Anne Puckridge

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Anne Puckridge
Anne Puckridge - London 2014.jpg
Puckridge in London, 2014
Born (1924-12-20) 20 December 1924 (age 94)
ResidenceCalgary, Alberta, Canada
NationalityBritish
CitizenshipDual citizenship - British and Canadian
EducationIntermediate Degree in Arts and Science
Alma materBangalore University
OccupationLecturer in Information Technology
EmployerCirencester College, Stroud Technical College
Home townStroud, Gloucestershire, England
AwardsIndia Service Medal, War Medal 1939–1945

Anne Puckridge (born 20 December 1924) is a British political activist and served in all the Indian Armed Forces. She emigrated to Canada at the age of 77, at which time her UK State Pension became "frozen". As a result, she no longer received the annual increase to her UK State Pension. Since that time, she has campaigned against the "frozen state pension" policy that successive UK Governments have followed for 70 years.

Early days[edit]

Puckridge was born in Simla (now called Shimla) in the United Province (which is now called Himachal Pradesh) in India in 1924. Her father was in the Indian Army Ordnance Corps and her mother was a teacher before Puckridge was born, and died when Puckridge was only 15. Her schooling was mostly in Bangalore, India, and St Margaret's in Southsea, Portsmouth.

The family was due to return to the United Kingdom in 1938, but were unable to do so because of the outbreak of the Second World War. Puckridge attended Bangalore University, and obtained the Intermediate Degree in Arts and Science

Wartime service[edit]

In 1942, Puckridge left university, and enlisted in the Indian Women's Auxiliary Corps (WACI). She was only 17 years and 3 months old - 9 months short of the eligible age. She claimed to be 18, and she was never asked for proof of her age. She was recruited in the rank of sergeant (clerical work) in a Recruiting Office. She was then asked to move to Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF(I)) to work for an Air Defence Unit plotting aircraft movements. In 1943, she was invited to transfer to the Women's' Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS) to work with coding and decoding naval messages. In 1944, she was sent on a course to the Officers Cadet Training Unit (OCTU), and she was commissioned, second officer. In 1944, she was sent to Liverpool, England, for a further 3-month training course in a Naval Tactical Unit from where she was posted to Bombay, India to help to set up a new Tactical Training Unit there. Her job involved plotting warship movements for tactical training for Naval Officers.

In 1946, shortly before she demobbed, she got married, and, after she and her husband both demobbed, went to Aberdeen, Scotland. She was awarded with the India Service Medal and the War Medal 1939–1945.

In July 2019, Puckridge was invited by Veteran Affairs to sit on the Unsung Heroes float at the Calgary Stampede Parade where she was honoured for serving in all three armed forces.[1]

Post-war years[edit]

The following years, Puckridge spent bringing up family of three children, and in 1963, moved with her family to Stroud, Gloucestershire, in England. She was limited to a variety of temporary work positions (clerical, sales) while her children were young. In 1970, she became a part-time lecturer (secretarial skills) at Stroud Technical College (later to become South Gloucestershire and Stroud College), and in 1972 she obtained her RSA Teachers' Certificate, after which she was promoted to Full-time Lecturer in Information Technology. In 1985, at the age of 60, she took compulsory retirement, after which she was only eligible for part-time appointments. From 1985-2000, she was a part-time IT Lecturer with Cirencester College, Stroud Technical College. In addition, she also carried out private information technology tuition for a number of local companies. She retired in 2000 at age 76 and moved to join her family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2001.[2]

Political activist[edit]

Puckridge retired to Canada in 2001, and her State Pension at that time was £72.50 per week, and it has remained at that level since then (hence the term "frozen state pension"). Puckridge joined the not-for-profit organisation Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP), she has campaigned for both the CABP and the related International Consortium of British Pensioners for the state pension to be restored to current levels and to be index-linked for pensioners that have emigrated.

Puckridge has met with members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen Pensions. Her case has been referenced in the various UK parliamentary debates.[3][4][5][6][7] In 2018 her story was used by the CABP in a campaign to End Frozen Pensions,[8] and a petition was raised. The petition obtained over 218,000 signatures, and Puckridge delivered it to 10 Downing Street (the UK Prime Minister's residence) in November 2018.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Campaign fighting to end injustice of frozen pensions for British expats". Brits in Kenya. 29 July 2019.
  2. ^ Hill, Amelia (12 April 2017). "The older expats facing poverty-thanks to Brexit and frozen pensions". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  3. ^ Blackford, Ian (24 March 2016). House of Commons - Hansard: Easter Adjounment. London, England: UK Parlament. pp. Column 1848-49.
  4. ^ Blackford, Ian (11 May 2016). House of Commons - Hansard - Pensions Uprating (UK Pensioners Living Overseas). London England: UK Parliament. pp. Column 659.}
  5. ^ Black, Mhairi (11 May 2016). House of Commons - Hansard - Pensions Uprating (UK Pensioners Living Overseas). London, England: UK Parliament. pp. Column 672-673.
  6. ^ Blackford, Ian (20 April 2017). House of Commons - Hansard - State Pensions: UK Expatriates. London, England: UK Parliament. pp. Column 840.
  7. ^ Antoniazzi, Tonia (13 May 2019). House of Commons - Hansard - Topical Questions. London, England: House of Commons. pp. Column 20.
  8. ^ End Frozen Pensions