Nancy L. Riddle Hinchliffe was born in Graham, North Carolina, on 26 September 1916. After graduating from high school in 1935, she attended beauty school in High Point, North Carolina.
Hinchliffe enlisted in Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in January 1943 and went through basic training at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia. She then attended the army's business school at Nacogdoches, Texas. She was then assigned to Selfridge Field, Michigan, as a teletype operator. She was later sent to code and cryptography school at Mitchell Field, Long Island, where she became a member of the Army Air Force Signal Corps. Hinchliffe was later transferred to Langley Field in Virginia, where she was again a teletype operator.
In May 1944, Hinchliffe was sent to the European Theatre of Operation. She worked as a teletype operator in Stanmore, outside of London, England, before being sent briefly to Versailles, France. She was then stationed in Vittel, France, from October 1944 through May 1945. While in Nice, France, in June 1945, Nancy Hinchliffe married Roger Hinchliffe, a technical sergeant from her company. Her final assignment in Europe was in Schwetzingen, near Heidelberg, Germany, and she was discharged in September of 1945.
After the war, Hinchliffe settled in Greensboro, North Carolina, with her husband. She worked as a beautician while raising her two daughters.