Fenland centenarian recalls taking shelter from First World War Zeppelin

FEW people alive today could recall the terror of taking shelter from a First World War Zeppelin. But a Fenland centenarian is one such eyewitness.

Sylvia Keech turned 100 on Monday and to celebrate there was a family gathering and a live singer at Chestnuts Residential Home in Wisbech. She has lived at the home, in Norwich Road, for the last seven years.

Sylvia recalled the ominous airship slinking silently over the skies of East Anglia before it was shot down over Hertfordshire in September 1916.

Before it was downed all the children at her school had to take refuge in a ditch apart from Sylvia, who simply went home as she lived next door to her school.

A former original resident of Hatfield Hyde, before its transformation to Welwyn Garden City, Sylvia also recalls going to a pump to collect water during her youth, when she lived next to St Mary Magdalene Church, or the ‘Mud Hut Chapel’ as it was known, which served as a school.

Sylvia’s first husband, David Wilden, was killed in the Second World War. But she remarried and had two children by her second husband William Keech; Linda Moody, 62, and Charles, 59.

She also has five grandchildren and five great great-grandchildren.

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Mrs Moody said that despite frailty brought about by her longevity Sylvia was still “very positive”.

She said: “She can still remember the old places and old times. She’s always been bright and enjoyed a laugh and a joke.”

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