A Women’s Auxiliary Airforce (WAAF) volunteer and wife to a man who redeveloped Sheffield celebrates her 100th birthday.

Dorothy Ruth Mace, commonly referred to as Ruth, is very proud to be part of a four-generation household in Abbots Langley with her son Peter, her daughter-in-law Dagmar, alongside their children and grand-children.

Born in Harrow-on-the-Hill, Ruth lived an adventurous life moving from place to place in England. As a child she grew up in Reading where she studied in Kendrick School and often embraced her musical side in an Anglican church with the harmonium, organ and piano.

Dagmar Warman, her daughter-in-law, said: “She has been a servant all her life, she is a wonderful contended person, she has been involved in Church a lot because her father was a captain for the Anglican church army.

“She played the harmonium from the age of 10 and then carried on playing the organ and piano most of her adult life for the church.”

Her musical contributions to the church continued up until around her 70s.

Harrow Times:

Watford Mayor Peter Taylor (left) and Ruth Mace (right) at the early birthday celebrations.

Ruth moved to Sheffield in 1938 with her family just before the Second World War began. At 21, she met Clifford Warman while working with him in the City’s Engineer’s Office at Sheffield Town Hall. Mr Warman would later become her husband in September 1944.

During the war, she volunteered for war service in the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce (WAAF) as a wireless operator in Bomber Command where she communicated in Morse-code to aircrews over the North Sea, English Channel and more.

Even during her early birthday celebration on November 13 at Victoria House Day Care Centre, Watford, Ruth still wears her WAAF badge proudly. She said, “I was very happy in the WAAF, of course I didn’t want a war though”.

Ruth and her husband married in September 1944 and continued to live in Sheffield for forty years where they raised their two sons Allan, Peter and their daughter Sheila. Clifford went on to work as a City Engineer and Chief Planning Officer in 1960 to rebuild Sheffield and was awarded a CBE for his contributions to developing the city.

Harrow Times:

Clifford (left) and Ruth (right) at their wedding.

The couple moved to Garston in 1986 to live near Peter’s family.

Her son said: “My father retired at 70, and we were living in Garston, so it seemed like a good idea for her to be near the family.

After her husband passed away in 2003, she continued to live in Garston before she moved in with her son.

Mr Warman added: “We’ve lived together now for six years. Daughter was living in Australia; son-in-law came back to help planning 2012 Olympics.

“You just look after each other, whether it’s a 100-year-old or a seven-year-old.”

Talking about her mother-in-law, Mrs Warman talked about how close she felt with her. She said: “I always called her mum, because I’m from Germany and my mother was mama, so calling her mum and adopting her as my mother over here in England was a very good thing.”

Her party at Victoria House kickstarted the series of celebrations taking place this week, Ruth was particularly looking forward to singing along with the entertainment offered and eating the cake which had her timeline marked out on the cake.

Harrow Times:

The cake showed the life of Ruth (Picture: Joseph Reaidi)

Ruth was so thankful for everyone who attended. She said: “I can’t believe it, all of this big party here as well, I can’t believe it. I didn’t expect to get to 100 when I was younger, I was only a baby then.”

Watford Mayor Peter Taylor also attended the event to mark this memorable occasion.

Her actual birthday will also be celebrated with her family on November 18.