Mildred Elizabeth Constance Dibden

Thank you for sharing this – A piece of my family history that we’re very proud of!

The Dark World's Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War

Mildred Dibden, was one of nine missionaries on the British Army Aid Group list of ‘Free Europeans’ (people, mainly British, who were not interned at Stanley) drawn up in late 1942.[1]

Miss Dibden was born to George Dibden and Mary Elizabeth Payne in 1905, one of nine children, although one of her sisters was the child of her mother’s previous marriage.[2] The family house near Birmingham burnt down,[3] and she was brought up by a family friend,[4] and attended a boarding school in Ramsgate.[5] Her father emigrated to Canada, and eventually her mother joined him with five of the children, leaving Mildred and three others behind.[6] I’m not a fan of psychoanalytic explanations in historical writing, but it’s very hard indeed not to see the origins of her later devoted commitment to providing a family for abandoned children in these early experiences of loss, disruption and abandonment.

She was an…

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