Britain’s oldest person who helped WW2 effort dies at home aged 112

Britain’s oldest person has died at home aged 112.

Joan Hocquard, who was born during the reign of Edward VII in 1908, passed away yesterday at her home in Poole, Dorset.

Joan drove ambulances in London during World War Two before she and husband Gilbert moved down to the south coast.

They travelled across the continent in a camper van and went on yachting holidays until Gilbert’s death in 1981.

Later that decade, she met widower Kenneth Bedford who was 20 years her junior at the Bournemouth Gramophone Society and they had lived together since in Poole.

Her nephew Paul Reynolds said: “Joan came from quite a well to do family, her mother’s father ran a solicitors’ firm in the city of London, and she was born in a big house in Holland Park.

“Her father was in the colonial service so she split her childhood between living in Kenya and with her grandmother in Lymington (Hants).

“She worked in a French hotel as a cook for nine years and drove ambulances in London in World War Two before she married Gilbert and they moved down to the south coast.

“She had no children but she loved travelling in a campervan around Europe.

“After Gilbert died, she met Kenneth and they have lived together in Poole.

“She had an extraordinary innings and died peacefully in her own home, which is all you could wish for.

“She was a strong willed character and loved telling stories about how naughty she was as a schoolgirl.

“She was also a very hospitable and loyal person.

“She had an independent spirit and it was typical of her that on her 100th birthday she refused a card from the Queen because she did not want people to know how old she was.

“She always sought to live life to the full.

“She loved eating butter and cream and didn’t believe in dieting.

“There is no secret to her long life. I suppose she just had good genes.”

The oldest ever British person was Charlotte Hughes who lived to 115 years and 228 days before her death in 1993.

The oldest living Brit is Lilian Priest, from Swanage, Dorset, who is 111 years old.

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