WAAF WRAF RAF(W) Association - Current news/events
as at 11 Dec 2018

17th October 2018: RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly
100 Years of Women in Support of and Service in the RAF: Stained Glass unveiled by HM The Queen


A stained glass window, commissioned to mark the contribution made by women to the Air Force, has been unveiled by the Queen at the RAF Club.

The work, produced in York by the artist and designer Helen Whittaker, celebrates the centenary of the service and of the Representation of the People Act which gave the first women the right to vote

Jo Salter, Britain’s first female RAF fast-jet pilot, and Christine Ryan, 76, who was a member of the Women’s Royal Air Force in the 1960s, talked the Queen through the window’s elements


More images of the Queen's visit

The artwork, in the Club’s London HQ, features large glass 'rivets', which on closer inspection show women performing roles in the service, and the Queen was directed towards one that told the story of Noor Khan. A campaign is building to have an image of Khan, who joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War and later became an agent with the Special Operations Executive, featured on the £50 note. Of Indian and American descent, she was the first female radio operator to be sent into France, but was later executed by the Gestapo and posthumously awarded the George Cross.
A Crossley tender steering wheel on the window, symbolis­ing women who drove the military vehicle during the First World War, was also pointed out to the Queen, and Mrs Ryan reminded her of her own wartime role as a driver with the Auxiliary Territorial Service. The Queen spent a period in uniform, joining the ATS in 1945 at 18.
report Yorkshire Post: images Haslam

ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORICAL SOCIETY: A SEMINAR  AT THE ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM, HENDON ON WEDNESDAY, 11 October 2017
Women in the Royal Air Force

RAFHS Journal 69 which reports the Proceeedings of this Seminar has now been published. In time it will be available on-line via the RAF Museum, but they have only got as far as Journal 48!
https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/default/raf-historical-society-journals.aspx

Those attending the Seminar were welcomed by AVM Nigel Baldwin CB CBE, Chairman of the RAFHS. He noted the record attendance of 42 ladies. 
Chairman of the Seminar was ACM Sir David Cousins KCB AFC.

CONTENTS

WOMEN OF THE AIR FORCE: PIONEERS IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Nina Hadaway: Archive, Library and Research Manager, RAF Museum Hendon. Co-curated the Museum's exhibition Women of the Air Force.

CREATING A MILITARY IDENTITY? THE WAAF IN THE  SECOND WORLD WAR
Dr Tessa Stone: Her PhD at Cambridge was on the above theme. She now runs a charity for children.

EARNING THEIR WINGS - FLYING IN THE ATA AND WRAFVR
Peter Elliott: Until recently Head of Archives at the RAF Museum.

REGULAR SERVICEWOMEN: THE PATH TO COMBATANT STATUS
Gp Capt Kathleen Sherit: Her final appointment was in a planning role at HQ Strike Command. 

MY TIME IN THE RAF
Air Cdre Cynthia Fowler: Patron of our Association. OC RAF Uxbridge and retired as Director of Recruiting & Selection, Cranwell.

A PILOT’'S STORY
Julie Gibson: Commissioned in the Engineering Branch, became the first active servicewoman to qualify as an RAF pilot, flying Andovers and Hercules.

REFLECTIONS ON COMMAND
Gp Capt Sara Mackmin: Over 3,000 hours on helicopters. The most senior ranking female RAF aviator and the first female RAF pilot to have commanded operational flying units at all levels from Sqn Ldr to Gp Capt. 

SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS:

DAME HELEN GWYNNE-VAUGHAN: HER VISION FOR THE ROLE OF SERVICEWOMEN
Gp Capt Kathleen Sherit

THE RAF’S FIRST WOMAN PILOT?
Peter Elliott

PRINCESS MARY’S ROYAL AIR FORCE NURSING SERVICE - THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS
Mary Mackie

DISCUSSIONS: Unfortunately, the recording of both the morning and the afternoon Question and Answer sessions failed, precluding transcription, so it has not been possible to publish an account of the discussion.

Past news

Stained Glass Window dedication in Wiltshire

There will be a dedication service for the WAAF stained glass window that will take place at St Giles Church, Stanton St Quintin, Wiltshire, SN14 6DQ on Sunday 6 May 2018 at 2-3pm.
Members of the WAAF WRAF RAF(W) Association are warmly invited to attend.
Dr Fiona Baskett, MB ChB, FRCGP, DRCOG DFSRH MA

From the parish website http://www.stantonstquintin.co.uk/
"Memorial Window Appeal for Support.
The Women's Auxiliary Air Force was founded in June 1939 to free RAF personnel for front line duties in World War Two. By 1943 the WAAF numbered 182,000.
100 other ranks of the WAAF were billeted at Stanton Court, Stanton St Quintin adjacent to St Giles Church. Many others were billeted in the village during the war. These women worked at RAF Hullavington. They undertook a variety of roles including radio operators, cooks, drivers and flight mechanics. They also made a significant positive impact on the village.
Currently there are few memorials to commemorate the WAAF. There is one at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, another at the Yorkshire Museum, and a re-creation of the RAF Filter Room at Bentley Priory. In recognition of the service given by the other ranks of the WAAF billeted in Stanton St Quintin during World War Two, a stained glass window is being commissioned in St Giles Church.
Your support for this project will be greatly appreciated.
THANK YOU
https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/stantonstquintinpccstgileschurch
The Parish Council, which met on 14th March 2017 were very happy to support this Appeal & have given £100 from its Contingency Fund towards the Window.
Breaking News: The Dedication Service will take place on Sunday 6th May at 2:00pm followed by tea & cakes in the School Hall."

If you are intending to go perhaps it would be well to let the parish know mailbox@boxparish.org.uk

item added 19 Apr 2018 - there is an article about this event in the Summer 2018 edition of WAAF Association News.

THE ALLIED AIR FORCES MEMORIAL YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM, Elvington, York, YO41 4AU
Women’s Services Day, Sunday 12th August 2018

The Allied Air Forces Memorial cordially invites the participation of all Women’s Service Associations to this annual Memorial Day, taking place on Sunday 12th August 2018, with the ceremony to commence at 14:00.
The event is open to a wide range of different associations marking the unique contribution of women, supporting or within the allied armed forces, from past conflicts to the present day. The event marks the Centenary of the formation of the Women’s Royal Air Force, and duly forms part of our RAF100 celebrations.
The day will take the form of a Parade of Standards, where applicable, leading to a Commemoration Service followed by a Wreath Laying Ceremony in the unique Women’s Memorial Garden, which is indeed a fitting place to pay respects to those who have given service to their country.
We expect the ceremony to be attended by senior service personnel, civic dignitaries and other VIP guests, in addition to representatives of many Armed Forces Associations, such as the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Forces Association, WAAF WRAF RAF(W) Association, Women’s Royal Naval Association, Women’s Royal Army Corps and many others.

More details when available.

http://yorkshireairmuseum.org/event/womens-services-memorial-day/

item added 28 Apr 2018


You’re invited!

Big Heritage are delighted to invite you and a guest to the official relaunch of one of Liverpool’s hidden wartime treasures: Western Approaches (1-3 Rumford Street, Liverpool, L2 8SZ).

Please join us on Thursday 26 October 2017 from 6pm to discover more about this iconic site, which was critical to the Battle of the Atlantic and to the Allies victory in the Second World War.

This underground bunker, in the heart of Liverpool City, was also home to hundreds of people who had a critical but often secret and untold role in the war effort.  Over the past few months, we have been working hard to return the bunker to its original 1940s setting and although it’s still a work in progress, we are keen to share the building and start telling the forgotten stories from Western Approaches.
We would be delighted if you could join us for this celebratory evening, which will provide you with a chance to have a preview of the bunker, listen to live music from the period, and enjoy some light refreshments from our bar.

Please reply by email to rebecca@bigheritage.co.uk by Friday 20 October if you are able to attend.
Parking is available opposite the building on Rumford Street or in the nearby Capital Car Park on Fazakerley Street.  The nearest Train station is James Street, less than 5 mins walk away. 
Hopefully see you soon! Best wishes from all of the Big Heritage team
Rebecca Mason, Project Manager – Big Heritage CIC

item added 16 Oct 2017