Great-grandmother who survived Metropole Hotel bombing celebrates 100th birthday

Bournemouth Echo: ‘NO RUST’: Jessie Bursey turned 100 on November 30. She is pictured with her son Tony, grandson Paul and his partner Leane Hatt alongside Jessie’s great grand daughter Willow ‘NO RUST’: Jessie Bursey turned 100 on November 30. She is pictured with her son Tony, grandson Paul and his partner Leane Hatt alongside Jessie’s great grand daughter Willow

A GREAT-grandmother who survived Bournemouth’s bloodiest air raid in WWII celebrated her 100th birthday today surrounded by family and friends.

Jessie Bursey was heavily pregnant with her first child when she narrowly escaped serious injury during the intense attack which destroyed the Metropole at the Lansdowne in May 1943. She managed to shelter from the German bombers but others were not so lucky, with 131 people reported dead following the air raid and hundreds more with life-changing injuries.

Her son 60-year-old Tony said: “She’s told me the terrifying story of how she had to run quickly out of the hotel and dive into the trenches further down the road. Apparently there was also machine gun fire which she had to dodge.

“My mother was really worried that she might lose the baby, my eldest brother Raymond, but everything was fine.”

Jessie was working at the Metropole for the Auxiliary Territorial Service at the time of the attack and it was here that she met her husband Bert, who sadly died in 1986. Together they had four children and Jessie now has 11 great-grandchildren.

Born and raised in Dorset, Jessie attended Boscombe Council School and has lived in the same house in Southbourne for 59 years. When asked her secret to long life, she said: “I believe in wearing out and not rusting out.”

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