Lorna Arnold, born in 1915, was an official nuclear historian for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. In her memoir, My Short Century she told of her fascinating life, from childhood on rural farms to a scholarship to Bedford College. During World War II she served in first the War Office, and then at the Foreign Office, planning for the Allied control of Germany after the war. She served as a member of the British administration staff in devastated Berlin just after it fell, working on the immediate logistics and planning for ensuring that the German people would survive in the aftermath of the war. She continued her work in the Foreign Office with a posting to Washington, DC, where she may have been the first British woman diplomat.
After returning to England, marrying, and having two sons, she found herself a single parent, and returned to work. Working at a variety of jobs, including a stint at a biscuit factory, in 1959 she joined the UK AEA, where she finally engaged in her life’s work. There she worked with and wrote about key scientists, engineers and administrators of the British nuclear civil and weapons programs, some of whom became good friends.
In her memoir, she also recounted what it was like to be a woman in the male-oriented cultures of the War Office, Foreign Office, AEA and other government agencies.
Lorna had an active interest in nuclear history and issues related to the development and use of nuclear technologies, and continued to be engaged in assisting friends and colleagues until her death at age 98. She died on March 25, 2014.