There is no doubt regarding what a remarkable person Mrs. Mabel Ramsbottom (nee Tweedle) truly is. Born into a large family of humble means in a tiny village in Suffolk, Mabel was known locally for her loyal service to her mother in the upbringing of her 11 siblings, but her mother recognised that Mabel would eventually want and need to explore broader horizons. That moment came at the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. Her experiences acting as a surrogate nurse for her siblings made her an ideal candidate for the Women's Auxiliary.
Initially she was assigned to a large hospital in Kent. During this time, she learned to drive one of the hospital's ambulances to help transfer patients between the local railway station and the hospital. In early 1916 Mabel heard that the service was in need of ambulance driving nurses in France, closer to the action. Mabel applied for such a position and was accepted promptly.
When she arrived, she found there were only a small number of sisters attending the wounded and none could drive. So she immediately became the designated ambulance driver for her section. It seems Mabel's naturally caring and loyal nature made her an ideal frontline nurse and ambulance driver. In the Spring of 1917 she picked up a group of wounded men and drove them back to her aid station.
One soldier seemed particularly jolly despite the fact that he had a nasty gash over his left eye. This soldier, one Norbert Ramsbottom, was a friendly and jolly sort of chap and the rock of his company. He was also obviously smitten with Mabel (and this feeling was reciprocated) such that he proposed to her whilst recuperating in the aid station. And in no time the two were secretly married at a local church. Mabel knew that her time as a nurse would be over if Matron learned she had married a soldier so she and Norbert agreed to keep things quiet until the war was over.
Sadly, the war for Norbert ended shortly thereafter in the same trench from which Mabel had retrieved him only weeks before. She was tasked with retreiving his body, along with those of his pals who had met their end in the same skirmish. Mabel often said she felt lucky to have been the one to bring him to the rear as she might never have known his fate as no one but she and Norbert knew they were married -- no one would have known to notify her of his demise.
Clearly, the experiences of war and the loss of Norbert affected Mabel, but in those days things like that were not talked about much. It seemed every soul left alive after the war and flu epidemic that followed it had lost a loved one. So after her return to England after the war, instead of dwelling on the negative, Mabel looked for a new way to channel her unique abilities and demeanor.
It was at this time that Mabel met Erasmus Thump. She responded to a small advertisement in the Cambridge Herald seeking administrative support for the directors of the new Phantom Manufacturing Company. Five minutes with Mabel was all the convincing Erasmus Thump needed before determining that she was just the woman he, Enoch,and Titus needed to keep them, and the company, on track.
Mabel took to her role naturally, ensuring all the needs of the directors and the company in general were administered to with great efficiency. Sadly, she also witnessed the closure of the works and the surmised passing of the three founders. But Mrs. Ramsbottom had a hidden talent that was hidden even to herself until 1954 -- when she developed the skills of a spiritualist.
At first she was able to communicate with Norbert in the privacy of her own home when no one else was present. But after the passing of her employers and the suspension of activities of the Phantom Manufacturing Company, she found herself being contacted by souls other than that of Norbert.
It was over her regular morning repast of a boiled egg and soldiers that she thought she heard the voice of none other than Erasmus Thump himself, even though he had passed some 26 years previously! Over time she came into regular contact with not only Norbert, but all three of the Phantom founders!
At first these were simple conversations of a nostalgic nature. But one day in 2007 Erasmus revealed to her the location of the key to the old Phantom works and asked her to retrieve it and go into the works and report back the condition of all the things he had left within the building. By this time, Mrs. Ramsbottom was already well over 100 years of age. But the friendly staff of the rest home in which she has been living since 1990 were convinced of her spiritualist skills and were eager to see if indeed the key would be there. Sure enough, there it was! And the interior was as it was on that fateful day when it was last closed and locked by Erasmus Thump himself.
Since her discovery, under the detailed instruction of Erasmus, Enoch and Titus, she has marshalled the resources required to bring the Phantom Manufacturing Company back to life. To this day she is the sole living founder but shares the directing tasks with the other three despite the fact that they have been deceased for decades.