On 14 December 1978 Vanessa enlisted in the WRAC – and reported for duty at the WRAC Centre, Queen Elizabeth Park Barracks, Guildford on 8 January 1979. she passed out of basic training on 8 February 1979. Then it was on to the Postal and Courier Depot Royal Engineers (PCD RE) at Mill Hill to complete her B3 Postal & Courier training.
After this she worked on SO1 in the Main Sorting Office at Mill Hill. On 28th March 1981, Vanessa married Melvyn, a young Sapper, also employed in the sorting office at Mill Hill. This was the beginning of a very happy family life with Vanessa taking care of all the family administration and keeping melvyn out of trouble. Later that year Vanessa started climbing the promotion ladder and was promoted to Lance Corporal. Their first posting was to Germany in June 1982 to 3 PC Regt RE in Dusseldorf.
On further promotion to Corporal, Vanessa moved into the Postal Inquiry Branch. She was selected to take part in the US exchange program and spent a month in Schweinfurt in Southern Germany working in the USAPO there. In December 1985 the Bellamy’s were posted to Northern Ireland and Vanessa was promoted to Sergeant and given charge of the Forces Post Office in Londonderry where she remained until being posted back to Mill Hill in December 1987. During this tour at Mill Hill Vanessa and Melvyn experienced the greatest day in their lives with the birth of their beautiful daughter, Laura, on 20 September 1995 at the Royal Free Hampstead Hospital. In 1997 it was back to Germany to 98 PC Sqn RLC as a Staff Sergeant, where the family remained until returning to Mill Hill and Vanessa a Warrant Officer, as WOIC Ops in the Defence Courier Service. This was to be Vanessa’a final tour before leaving the Army in July 2003. When she left the Army she was employed as a Civil Servant in the role of Command Accountant (a civilianised officer post), initially at Mill Hill and then in the new BFPO at RAF Northolt. Vanessa during her time at Northolt was instrumental in providing her excellent knowledge on all matters postal in the design and deployment of the new computer accounting system Horizon New Generation. This glamorous, intelligent and affable lady had many admirable talents. One of her proudest achievements was becoming the Women’s Army Bowling Champion in Germany in the singles, doubles and trios; a record she still holds. Vanessa was one terrific organiser, arranging may functions for the Warrant Officers & Sergeant’s Mess. Without doubt the greatest party she arranged was with her long time pal Jean Walker. They produced the Farewell Ball to mill Hill in the huge marquee on the Officers’ Mess lawn. It was truly a night to remember for the 450 present and past Posties who partied the night away. Her saying of “No problem lets sort it” was well used in this experience.
Vanessa sadly passed away suddenly on the 21st April. It was no surprise that the Crematorium at Knebworth was packed to overflowing with over 200 members of the Postal family who wanted to say farewell to this lovely lady. Standing in the hall,the aisles and the entrance foyer heads were bowed as each remembered Vanessa as the very special person she was. We will all sadly miss her infectious spirit, her vitality, friendship, loyalty and willingness to help everyone without question, and to do with that big bright smile that was ever Vanessa. Our deepest sympathies go to Melvyn and Laura on their enormous loss. Thanks to Roy Walker and to Doug Swanson (Dec 2012)