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Former Second World War RAF radio operator involved in Dambusters raid dies

PUBLISHED: 15:34 17 December 2017

Bomber Command pilot Steve Stevens on his wedding day in 1943 with his wife Maud, also in Bomber Command. Picture: Courtesy Steve Stevens.

Bomber Command pilot Steve Stevens on his wedding day in 1943 with his wife Maud, also in Bomber Command. Picture: Courtesy Steve Stevens.

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A former Women’s Auxiliary Air Force volunteer who helped guide brave pilots to safety during the Second World War has died.

Bomber Command pilot Steve Stevens in his flying uniform in 1942. Picture: Courtesy Steve Stevens. Bomber Command pilot Steve Stevens in his flying uniform in 1942. Picture: Courtesy Steve Stevens.

Maureen Stevens, nee Miller, known as Maud, 97, from Coleburn Road in Norwich, died at Saxlingham Hall Nursing Home the day before her and her husband’s 74th wedding anniversary.

Mrs Stevens, met her former RAF Bomber Command pilot partner Steve Stevens in 1943 after guiding his aircraft safely to land following a raid in Germany.

Maud Stevens in uniform when she worked in Bomber Command around 1942. Picture: Courtesy Steve Stevens. Maud Stevens in uniform when she worked in Bomber Command around 1942. Picture: Courtesy Steve Stevens.

Former pilot officer Mr Stevens, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross in November 1943 for bravery, said: “In her last few moments, I kissed her. She was quite beautiful to the last.”

During her successful career as a radio operator for the RAF, Cpl Maureen Miller helped guide the pilots involved in the Dambusters 1943 raid safely home to RAF Scampton.

She married Steve Stevens, now aged 96, at St Matthew’s Church, Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, on December 4 1943.

After being demobbed, the pair moved to Norwich, Mrs Steven’s home city, and settled into their Coleburn Road home in 1951 with their son Adrian.

Mr Stevens said: “She was always a very happy person. She was dignified. My son would say she would breeze through a room like a breath of fresh air.

“Instead of having a funeral of mourning, it will be a celebration of her life.”

It will feature the RAF flag and will be held at St Margaret’s Church, Hempnall, on Thursday December 21 at noon.

During a 70th wedding anniversary interview, Mr Stevens described his first encounter with his future wife in the RAF Scampton control tower.

He said: “There was this glamorous girl sitting in the middle of a crowd of people, the centre of attention, so I crept away.”

The 21-year-old pilot eventually asked her out on a date and the pair married eight months later.

“I said to her that if I was still alive at the end of the year we would get married,” he added.

Flowers or donations to Age UK can be sent to the funeral via R B Copping Independent Funeral Service, 125 The Street, Poringland, Norwich, NR14 7RP.

Flowers should be sent 10am on December 21.

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