Amy Irene Pring, W/266452, ATS Special Duties

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by malcwayland, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    A very long shot - I am researching the war service of the above lady for a friend of mine and his cousin, who is related to her. She was a pre-War Post Office telephonist, and during the war worked at Post Office Research Station Dollis Hill, intercepting German signals which were than passed on to Bletchley Park for decryption. (Dollis Hill was also where the Mk 1 'Colossus' was built).

    Primarily I am trying to identify the whereabouts of the first image below, which has been described as being called 'Abbey House' by her relative. Despite several hours of 'Googling' we have not been able to ascertain where it is, and I also attach images of the only other documentary evidence we have of her work. She died, childless, in 1998.

    Any information about the house and what Amy was doing will be most gratefully received!

    Abbey_House_2_reduced.jpg Amy Irene Pring Pass.jpg Amy Irene Pring Paybook.jpg Amy Irene Pring Special Duties Pass.jpg
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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

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  3. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Sorry, should have included the fact that yes, her records have been applied for. Also, we are aware that "SCU No3" (Special Communications Unit 3) was situated at Little Horwood - "Use of the airfield was shared with the Army; a Royal Signals unit worked under the control of Whaddon Hall, the home of the Special Communications Unit. The duty of this Signals unit was to send and receive covert radio messages, and as the war progressed this section worked hand-in-hand with Special Operations Unit and Political Intelligence Department to drop spies and specialist propaganda operatives behind the enemy lines".
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  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    I'd guess that "Abbey House" had to be within reasonable distance of Kew, as Amy was given a pass to travel after duty until 08:00 daily, so presumably sleeping at home (off camp). The photo may be of the rear of the building, with tennis court net and conservatory usually being at the rear of the house.... but hopefully I'm wrong, or I've massively complicated the search!!
    It looks a massive house, possibly an ex stately home for minor nobility?
    For it to be named "Abbey" one has to suppose that there is an actual Abbey somewhere near?

    There is this, in East London, a 3 storey residential block.... (now redeveloped)
    The site (0.22ha) is comprised of a three-storey residential block (known as Abbey House) and open areas comprising ancillary uses including gardens, car parking and hardstanding. There are 12 residential units within Abbey House, all of which are owned by the applicant and are currently let privately. The site is adjacent to the Abbey Road DLR station, which lies to the west of the site. The site is bound to the north by Bakers Row, with Abbey Gardens (a community garden) beyond, a raised portion of Abbey Road is to the south of the site, with a series of 2-storey terraced cottages (and associated rear gardens) along Bakers Row and Abbey Road to the east of the site.
    and presumably within easy commuting to Kew....
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  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I assume this is she

    Amy Irene ("Renee") Pring
    BIRTH 1 FEB 1910 • Kew, (Richmond RD), Surrey
    DEATH MAY 1998 • Bournemouth, Dorset, England

    1940 -
    1940?-1945 • Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill, Middlesex, England
    Facility used for intercepting German signals and passing them to Bletchley Park for decryption. The code-breaking Colossus computer, used at Bletchley during the War, was built at the Post Office Research Station by a team led by Tommy Flowers.

    1939 England and Wales Register
    Name: Amy J Pring
    Gender: Female
    Marital status: Single
    Birth Date: 7 Feb 1910
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 12
    Residence Place: Bournemouth, Hampshire, England
    Occupation: Civil Servant
    Schedule Number: 191
    Sub Schedule Number: 15
    Enumeration District: EAAA
    Registration district: 94/1

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  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Isnt the photo and early (possible WW1 era) phot of Bletchley Park itself - there are several buildings that look similar

    Bletchley Park - Google Search


    or it may be where she was based in Bournemouth doing her 'civil service'
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  7. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    TD: Bletchley was my first thought, but what I can see is that it is only TWO storeys, plus it has solid chimney stacks whereas the photo seems to show elongated chimney pots but I'm happy to be corrected...
    I'd also think that a daily commute to and from Bournemouth would be a bit too far, easier to get digs in Bournemouth or wherever....
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  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    was thinking of 'digs' near to Kew and going 'home' to Bournemouth to see her Mum at weekends - sort of thing, commuting in those days daily from Bournemouth would be almost as difficult as it probably is today

  9. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    TD & Kevin - Thank you for your interest and responses, Gentlemen. "The photo may be of the rear of the building, with tennis court net and conservatory usually being at the rear of the house..." - that was my thought, and of course most images on-line are of the front of houses, which is rather frustrating!
    TD - Yes, that is Irene aka 'Renee' as in my 'Ancestry' tree. I don't think the house is BP, partly because of the chimneys and number of floors, as Kevin has pointed out, but also because of the apparent stonework in its construction.
    'Home' at Bournemouth was the Eaton Hotel, a rather up-market residential place, where she lived with her Mum, and although I did think there were similarities with the original picture I don't think they are one and the same.

    eaton hotel BOH.jpg
    Anyway, thanks again for your interest !
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  10. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Hmm, sorry, you wanted to know where that building was and I'm afraid that you've beaten us - so far.
    Those chimneys are so distinctive that someone such as English Heritage or the National Trust might be able to pin the location down, even if the building has long gone, architectural features can often pin it down.

    The Abbey House in Stratford, East London went with the redevelopment of the Olympic Park, but perhaps a letter with photo to a Stratford area newspaper might come up trumps?
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  11. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Kevin, I knew from the beginning it was going to be a long shot, but I think your Heritage and NT suggestion is a good one. Although I suspect that it may well fall into their 'Too Difficult' category, I may well see if my NT subscriptions over the years stands me in good stead! Thanks for the idea.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Well there cant be that many buildings of that style in the UK so somewhere someone will know what era/style/age it is and therefore narrow down your possible search areas

  13. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    OK, what's the prize?
    Abbey House1.jpg
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    A big kiss from me!

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  15. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  16. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Similar chimneys at St Albans Court, Nonington, near Dover..

    Description: Country mansion. 1875-78 by George Devey for William Oxenden Hammond. Ragstone ground floor with brick upper floor with ragged edge between the two. Limestone dressings. Planned round 3 sides of north courtyard. Elizabethan style of picturesque irregularity with tall clusters of polygonal stacks, straight sided gables and bay windows, partly semi-circular and partly polygonal. Main entrance in north U-shaped courtyard through four-centred doorway with dripstone and spandrels in the centre bay of 3 gabled bays with polygonal tower with castellated parapet to south west. Semi-circular oriel bay window with parapet above entrance doorway. S.W. front with 1:2:1 gables with storeyed semi-circular bay window in front of truncated northernmost gable with adjoining chimney breast to north and with 8 light canted and storeyed bay window in front of southernmost gable.S.E. elevation with large gable on south and beyond it a stone doorway then 5 gables to north east, the left hand one truncated by a chimney breast and with the lofty transomed and mullioned semi-circular bay window with pierced parapet to hall rising at the junction between the first and second of 5 gables. North-easternmost gabled bay projects forward. Set back and to the north east are service wings with full height gabled bay and tower at north-east end. Interior; internal features of interest include 2 storey hall beyond entrance hall; this has gallery on first floor. Panelled walls with stairs rising through lofty basket arched doorway on the north west side.
    But, being close to Dover, the rail journey would be a lengthy commute, so although it has some similarities, think it needs to be nearer London.

    That Abbey House in Stratford? If only we had some photos of it to rule it in, or out...

    And if she was connected to Bletchley Park, then surely she'd be somewhere conveniently close, Buckinghamshire way, or why not at Bletchley Park Mansion? Tring Park Mansion House would be conveniently half way between London and Bletchley Park, but it doesn't look right with the image posted, and was apparently still in use by the Rothschilds as a bank repository during WW2 (allegedly)
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  17. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    ... or perhaps not!
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  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hmmm - can you put us out of our misery Mr Clever clogs smirky grin


  19. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    OK Tricky, I was going to wait until tomorrow morning but couldn't bear thinking about you having a sleepless night. By the way if I ever see you coming down the garden path I'm not in!
  20. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Aced! Tony, tell us how you found the right place - it doesn't fit with any of the clues except the photo, so how did you do it?
    Was she decoding Vampyre messages? What's your blood Count? C'mon, B positive
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