Dolly Shep­herd

In Dolly’s hon­our, her daugh­ter, Molly Sedg­wick, made her first para­chute jump in 2003 at the age of 83

BBC History Magazine - - WWI Eyewitness Accounts -

‘Para­chute queen’ Dolly was fa­mous in the pre­war years for her dar­ing leaps from thou­sands of feet, from a trapeze slung be­low a bal­loon. In 1908, she even made the first mid-air res­cue, when a friend’s para­chute failed and the two came down cling­ing to­gether on Dolly’s para­chute. The hard land­ing left Dolly paral­ysed, aged just 22, but with ex­per­i­men­tal elec­tric shock treat­ment she was able to walk again.

Dur­ing the war, she served with women’s units in London and Calais. Af­ter the Ar­mistice she mar­ried an of­fi­cer, which trig­gered her de­mo­bil­i­sa­tion in July 1919.

Dolly’s post­war life was se­date, but she re­counted her ad­ven­tures in a book, When the ’Chute Went Up: The Ad­ven­tures of Pi­o­neer Ed­war­dian Lady Parachutist. She made a last flight with the Red Devils dis­play team a few years be­fore she died, in 1983, at the age of 96.

In Dolly’s hon­our, her daugh­ter, Molly Sedg­wick, made her first para­chute jump in 2003 at the age of 83.

James McCud­den’s mother laid a wreath at the burial of the Amer­i­can Un­known Soldier, pic­tured here, in Novem­ber 1921

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