A former RAF flight mechanic who lives in a New Forest care home has been reminiscing with fellow residents to remember others who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Frances Jeffs, 97, who has lived at Barton Lodge, New Milton, for two years served in the RAF for four years during World War Two. She was one of the very few women at the time to be a flight mechanic in the RAF during the war.

Joining at 19-years-old, Frances formed a vital part of the flight crew, plotting flight paths and performing systems checks to ensure the Spitfires she was on board made smooth progress.

Upon leaving the force, Frances moved to New Zealand to experience a different style of life and spent 20 years living and working on the other side of the world.

When she returned to England to spend more time with her family, she met her late husband Norman and the pair settled down in High Wycombe before she moved to Hampshire in later life.

Recounting her time in the RAF, Frances, whose father served in The Royal Horse Guards, said: “My favourite memories of flying in Spitfires was the thrill of taking off!

“I enjoyed being in such a prominent position and having all those responsibilities. I feel very proud to have helped our country during the war and for being one of the few women to hold the position of flight mechanic where I was based.”

Reminiscence therapy plays a key role for people living with dementia and memory loss and residents and the award-winning care home benefit hugely from this kind of storytelling.

Barton Lodge Manager Amanda Cooper said: “Frances has led an extraordinary life and it’s so humbling and interesting to hear the stories of all our residents.

“Marking the sacrifices made by all those people who have served in conflicts around the world to protect our way of life is such an important thing for us all to do.

“It’s particularly important to people of this generation and their families who have been so personally touched by the stories that we hear, it’s always a big day in our calendar.”