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Susan Hibbert

Witness to Germany's surrender

February 20, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Susan Hibbert, 84, who typed the English version of the German surrender document ending World War II and then messaged London to announce the accord had been signed, died Feb. 2, according to the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph.

As a staff sergeant in Britain's Auxiliary Territorial Service in northeastern France, Hibbert -- then Susan Heald -- had to type and retype the surrender document several times from the beginning to reflect amendments in the surrender terms.

She is believed to be the last British subject to have been present on May 7, 1945, when German Gen. Alfred Jodl formally surrendered to the Allies.

Despite her fatigue from five days of typing documents, she was assigned the added duty of sending a cable to London confirming that the war was over.

The cable read: "The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945."

After the war, she moved to Frankfurt, Germany, to work for the control commission for Germany. She later moved to Berlin, where she met her husband, Basil Hibbert, a former Royal Air Force fighter pilot. He died in 2001.

Hibbert was born in London on May 21, 1924. She elected to go to secretarial school instead of a university, completing a two-year course in nine months.

She worked on highly classified documents on U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff during the war.

After her father entered Parliament in 1950, she worked for him and other members of Parliament for 35 years.

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news.obits@latimes.com

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