As we commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day, it's essential to remember and honour the contributions of women who have played pivotal roles in our history. One such remarkable woman is Sheila Johnson, a retired RAF nurse who is continuing life at Thistle Court Care Home in Cwmbran. Her story is a testament to breaking the bias and the extraordinary strength and endurance of women throughout history.

On exercise (supplied)

Born in 1938 in Caerphilly, Wales, Sheila's adventurous spirit and caring nature led her to join the RAF at the age of 18. She was deployed to Singapore, where her career as a registered RAF nurse began. It was there she met and married Michael Aubrey, a Royal Navy officer, and welcomed their son, Stephen, into the world. Sheila's determination to continue her work in the military, even after becoming a mother, was groundbreaking. Unlike many women of her time, she balanced her career and motherhood, defying the expectation that she should return to a traditional housewife role.

Her journey didn't stop with the RAF; she went on to join the Army, contributing to global peacekeeping operations with the United Nations and NATO during the Cyprus conflict. A significant highlight of Sheila's career was in 1969 when she attended the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle. Leading her team at the event, she witnessed a historical moment that emphasized the importance of Welsh identity. Sheila's service spanned over two decades, during which she rose to the rank of Captain in the Queen Alexandra's Nursing Corps. Her career was marked by humanitarian work and a relentless drive to make the world a better place, challenging the notion that women were the weaker sex.

Sheila with colleagues (supplied)

After retiring in 1981, Sheila faced new challenges, including meningitis in the late 1980s, which left her profoundly deaf, and a more recent diagnosis of dementia. Despite these obstacles, Sheila continues to live independently and fully engaged with her interests at Thistle Court. She spends her days reading, participating in the Church of England community, and enjoying gardening. Sheila Johnson's life is a powerful reminder of the impact of women in shaping our world. Her story, and those of many other women, highlight the importance of breaking the bias and celebrating the achievements of women across all fields. On this 80th Anniversary of D-Day, we honour Sheila and all women who have fought for equality and made significant contributions to society. To find out more about Thistle Court Care Home visit: