Centenarian Ena Collymore-Woodstock

Ena Collymore-Woodstock, has blazed a trail in the legal fraternity in Jamaica as its first female judge on the bench.

The centenarian, who was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica on September 10, 1917, is of Barbadian ancestry.  Her great grandfather, the Reverend Joseph Kentish-Collymore, was Barbadian.  Family research shows that she is a descendent of Amaryllis Collymore and Robert Collymore.

Amaryllis Collymore, a former slave, was the owner of Haggatt Hall Plantation before her death in 1828.  Her remains are buried in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

Ena spends most of the year living with her daughter Marguerite Woodstock- Riley at No. 36, Bannatyne Gardens, Christ Church and the remainder in Jamaica. She remains active, though she walks with some assistance.

Mrs. Collymore-Woodstock has recorded several other firsts.

She was among the first women from the Caribbean to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service which was a branch of the British Army during World War II.

That small group of women went to Britain from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.  She was trained and worked as a radar operator, often being not far from the front lines.

After three years’ service with the British Army, she pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer by entering Grays Inn and earning her law degree – a dream she wanted to pursue since her elementary school days at St. Hugh’s High School,  in Jamaica.

Married to Horace Victor Woodstock, the couple had three children.  They also had four grandchildren.

On retirement from the bench in Jamaica at age 60, the woman hailed as “the smiling barrister” and the “petticoat on the bench” when she first took up duties in Kingston in 1950, was lauded as “the lady who gave efficiency, dedication and devotion to duty.”

Julie Carrington