Margaret Gregory was just 23 years old when she died. I don’t know why, but somehow, she looks older in this photograph. This could be due, in some part, to the styles of the day. Perhaps the way she wore her hair, or maybe something in the pose.
To the outside world, Margaret was a lively, outgoing young woman, the youngest sister of my grandfather, Asher Gregory. In truth, she was the illegitimate daughter of Asher’s older sister, and had been raised by my great grandparents, William and Julia, as one of their own.
During WW2, Margaret was a Land Army girl. Her work included delivering milk in the area where she lived, and it was while she was going about her business, one day in 1943, that her life suddenly ended.
A convoy of army vehicles was making its way along the road where Margaret was making her deliveries. The convoy included tanks, and the noise would have been deafening. A Land Army girl would have been used to this kind of military movement. It would have been a fairly regular occurrence.
So, when one of the tanks went out of control and started to veer off the road, in her direction, Margaret remained oblivious. The driver’s desperate warning was drowned out by the rest of the convoy. Margaret was killed instantly.
At the inquest, the driver of the tank, was a shunned and distraught figure, even though he hadn’t been at fault. It’s not unusual for people to look for a scapegoat in such circumstances.
In the end, it was Margaret’s uncle Asher that eventually placed an arm around the man's shoulder and tried to reassure him that it really had been a tragic accident. Margaret had died, but who knows how this poor fellow coped with his memories of the event?
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© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges