Remarkable 99-year-old who survived the Nazis, plane crash and cancer beats COVID-19

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Joy Andrew was struck down with COVID-19 at her care home in May – but defeated the disease. (SWNS)
Joy Andrew was struck down with COVID-19 at her care home in May – but defeated the disease. (SWNS)

A 99-year-old war veteran who has survived a Nazi assassination attempt, a horror plane crash and breast cancer has now also defeated coronavirus.

Joy Andrew was struck down with the deadly illness at the Minister Grange care home in May. Just two weeks later, she was placed on end-of-life care by nurses.

Her condition was so grave that daughter Michele, 57, visited to say her "final farewell".

But care home staff watched on in disbelief over the following weeks and months as Joy called on the wartime spirit to "miraculously defeat" COVID-19.

Joy Andrew (left) was placed on end of life care after being struck by coronavirus. (SWNS)
Joy Andrew (left) was placed on end-of-life care after being struck by coronavirus. (SWNS)

Joy, who suffers from dementia, is continuing her recovery at the home as friends and family look forward to her turning 100 on 22 November.

Michele said: "My mum has always been a very feisty woman.

"She takes things in her stride, like a lot of people from her generation who lived through the war tend to do.

"She carries those characteristics with her to this day and I think it is those which saw her through the last few months.

"She certainly wasn’t going to let coronavirus defeat her.

"Unfortunately my mother’s dementia prevents her from recognising her achievement.

"However, her family join me in celebrating her recovery."

Joy was born and raised in north London in the 1920s before joining the Women's Auxiliary Air Force as a sergeant during the Second World War, where she served in the Operations’ Room at Bomber Command.

After the war Joy joined the British Army of the Rhine and was posted to Dusseldorf, where she lodged with an elderly couple who she became very friendly with, but who had a daughter who was a Nazi.

According to Michele, while in Germany, Joy, who was from a German Jewish family, was allocated a driver to take her wherever she wanted to go.

It was during a trip to Berlin that Michele said the driver – who turned out to be a Nazi – deliberately crashed the car in an attempt to kill her.

Joy Andrew married husband David Andrew, a Squadron Leader in the RAF, in the 1950s. (SWNS)
Joy married husband David Andrew, a squadron leader in the RAF, in the 1950s. (SWNS)

Afterwards, Joy joined the British Overseas Airways Corporation as one of the first air hostesses, and was on a plane that crashed in Libya after running out of fuel.

In the 1950s, Joy married David Andrew, a squadron leader in the RAF, and in 1963 the couple adopted Michele.

In the 1970s Joy defeated breast cancer, and she spent the subsequent decades as a housewife before David sadly succumbed to cancer himself in 2013.

Michele plans to bring the family together for a celebration of Joy's 100th birthday later this year.

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