, on Tuesday morning (May 14).
It has now been revealed that the 94-year-old had been a war hero who served with an all-female British air defence unit during World War II.
Mrs Sharples' son, Roy Lund, revealed that his feisty and fiercely independent mum "ran off" to join the war effort at the tender age of 17.
“Connie was a very independent woman who, at age 17, ran off to join the ATS during WW2", said Roy.
“She ended up working with an all women's unit, the 93rd Searchlight, outside of London."
Between October 1942 and July 1945, the daring teen from Walton-le-Dale served alongside 1,500 women during Britain's darkest hour.
Courageous Connie eagerly enlisted with the 93rd Searchlight at a time when the relentless German Luftwaffe ran nightly bombing raids on London.
Stationed in Buckinghamshire, in the shadow of the Blitz, Mrs Sharples would risk her life to help save the capitol from complete destruction.
Connie and her comrades would be tasked with illuminating the night sky with huge searchlights to reveal the location of the dreaded German bombers.
The exposed German air force would then be tracked by searchlight until anti-aircraft gun units could strike.
Due to the regiment's crucial role in the nation's defence, Connie and her pals would be subject to enemy attack and would often be targeted by the Luftwaffe during their bombing raids.
The women would also have to brave freezing winters with few amenities as they were deployed to small detachments in isolated rural locations in the Home Counties.
But Mrs Sharples would return to Lancashire triumphant at the close of the war in September 1945.
In the years that followed, the fearless veteran from Walton-le-Dale would be justly decorated with a number of war medals for her service.