11 November 2023

‘You always wondered if you would see loved ones again’

Lyn Woods

A photo shows Maisie Allison and Micah.

105-year-old Maisie Allison (Ballymoney) talks to Lyn Woods about life, faith and serving during the Second World War.

What was your role as a woman employed during the Second World War?

I lived in Glasgow and decided to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service. I was then posted to Wales and spent time training near Cardiff. After some interviews and exams, I was given the post of an interceptor of messages from Morse code in the Royal Corps of Signals. It was very interesting, and I worked alongside other women. It wasn’t easy as a woman, but we all worked together and the messages were important. It did get claustrophobic in the small area we had to work; eventually I was moved to more outside work, including cleaning of the officers’ quarters.

Do any particular memories stand out?

I have so many. The hardest part I would say was relationships: during the war you were always wondering if you would see your loved ones again. I do also have a funny memory – one day a group of us girls were on our way to clean the officers’ quarters and we had to go through a vineyard to gain access. The grapes weren’t fully ripened, but we hadn’t eaten any for such a long time, so we gave in to temptation and suffered with sore tummies!

How did your association with The Salvation Army begin?

Around the age of 13 I would hear the band playing at the end of Argyle Street in Glasgow. I remember going to meetings on Saturday nights with my cousin’s granny. She took a group of us, and we always enjoyed a cup of tea and an iced bun at the end of the meeting.

Tell us about your friendship with young Micah at the corps.

I go to the Army on Sundays and to the drop-in during the week. In the school holidays, Micah comes along to the midweek drop-in as his parents are the corps officers, and he always sits with me. I told him I can’t see very well, and he asked if he could help me play dominoes – he tells me how many dots are on them, and we play against the others and always win. He paints me pictures for my room. He also tries to teach me how to work his yoyo spinner that he brings to church! We laugh together. He visits me where I live and thinks it’s a hotel. When I ask if I can kiss him on the cheek, he says yes, but then rubs his face straight away, which makes me smile.

How would you describe your faith, both now and during the war?

From a young age I was taken to church. I always had a faith and trusted God. It was my faith that kept me going through the war, as it was hard. The things I saw and lived through required me to rely on God for strength and the church services that were held while I served were of great importance to me. When I look back, I have been through some difficult times and my faith has always given me hope to keep going. It continues to sustain me today. God has always brought me through whatever situation I was in.

What have been your greatest blessings in life?

I have always loved being outdoors and being active – hiking and dancing as well. My mum died when I was quite young and I had to look after my younger brother a lot. I thank God for my family and the fifth generation of our family today – me, my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

What’s the best thing about making it to 105?

I can’t really believe it! I was so thrilled and blessed to receive a birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II for my 100th birthday and then one from the King on my 105th birthday just recently. And I can still get out a little and enjoy life.

Do you have any words of wisdom for our readers?

Simply take life each day as it comes. Don’t nap in the afternoons so you can sleep well at night. Get out and about as much as possible.

Interview by

A photo of Lyn Woods

Lyn Woods

Editorial Assistant

Discover more

Take time to pause, remember and pray for peace.

George Tanton finds out how pilgrimages of remembrance brought solace after the First and Second World Wars.

Be inspired by personal faith journeys.

Join Andy and Ali for an hour of inspiring music, informative chat, testimony, devotions and special guests.