Tributes to the second World War Darwen spy who ‘will never be forgotten’ (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Tributes to the second World War Darwen spy who ‘will never be forgotten’
CLOSE friends and family attended the funeral of a second World War heroine from East Lancashire whose death made national news.
A service celebrating the life of Sigrid ‘Gusta’ Green, who died last week aged 91, was held at Pleasington Crematorium, Blackburn, yesterday.
Miss Green was sent secretly by submarine to Nazi-occupied Norway in 1942 to spy on German shipping movements and the production of ‘heavy water’ — used to produce the atom bomb.
And on the day The Times newspaper carried a lengthy obituary detailing Miss Green’s incredible wartime story, 26 mourners turned up to pay their respects.
Among those present was Dr David Grimes, her doctor and friend of 20 years, PC Rachel Higson of Darwen police, who had escorted Miss Green on a visit to Bletchley Park in May, and godson Halvard Steen who, along with his wife Karin, had come from Norway.
The service was given by the Rev Ken Howles, chaplain for Blackburn Rovers Football Club, who described Miss Green’s life.
He said: “As I was leaving this morning I said to my wife, I am going to conduct the service of a real hero.”
Mr Howles went on to detail some of the wartime exploits of Miss Green who was brought up in Darwen. He said: “She was extremely difficult. I have got that right as everyone is smiling.
“I read online that she once took on the council over recycling.
“The line that got me was when 19 phone calls later she still hadn’t got what she wanted, so she persevered. She was the sort of person who, if she thought something needed to be said, she would say it. This lady was a real character, a real hero and she will be greatly missed.
“I can say with absolute certainty she will never be forgotten, because she was truly special.”
Miss Green lived in Ely Close, Darwen, before moving to Highfield House residential home for the final weeks of her life.
A life less ordinary...
SIGRID ‘Gusta’ Green was born in Darwen on December 3, 1920.
She went to Darwen Grammar School before studying English at Manchester University.
After joining the Women’s Auxilliary Air Force (WAAF) in 1942 Naval Intelligence posted her to Norway, armed with a suitcase radio, because of her bilingual background.
Gusta was taken to Norway on a submarine, pretending to be a boy as women were not allowed in submarines.
On her arrival, with typical directness she asked Norwegian resistance fighter Hans Ronning, who had come to meet her, why he had come in a rowing boat instead of a motor boat. He explained the need for silence as Germans were watching from the shore.
Under the codename Nora, she kept a low profile before being recalled to London after three months.
She made her way to neutral Sweden, escaping in the empty bomb bay of a Mosquito aircraft.
Gusta returned to England, working as a telegraphist and translator at Bletchley Park, where enigma machines were used to intercept German codes.
Her RAF pilot, was shot down and killed in 1942 and she remained single.
After the war, she studied in Norway before returning to Darwen where she lived the rest of her life.
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