Olive Mary 'Daphne' Morse was the youngst of six children of a fruit grower and farmer and grew up in Springfield. She studied at the Chelmsford School of Art. In the early part of the war she worked in the Central Air Raid Precautions at County Hall. In August 1941 she joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and worked in its meteorological branch. She was killed in September 1943 when on board a Halifax aircraft which crashed in Yorkshire, killing all nine people on board.
Daphne was born in the Braintree registration district in 1918, the daughter of the fruit grower and farmer Percival Ramey Morse (1862-1943) and his second wife Olive Sybela Morse (nee Evitt) (1886-1983).
Daphne had an elder brother Charles Percival Ramey Morse (1913-1980) and four half-sisters. Her parents had marred at St. Barnabus' Church in Dulwich, Londonon 19th August 1911, some eleven years after the death of Percival's first wife who was Daphne's mother's sister Florence Mary J. Evitt (1880-1909). At the time her parents married Daphne's fthare was aged 48 and a farmer living at Barnard's Farm in Witham. Her mother was aged 26 and lived in Dulwich.
In 1923 Daphne's father took up residence at Whittle's Hall, Springfield Riad, Springfield and her father divorced her mother. Daphne's mother married Arthur Thomas. Muir in London two years later.
Having spent some time at the Chelmsford School of Art and hairdressing Daphne joined the Essex Central Air Raid Precautions service as a telephonist at the outbreak of the war. She left the Air Raid Precautions service in the spring of 1941 and went to live with her mother Argyllshire.
Daphne's father died at Whittle's Hall in Springfield Road, Springfield on 18th January 1943, aged 80. He was buried at Witham. Wittle's Hall was sold by his executors after the war.
Olive Mary MORSE, Sergeant, Women's Auxiliary Air Force
Killed in an aircraft crash in Yorkshire. Aged 25
Daphne joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in August 1941 where she served as Sergeant 2040538. Daphne was employed in the meteorological branch of the service, with her permanent station at the Group meteorological office at HQ 4 Group (York). In early September 1943 she was attached to the meteorological office at R.A.F. Lissett in Yorkshire.
Whilst with the Women's Auxiliary Air Force one of her pictures was hung in the force's exhibition at the National Gallery in London.
In the afternoon of 14th September 1943 Daphne was one of nine people on board a Halifax II aircraft (serial number LW246, markings NP-Z) of 158 Squadron that took off from R.A.F. Lissett on a fighter affiliation exercise. Daphne is thought to have taken the flight for flying experience. Around 4 p.m., as the aircraft was returning to base, the end of the port wing broke away following the failure of the lower bolt assembly of the leading spar of the port mainplane where the port outer wing was attached. The aircraft broke up in the air and crashed at Mill Farm, Fardon, in Yorkshire killing all nine on board.
Apart from Daphne the victims were the crew members Sergeant (Pilot) 990159 Ivor Raymond Trower-Foyan, Flight Sergeant 425205 Howard Charles O'Neill Royal Australian Air Force (aged 26), Sergeant (Flight Engineer) 1568637 James Hunter (aged 20), Sergeant (Navigator) 1389676 Donald Allen Lawson (aged 21), Sergeant (Air Bomber) 1515448 Alexander Thompson (aged 21), Sergeant (Wireless Operator) 1028370 John George Taylor (aged 32), and Sergeant (Air Gunner) 1316582 Albert Thomas Nicholas (aged 22), plus another passenger Leading Aircraftman 1049981 Arthur Nasmith Perrin (aged 21). Daphne was aged 25.
Daphne was buried at All Saints' Church in Witham after a funeral service at All Saints' Church in Springfield on 23rd September 1943. She is remembered on the village's war memorial and the memorial at the former R.A.F. airfield at Lissett. Daphne left an estate valued at £4,398.