Friends Who Survived The Blitz Reunite After 70 Years Apart

They had lots to catch up on.

07/06/2017 11:00

Two friends who survived the Blitz have caught up on decades of missed memories after they reunited for the first time in 70 years

Kit Sollitt, 97, managed to get back in touch with former neighbour Madeline Dye after she read a news article detailing her 105th birthday. 

Speaking of tales of the last 200 years of history, the women swapped stories of wartime heroics and the time they sheltered from Nazi bombs in a cramped cellar. 

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Madeline Dye and Kit Sollitt catching up on lost time.

Madeline lived her entire life in the Heeley part of Sheffield, South Yorks., and between the ages of 18 and 25, Kit lived in the same row of terraced houses. 

They had not met since Kit was married and moved out around the end of the war, but they rolled back the years at Norton Lees Hall Care Home, where Madeline now resides. 

Madeline’s niece Diana Heaton, 80, said: “When I first told my Aunt [Madeline] that an old friend wanted to meet her, she didn’t understand who it was. It was quite funny. 

“She remembered Kit’s sister and eventually she figured out who Kit was and was delighted that she had a friend from all those years ago. 

“But it was brilliant when Kit came to see her - the first thing Madeline said was ‘you look even older than me’.” 

Diana said her relative had a great memory up until a fall at her home when she was 103, which resulted in her going into a care home. 

Diana added: “Her memory was really good, but when she fell and hit her head it really knocked her for six. She used to be always dominating conversations.

“Both Kit and Madeline spoke, but it was Kit who did most of the talking.”

Madeline, who still walks unaided, was still stuck in her post-war days and would hand-wash her clothes up until she moved out of her home. 

Madeline’s memories of Kit are understandably hazy after all these years - but as the pair pored over old family photos some of the faces struck a chord. 

In particular, it was Kit’s late brother Tommy Batty who stood out in her memory, who, despite being blind in one eye and death in one ear, was called up to front on D-Day. 

Kit joked: “When they were going to invade they called up anybody with two legs and arms.” 

Tommy survived to tell the tale, returning to UK shores to resume his career as a steelworker.

Madeline, who worked as a bookbinder during the war, was never called upon to join the production line because of her asthma. 

She beat cervical cancer at 80 and still maintained her independence - despite being told by medics to not even lift a kettle. 

Although only a handful of years separate the old neighbours, Madeline and Kit seem generations apart when it comes to some of their experiences. 

Madeline - who was never married, had children, or even a boyfriend - had never stepped foot in a pub before celebrating her 90th birthday in one. Meanwhile Kit recalled how she first ventured into a watering hole aged just 16.

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