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WAAF in Bomber Command

Old 6th Dec 2020, 20:51
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WAAF in Bomber Command

One of my relatives was a WAAF attached to a Bomber Command base as a driver. Unfortunately she never talked about her service and I believe from stories told by other relatives that she saw a lot of very unpleasant sights when she drove the crew transport to collect the crews after a raid. I would like to know more about what it was like being a WAAF . She was stationed at Elsham Wold and the base lost over two hundred Lancasters.

Last edited by tubby linton; 6th Dec 2020 at 21:10.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 13:53
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Originally Posted by tubby linton View Post
One of my relatives was a WAAF attached to a Bomber Command base as a driver. Unfortunately she never talked about her service and I believe from stories told by other relatives that she saw a lot of very unpleasant sights when she drove the crew transport to collect the crews after a raid. I would like to know more about what it was like being a WAAF . She was stationed at Elsham Wold and the base lost over two hundred Lancasters.
Pip Beck, 'A Waaf in Bomber Command' is worth a read. I haven't read it in 30 years, but I am sure it will have information that you are looking for.
Don Charlwoods 'No Moon Tonight', is a great account of 103 Squadron at Elsham at a critical time just before they converted to Lancs.
His 'Journeys Into Night' , is a more candid book covering the same period, but written long after.
His crew had a WAAF driver, I think her name was Peggy.

As an aside, my maternal grandmother was a WAAF and she never talked about the war.
My paternal great aunt was as well and we still have some interesting letters sent to her from her Wing Commander,
which today would be deemed inappropriate.
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 10:05
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Thank you for your reply. Would a WAAF have stayed at one station for the duration on their service?
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 10:25
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Pleasure.
To be honest I am none too sure, although I would have thought that Waafs would have been subject to movement during their service.
My grandmother was in Coastal Command and saw service at 2/3 different stations in the UK over 3 years.
My great aunt spent all her time at one Bomber Command OTU base.
I would imagine their experiences were fairly common and they went where required.

A book by Patrick Bishop , 'Air Force Blue', mentions Waaf pregnancies and how they were admitted to an RAF maternity home
and most of the babies unfortunately given for adoption.
It is only a brief mention, but I would imagine in wartime an issue that was fairly common and would have led to postings in to cover.
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 15:13
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My Mother was a WAAF switchboard operator, Wartime Bircham Newton and Docking . Post war Ceylon, Singapore and Hong Kong before returning to the U.K. ( St Eval.) where she met my father. My impending arrival (post her marriage) closed her career.
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 14:59
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Originally Posted by Haraka View Post
My Mother was a WAAF switchboard operator, Wartime Bircham Newton and Docking . Post war Ceylon, Singapore and Hong Kong before returning to the U.K. ( St Eval.) where she met my father. My impending arrival (post her marriage) closed her career.
Haraka
If you haven't seen it before my post of photos of WAAF's in Ceylon here: Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II
Post #5394
Are worth a look.

WT
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 21:45
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Haraka. Could you have a look at Bircham Newton heritage group website. They would like to contact you. Thanks
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 06:51
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Warm Toast , Interesting pictures , Many thanks indeed ! ( Mods note that there is an odd software glitch that repeatedly jumps across to an "EasyJet Crew meals " thread after a few seconds. )
Docking . Following up over the w/e.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 08:50
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Originally Posted by tubby linton View Post
Thank you for your reply. Would a WAAF have stayed at one station for the duration on their service?
Without looking for a source of verification, I am sure I have read that the RAF employed "Local Service" WAAFs during the war, to encourage more women to join the air force.
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 01:32
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Try here. This link might work better.
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 14:59
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Thanks MarcK it worked a treat!
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Old 19th Dec 2020, 14:35
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The book "Women in Air Force blue" by Beryl Escott published by Patrick Stephens Ltd in 1989 is the story of women in the RAF from 1918. It contains many anecdotes from all the trades in which women served. It'll probably be what you want.
As a flavour the following is an extract........."Another MT Driver, Dorothy Buxton " went out with airmen to pick up bodies ( or parts ) after aircraft crashes " One operations night, when numerous crews landed at Thornaby, because their airfields were fog bound, instead of keeping them waiting for their beds by ferrying them a few at a time, she drove slowly with headlights on to show them the way, and "surrounded by airmen carrying their flying kit, I did the job in five minutes".
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Old 20th Dec 2020, 06:33
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One of my Mother's friends had that task. After picking up one body out of the Wash she had the unnerving experience of it starting to smoulder as it dried out . She had to stop , dash round and extricate it from the back of her van and extinguish the burning.
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