My mother Dorothy (Dot) was born in 1921 at 7 Vicarage Avenue, Kirkstall, second child and second daughter of James (Jim) Fraser and Clara Green.
Dorothy lived with her parents until she married, apart from a few year away during the war. She was baptised at St Stephen’s Church, Kirkstall, went to St Stephen’s School, and was part of the church community, taking part in amateur dramatics and other social activities through the church youth club. During the summer, the family went to Scotland to stay with Dorothy’s grandfather William Fraser at Mosside croft, near Hatton, Aberdeenshire. After leaving school she started work at a nearby printing company, where she trained to become a bookbinder.
Life changed dramatically when war broke out and, in 1942, Dorothy was called up for war service. Given the choice between the women’s voluntary army, the land army or factory work, she chose to have an adventure and joined the army (ATS – Auxiliary Territorial Army). After initial training at Durham, she was assigned to the underground Central Ammunition Depot at Corsham, Wiltshire. One of the jobs of the women in the ATS was to take ammunition out of storage, clean it and change the fuse so it was ready to be despatched for use: Dorothy began as a Private but was soon promoted to Corporal, in charge of a unit of young women.
The Corsham site was large, and had it’s own social life. Dorothy took part in concerts, and enjoyed going to dances. It was at a dance that she met the trumpet player and singer with the dance band, Robert Strachan. They kept in touch after demobilisation, and in 1949 were married in Leeds. Dorothy became stepmother to my father’s daughter Fiona, from his first marriage, and then I came along in 1951.
Dorothy spent most of the rest of her life as a housewife, which she preferred to going out to work as she thoroughly enjoyed keeping house and cooking and baking for her family. She died in 2010 at the age of 88.