LOVING tribute has been paid to a woman who served her country as a teenage gunner during the Second World War.

Elsie Roberts, of Lindan House, Hightown, died aged 96 on August 26, leaving behind daughter Pat and grandson Paul.

She was widowed to Idris and Eric.

Elsie was 18 when in 1940, she underwent basic training with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

The Leader:

Elsie Roberts

At the time she had never lived away from her home in Essex but went on to serve in the Royal Artillery for more than three years on anti-aircraft gun sites.

When Elsie was stationed in Hastings, her favourite posting during the war, she met the man who would become her husband, Idris of Rhos, Wrexham, who was there with the RAF regiment.

They became sweethearts but soon after he was sent to Belgium. When he returned, the couple married in 1944 .

Elsie left the ATS in 1947 and they started their family in Wrexham.

Paying tribute, daughter Pat said: "She was wonderful and unique, and young at heart.

"Mum met my father during the war, and loved her dancing, like the sort you see on Strictly Come Dancing, and dress making.

"She was a chatterbox, loved being with people and liked talking about her war experiences."

In a feature which appeared in the Leader a decade ago, Elsie described her vivid memories of serving during the war.

She said: "Thousands of 18 year-old girls were conscripted into the ATS to enable our fellow soldiers to be released to right on various front lines.

"Many of us were trained in vital services, such as gunners on anti-aircraft gun sites, enemy aircraft spotters, medics, despatch riders, and on barrage balloon sites.

"When my age group joined up, the ATS, were just being trained to actually serve on gun sites which previously had been manned by men but the men had to go abroad fighting.

"They decided that the ATS women would be able to do some of the duties on a gun site but not all of them."

She added: "We were moved around ever such a lot defending Britain. It depended on where the bombers were aiming for but mostly it was coastal defence. The guns were huge.

"The actual air raids were the worst.

When you were on the gun sites it was not the same as being in an air raid, which was absolutely terrifying, not just in London, but in many cities.

"The bombing was terrible and it was really scary, especially if you were out and you could hear the shrapnel coming.

"I missed the comradeship as it was the best part of being in the army.

"Let's hope we don't have any more wars like that."

Elise's funeral is to take place on Friday September 14 at 1.30om at Pentrebychan Crematorium then St. Mary’s Catholic Club.