'I would love to get my hands on Putin' says plucky WWII survivor as she celebrates her 101th birthday in the Harborough district

After witnessing such death and destruction during the Second World War, Betty Davis knows all about the horrors of war

By Charlie Hawes
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 10:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 10:36 am
Betty Davis celebrated her 101th birthday on Saturday March 19. The other photo show her on her wedding day with her late husband, Lawrence Davis.
Betty Davis celebrated her 101th birthday on Saturday March 19. The other photo show her on her wedding day with her late husband, Lawrence Davis.

A Billesdon villager who celebrated her 101st birthday at the weekend and survived the German bombing of Birmingham ‘would love to get her hands on Russian president Vladimir Putin.’

After witnessing such death and destruction during the Second World War, Betty Davis had hoped there would never be any more wars.

“There are never any true winners, the conflict in Ukraine is so sad and it’s just pointless, I would love to get my hands on Mr Putin,” said the plucky centenarian.

Great-great-grandmother Betty (nee Lamb) celebrated her milestone birthday on Saturday (March 19) at home in Billesdon, surrounded by her family.

Born in Birmingham in March 1921, she lived in a pub where she met her late husband, Lawrence Davis. The couple married in 1938 and had two daughters – Barbara and Sally.

Betty is now the grandmother to four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

She proclaimed that the secret to a long life is to just keep moving.

“I’ve always had hobbies, I used to love tennis and I played golf until I was 93,” she said, adding: “Have a glass of red wine a night too.”

Betty worked at Lewis’s department store in Birmingham as a secretary and during the Second World War she joined the war effort through the Air Raid Warden Society, volunteering a couple of nights a week.

Speaking about her memories of the war, Betty said: “When the sirens went off everyone would go down into the cellar of our pub and wait the bombings out.

“One night an incendiary bomb hit the back of the building, and everyone came together with buckets of water and a hand pump to help extinguish the fire.

“When I walked to work the next morning, I would have to walk over rubble and devastation from the night before.”

Betty has a distinctive memory of a gentleman who joined them in the cellar of the pub and after the sirens silenced, he returned home to find that his garden shelter had been hit by a bomb and his family had all been killed.