Obituary: Ann Pamela Scott Moncrieff, 87

AN art lover awarded a medal for her work during the Second World War has died at the age of 87.

Ann Pamela Scott Moncrieff (née Murray) was born in Edinburgh on July 22, 1925, the eldest daughter of Sir Kenneth and Lady Edith Murray. She was raised in the Highlands and then evacuated to Kent in the first years of the Second World War, but returned to Scotland to study at Edinburgh University.

As the situation in Europe and at home began to look bleaker, Ann felt her talents could be better used elsewhere and applied to join the Woman’s Royal Naval Service, where her abilities and intellect soon led her superiors to suggest she apply for a “specialist training course”. Unbeknown to Ann at the time, this was to be her training for joining the highly specialised MI6 team at Bletchley Park, the intelligence agency’s “war station”, where she worked with brilliant men such as Alan Turing, the father of modern computing.

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Though Ann took her oath of secrecy so seriously she never discussed what she did there, even years after the war had ended, it is known that the work carried out there on breaking the Enigma code was a major factor in the Allies’ eventual defeat of the Nazis. It was even being said that the workers at Bletchley knew of Hitler’s orders before the German High Command.

A few years before her death, Ann was awarded a medal for her work there.

In 1948 Ann married David Scott Moncrieff, who she met at a Highland Ball, in Tain. The couple then moved to Edinburgh where David was senior partner of legal firm Tods, Murray & Jamieson – now known as Tods Murray.

Ann began working for various charitable organisations and good causes, including the Girl Guides, the Marriage Guidance Council and the Queen’s Nurses. Later she served as a steward at St Giles’ Cathedral.

David, who was long involved in the arts in Scotland, helping to mount the first exhibitions of both Gauguin and Modigliani in Scotland before the Second World War, helped broaden his wife’s appreciation of culture. The two would often visit galleries together and encouraged their children to do the same. In her late 60s, Ann also decided to take an Open University course in history of art, for which she eventually received an honours degree.

Ann also had a lifelong love of animals and could often be seen exercising her spaniels and Australian terriers close to her home in Church Hill.

She is also remembered for her warmth of personality which, coupled with her strength of character, helped her nurse husband David after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Ann is survived by her children – John, Charlotte and Robert – and ten grandchildren.