Celebrating International Women’s Day, Gibraltar Nursing Home honours one of its cherished residents, fondly referred to as family members, for her service in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Early years

Born Doreen Mary Payne in 1932, in the picturesque seaside town of Paignton, South Devon and one of 6 siblings – Doreen never particularly had an interest in education, she enjoyed sporting activities such as running and swimming. After leaving school, she ventured into the hospitality industry, working either as a waitress or as part of the domestic team in local hotels.

Royal Air Force

Doreen joined the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) aged 18 after her eldest brother had joined the Army several years earlier. Then, Doreen chose to join the military to escape the small-town life and during her time at the WRAF, she served in the Catering Corp and worked in the Officers’ Mess – a familiar environment and one of which she enjoyed, reaching the rank of Corporal. Doreen loved the organized and disciplined life in the RAF. The friendship among the WRAF was fun and mischievous, and Doreen had made many friends during her time there.


Doreen met her husband, an RAF Policeman, at RAF Filton in Bristol, where she was posted. They married on 2nd December 1954 when she was 22 years old. About a year later, in 1955, Doreen left the WRAF after they were transferred to RAF Stanbridge in Bedfordshire. After leaving, the two had to move out of the married quarters and moved to Edlesborough, Bedfordshire, where she then later found employment in a local factory.

Beyond her military service, Doreen carried the invaluable skills and discipline she had learnt into civilian life – an extremely tidy person and strong disciplinarian. Doreen who now lives with a Dementia, resides at Gibraltar Nursing Home, who’s ethos is a continuation of life and supports Doreen’s independence. The daily activities that Doreen enjoys the most is helping out in the kitchen, washing up, making coffee, and engaging in friendly conversations with fellow residents during mealtimes.

Gibraltar Nursing Home

Gibraltar Nursing Home located in Monmouth, South Wales approach to life recognises the values, beliefs and identity of each person. Each person that may need support is unique and by understanding one’s life history, and one’s journey in life, by striving to be a true continuation of home, the team at Gibraltar Nursing Home create a place where everyone feels safe and never alone.

To find out more about Gibraltar Nursing Home, visit: https://www.gibraltarnursinghome.com/