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Back in the day....

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Back in the day....

Old 18th Mar 2018, 14:48
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Back in the day....

Can anyone help me with this:
When I joined in 1981, it was official policy that if a female got pregnant, she had to leave the RAF. Not sure we called it "firing" back then but I am sure this was the case?

Secondly, nattering to another old hand earlier, I was told that if a WRAF got married she also had to leave - I seem to remember something along those lines but was this the case?
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 14:50
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My ex-Admin Sec wife confirmes both of those.

We married in 1980 with no problem on either front!
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 14:55
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Originally Posted by John Nichol View Post
Can anyone help me with this:
When I joined in 1981, it was official policy that if a female got pregnant, she had to leave the RAF. Not sure we called it "firing" back then but I am sure this was the case?

Secondly, nattering to another old hand earlier, I was told that if a WRAF got married she also had to leave - I seem to remember something along those lines but was this the case?
John, in about 1988 WRAF were permitted to remain in Service when pregnant. This led to an immediate problem of maternity wear. Once things reached a certain stage they would go on leave. After pregnancy leave they would be screened from OOA for 12 months. I was told by a Sgt pers admin that it was virtually certain an OOA assignment would follow as soon as the 12 month screening ended 'to test commitment'.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 15:03
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I am not sure about the married and out rule.

I do know of two cases where an officer married an OR. In one case he was an ex-AEOp, maybe even ex-airman, so marrying 'below his class' was not an issue. His marriage was discouraged and it was made clear his wife was not welcomed in the Mess. This was 1968. I met him about 2005, he was still serving as RAFR.

The other case, same station, same senior officers, and again discouraged against marriage. They made his life so difficult, Vulcan captain, that he was forced out. He then got his majority in the TA. Still married 50 years on.

1975 very definitely married WRAF quite common (but not pregnant).
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 15:12
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I had heard "back in the day", that an officer had become engaged to a non-commissioned WAAF who left the service just before their summer wedding. Unfortunately, she used to work for the PMC who refused the officer permission to bring her to the Summer Ball until they were formally married. The result was that the said officer went into the local town and hired a couple of "escorts" to accompany him to the Mess for the function - with one on each arm, he went to the PMC's group and introduced them to him in front of the local dignitaries, adding why he had to bring these two girls who were allowed to attend and not his fiancé.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 15:13
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When I ran the Air-Booking centre in Berlin (79), the WAAF's who found themselves in the family way were ship backed to the UK pdq, you could always spot them as the RAF(G) medical authority to travel and the destination was always the same.

The consensus (we were never told) was they were being discharged and the speed of moving them was to give them as much time as possible to sort out the rest of their lives.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 15:19
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Not sure about that the 'married and out' rule - didn't it go along the lines of if they got married they had the opportunity to leave straight away, if they chose, and with no need to work out any sort of notice (i.e. the variable PVR wait time).

I heard a rumour (and please, please someone confirm it to be true!) that when the WRAF regulations were merged with the RAF ones one that was previously meant for females only and slipped through the net was the "option to leave on marriage". A number of (male) pilots who were serving "punishment" tours (i.e. had PVR'd at a time when the 'notice' period was 3 years) at RAF Valley managed to leave straight away (pretty much overnight if the jungle drums were right) before the admin wallahs managed to close the loop.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 15:21
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and not his fiancé.


Very modern for the day!

Last edited by vascodegama; 18th Mar 2018 at 15:22. Reason: Above post
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 16:24
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Many thanks for all these replies.
There does seem to be a bit of disagreement about the "having to leave on marriage" aspect?
MPN11 - can your wiser half confirm that WRAFs actually had to leave on marriage? A few contributors seem to say there were married WRAFs and as I look back, I do seem to recall this?
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 16:27
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I knew a married couple who were riggers on 20 Sqn in 1977, CPL/SACW, she had had the option to leave on marriage, and would be discharged if she fell pregnant. She also had the option of leaving at 28 days notice if she so desired, she threatened to exercise this option when the Flt Sgt put them on opposite shifts so they would never see each other. There was no chain of command conflict as he was on rectifications and she was working on the line doing A/Fs, B/Fs etc.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 16:35
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My step mother was a Flying Officer when she and my father married in the early 1960's. She was subsequently promoted.

In 1971, when my half brother was born, she "retired". In 1980 she was reinstated with her seniority backdated to 1973. In 1984 she was promoted to Sqn Ldr. She retired (at her own request) in 1987, to take-up a post as a public school bursar.

The only negative aspects of her marriage and pregnancy were:

(1) to get a posting to and remain at Shawbury for a decade she had to switch from GD to Secretarial Branch and forgo further promotion as long as she remained in that post;

(2) she always thought she if had not spent most of the 1970s "flower arranging" she would have progressed much further.

Last edited by roving; 18th Mar 2018 at 19:26. Reason: correct dates
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 16:37
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
John, in about 1988 WRAF were permitted to remain in Service when pregnant. This led to an immediate problem of maternity wear. Once things reached a certain stage they would go on leave. After pregnancy leave they would be screened from OOA for 12 months. I was told by a Sgt pers admin that it was virtually certain an OOA assignment would follow as soon as the 12 month screening ended 'to test commitment'.
PN, I think it might have been a little later than that. When Mrs Glide fell with our first in 1991, we were both serving in Germany. She was told she could only stay in as long as she could wear a uniform. Funny old thing, clothing stores had no maternity uniforms at all. Luckily she was a PMRAFNS and handy with a needle so ever expanding white dresses were soon worn much to the annoyance of the Wegberg heirachy! She was also one of the first, if not the first to recieve maternity benefits in the services. Her SSC was up not long after Glidette was born so the question of going back to work never came up.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 17:01
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John, I joined about the same time as you and the married WRAF scenario was certainly OK. At the same time, pregnancy = P45.

I married the current Mrs CGB in Summer 1994. At the time I was a flt lt and she was a Sgt. There was a significant amount of murmuring from my line-management but her side was fully supportive. However, a few conversations with Innsworth clearly indicated that life was going to be difficult. We would never serve together on the same station and, if we wanted a quarter, it would be at a third unrelated unit.

Anyway, Mrs CGB chose to leave the RAF on marriage and never looked back. Their loss, massively; she has achieved far more in the intervening 24 years than I have, in or out of the service.

PS. I remember chatting with a WRAF legal wg cdr in the mid-90s who had been representing the RAF in cases where various women had challenged the pregnancy rule having lost potential earnings. She told me that the standard opening line in claims was that the discharged individual would have reached the maximum rank attainable within their specialisation which, as officers, was never lower than one-star.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 17:04
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Married WRAFs

I arrived at Valley in March 1974 and there were only two serving females on the station.

One was a formidable and capable Sgt. who worked in Gen Office and was married to a Chief Tech on the Hunter line. I may be mistaken on their details, but I'm confident I am in the right field there.


The other was Tina, the lovey daughter of the Padre, and she was married to Rick P-E. Tina was not only a decent controller, but a nice person.

Her placement in the scheme of things meant we had three toilets in the tower; marked as Ladies, Gents & Officers.

Different times.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 17:07
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Gearon. You are correct, Brain fade. It was after my tour at Finningley when I flew with John N's other half, and at Waddo circa 91/92.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 18:00
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Mrs TTN was a QARANC nursing sister before we married in 1969. Not only did she have to leave the army on marriage, but I had to write a formal letter to her matron at BMH Hong Kong requesting permission to marry her!
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 18:59
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
John, in about 1988 WRAF were permitted to remain in Service when pregnant. This led to an immediate problem of maternity wear. Once things reached a certain stage they would go on leave. After pregnancy leave they would be screened from OOA for 12 months. I was told by a Sgt pers admin that it was virtually certain an OOA assignment would follow as soon as the 12 month screening ended 'to test commitment'.
Hmmmm....I was listening in on the phone call my PMRAFNS wife made to her Wg Cdr deskie to say she was pregnant and leaving the service when he said that "today" they had changed the rules and she could stay if she wanted.


My son was born in Jan '91 so the telephone conversation took place somewhere mid-'90.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 19:26
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Originally Posted by John Nichol View Post
Many thanks for all these replies.
There does seem to be a bit of disagreement about the "having to leave on marriage" aspect?
MPN11 - can your wiser half confirm that WRAFs actually had to leave on marriage? A few contributors seem to say there were married WRAFs and as I look back, I do seem to recall this?
She says, succinctly, “yes”. It would have been done away somewhere between 1972 and 1980, when we (both officers) got married. Someone will prove her wrong, if they dare!!

As an aside, a fellow ATCO of mine at Strubby married an airwoman. No idea how that panned out, as I was posted.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 19:31
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Cheers MPN - I was convinced a couple of WRAFs I served alongside as a young JT/Cpl 82-86 had to leave when they announced they were pregnant. But in the words of Mrs Clinton, I must have "mis-remembered".
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 19:38
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Ex Girlfriend of mine was a Flt Off in PMRAFNS at Wroughton and taliking to her on the phone one day, she told me that 'xxxxx (anothr Flt Off) had to leave because she married a Noncom'. Must've been about 1980 time.
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