My Friend Madge
Madge was a BOAC Stewardess, she was Indian Army, (don't you know) and spent ten years there. Her Father being a British Officer. Then to become an English Nanny to a Canadian Tennis Star's Children.
At the age of 21 invited by the British Overseas Airways to become, every girl's dream, one of their Stewardesses. Madge Flew The Queen, Flew Harold Wilson, and met an Emperor. Met and married one of their Staff Officers, now lives happily ever after…they are my friends.
Madge is the only person I know who has been in an aircraft fire at 20,000 feet and lived to tell the tale. After a minute or two in the rest room she re-entered the First Class Salon, and was confronted with a sheet of flame coming from the starboard wing. Pulling on her white gloves she walked among the passengers assuring them that all was under control….the fire was extinguished. She served Tea and Cake. She still serves Tea and Cake every time I visit.
My Friend Madge Nigeria:
Early Morning: The Posh Bus took the BOAC crew from Lagos Airport to the Posh Hotel in the Capital, Madge removed her White Cotton Gloves and put them away in her bag, she never wore a pair longer than a Flight, so they would go to the Company Laundry when they returned to England. She went to her room and tried to sleep but after a few hours, she donned her swimming costume and went to the Outdoor Swimming Pool, almost every chair was occupied so she stretched out on a 'Lounger' and tried to rest.
"It's Too Late", called a frightened voice from the edge of the Pool, "the boy is dead! A slightly annoyed BOAC Stewardess, dragged back from her near slumber, responded "Wait a minute, I'm coming!" People moved to left and right as she strode purposefully the other side of the pool. She knelt beside the 'dead' child, who appeared to be about four years old, cupped his small head in her hand and covering his mouth and nose with her lips gently breathed her life into the boy, almost immediately the small lungs emptied their content onto her face, someone knelt with a napkin and wiped away the mess, Madge continued, there was silence.
She remembered a few weeks before when she and her colleagues had practiced this procedure with a dummy during "First Aid"; She felt a tiny movement against her lips, moved back her head, the child began to choke then cry, a local woman collected the infant from her hands, she rose to her 5ft 8ins and strode past the onlookers, past the Captain and the rest of the crew and went to her room.
Some time later, the Commodore of the Airline wrote to her One of those…."best traditions of the English Abroad" letters which she still has to this day.. more than fifty years later.