LATEST NEWS FROM THE ASSOCIATIONthis page last updated 19 Oct 19
Newsletter - the deadline for items for the Winter 2019 Newsletter is 1st October 2019 - from the Summer 2019 Newsletter
These are published twice a year as Summer and Winter issues. The deadlines are usually May 1st for the Summer issue and October 1st for the Winter issue. The postal address of the editor of the printed Association News is 5 Egmont Mews, Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9ND or if you have email, to pastplod.waafanewsATyahoo.co.uk (change AT to @ before sending!).
As we all know postage is expensive these days so if you use or have access to e-mail we will be pleased to receive your communications that way. It is also worth bearing in mind that for safety's sake it is a good idea to keep any war-time and/or original photos that you treasure at home and send a good photographic copy.
Peter and Gill Nightingale, Editors
These are held annually at the time of our AGM which in recent years has been at Buxton, Leicester, Southport, Weston-Super-Mare, Eastbourne, Blackpool, Coventry, Worthing, Scarborough, Bournemouth, Caernarvon, Cambridge, Stafford, Eastbourne and Grantham.St Clement Danes Annual Association Service
This is held annually in the RAF's own church, St Clement Danes, The Strand, London WC2R 1DHRemembrance Sunday 10th November 2019
Applications for participation in the Parade passing the Cenotaph are understood to have closed.
AGM and Reunion 2019
The 2019 Annual General Meeting and Reunion took place from Friday 5th April to Monday 8th April at The Hallmark Hotel, Cambridge.
Message from the Chair - Tracy Watson
As I write this. I reflect on the last 6 months, not least the success of the AGM in Cambridge. It was great to see some of the regular faces and to welcome several new members to the weekend’s festivities. It wasn’t until I entered the room for the pre-Dinner drinks before the Gala Dinner, that I realised that it was the same hotel as the first AGM I attended in 2014! Instantly I recognised the room and exactly where I stood to have a “3 generations photo” taken with Linda Hamill (WRAF) and Phyllis Robertson (WAAF). Clearly my memory is going in my “old age”!!
It was wonderful to see our Patron, Air Commodore Catherine Coton, at the AGM and I was delighted that she was able to join us for the Gala Dinner on the Saturday evening.
I had planned on an early evening (this didn’t happen!) as I had to get up early to go with our Standard Bearer, Michelle Ruzzak, to go in to London for the service at St Clement Danes to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force (and, although not particularly mentioned, the Women’s Royal Air Force). This was also the first time our new Standard was paraded through the streets. Michelle did us proud and it made my heart swell to see her and our Standard come marching in to St Clement Danes along with all the other Standards. She stood out amongst all the other with her tartan kilt!
After the service Heather Harris (who also attended the service) and I snuck out the side door and then realised that all the Standards were lining the main route out of the church, so we had to fight our way back in so that we could leave by the main door so that I could take a photo of Michelle and our Standard lining the route!
Incidentally, in order than more members can attend this service next year, we have ensured that the 2020 AGM, which is to take place in Blackpool, is at the end of April instead of the beginning of April and will continue to do this for future years.
Now is when the “parade season” begins to pick up pace. [In our printed News] you will find a list of events that members can, if you wish, get involved in, and please don’t think that if you have mobility issues that you cannot be involved. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Just let us know that you want to be involved and we’ll work out a plan! Don’t forget to let Linda Hamill know if you are interested in attending any Not Forgotten Association events in your area.
Thank you all for your continued support and for now, I wish you all a good Summer!
Vice Chair and Welfare: Su Turner
It was such a busy year last year with all the RAF 100 celebrations that I thought this year would be a much quieter year. How wrong could I be! As we are quickly approaching the half-way point in the year and the days becoming longer and warmer the Association calendar seems to be coming busier too.
As always it is the membership that are the great ambassadors for the association. When I have attended functions and parades it never fails to amaze me how inclusive our association is. We always seem to be able to find others who are on their own, feeling nervous or lacking confidence and invite them to join our group. This does, at times, take people by surprise, especially those who are not veterans or connected the Armed Forces. How lovely it is to see that our members welcoming and ready to help others. I am so truly proud of you all and greatly value your friendship.
It is hoped that once again the Union Jack Club, London will have a special offer over the Christmas period. The offer has previously included, overnight accommodation (3, 5, 7 nights), Christmas dinner on Christmas Day and entertainment during the evening of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Over the last two years a few of us have taken advantage of the offer. If you would like to know more about the offer, the Union Jack Club usually publish final details June/July time.
Secretary: Marion Cope
My thanks to all of you who sent their best wishes for a good recovery from my hip replacement operation, I am pleased to report I have had a good recovery and I was able to attend the AGM with the help of my daughter, Hazel. It was lovely to see so many old friends and new at the Cambridge AGM and Reunion weekend.
At last year’s AGM a Member asked if some of the future AGMs could take place in locations further North as most seem to take place in the South or Midlands. It was agreed to ask the Membership for their preferred towns or cities for future AGMs and Reunions for 2020 and beyond. I asked that question of the Membership, in the Summer (Issue 60) 2018 of the WAAF Magazine.
There were just 5 members responded with their multiple suggestions of future locations and the Committee have taken these locations into consideration. Isle of Wight Tours was asked to look at 3 possible Northern towns/cities for our AGM/Reunion in 2020. The Committee recommended Blackpool for the 2020 AGM and Reunion to the Members at the AGM and this was received well. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in Blackpool, my childhood sea-side resort.
My thanks to the Members at the AGM for re-electing me for another three years as Association Secretary, do email me at email@example.com with any information or enquiries you have for me or you want passed onto the Committee.
Treasurer: Lynn Hamill
Hello everyone, it is amazing how time passes. It was wonderful to see nine of our naughty 90s at the Reunion/AGM weekend and as usual it was very successful. I was sorry to miss the horse racing on Sunday evening but watched it through our Facebook page - - hilarious - our Richard certainly knows how to entertain us.
Firstly, I would like to remind those who have not paid for this year that subs are due. We now have the option to pay by standing order. Details can be requested.
Subs are still £10.
Other than standing order you can pay by cheque or cash. Any problems contact me I will always try to help.
Remember too if you need help in any way to make your life at home easier, contact Su Turner our Welfare Officer - she can point you in the right direction or will probably know the person who can. Always make sure that you claim for benefits you are entitled to. Ask your electricity supplier to be added to the Warm Front bonus if you are on any benefit this is an added £140 a year. You will still get your winter fuel payment as well.
Please also make sure your surgery is aware that you are a veteran.
Remember that your Committee is here to help you in any way we can.
Air Cadets get fascinating insight into life as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force - from the Summer 2017 Newsletter.
Cadet Izzy Newell and Cadet Jazz Young of 54 (Eastbourne) Squadron ATC have met members of the WAAF/WRAF/RAF(F) Association who were staying in the town for their Reunion and Annual General Meeting.
Former Leading Aircraft Woman (LACW) Mavis Wright, aged 91, who had served as a Meteorological Assistant at RAF Holmsley South in 1945 showed the cadets a weather map, typical of those she was responsible for producing for pilots as part of her duties during WW2.
Izzy said: "Mavis explained a lot about the different cloud formations and their impact on aircraft. She told us she knew a couple of female pilots when she was in the WAAF but was aware there are a lot more now. I told her of my ambition to be a helicopter pilot and to join the RAF. She said it was a good idea to get some training and qualifications first. Jazz and I told her how much we enjoyed attending our Squadron and that we are all treated equally, all get on and have a great team spirit. Mavis said the same team spirit existed when she was in the WAAF and that women and men are treated the same."
The girls heard of an equally interesting but different experience from 92 year old Val Martin. Val had joined the WAAF in August 1941, pretending to be a year older than her actual age of 16 years. She did her training at RAF Bridgenorth, and during her posting at RAF Polebrook, where Lancaster aircraft with many Australian crew were based, Val got the role as principal boy during the pantomime season, and subsequently became known as Sheelah. It was during her next posting at the RAF General Hospital Wroughton, as an NCO, that Val worked as a Medical Officer's batwoman at its busiest period following the allied landings in Normandy on D-Day. She was seconded to a field hospital as part of one of the many teams of WAAFs working in shifts round the clock with stretchers, meeting the trucks and ambulances loaded with wounded arriving from aircraft landing at RAF Lyneham, straight from the battlefield, and taking them as directed to a ward or operating theatre.
In return both ladies gained insight into life today as an Air Cadet with Izzy and Jazz highlighting all the amazing experiences available and their aspirations for the future.
The Women's Auxiliary Air Force re-formed into the Women's Royal Air Force in 1949, and fully integrated into the Royal Air Force in 1994. The WAAF Association has been in existence for a considerable number of years and in recent times has embraced those who served in the WRAF and current female members of the RAF. It is now known as the WAAF/WRAF/RAF(W) Association.
Reports of recent AGMs
Howard Goodall's Girlfriends, with music and lyrics by Howard Goodall, written by Howard Goodall in collaboration with Richard Curtis and John Retallack, was directed by Bronagh Lagan and presented by The Union Theatre, in association with Aria Entertainment and performed by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd. London. "It is set on a Bomber Command air base in Norfolk in the darkest days of World War II, amongst the volunteer ranks of the WAAF - young women who came from all corners of the UK (and the Commonwealth) to join Britain's first fight for survival against the Nazis: their loves and losses, their fears and friendships, their laughter and their bravery. They weren't just part of history - they made it."
'Girlfriends' ran from 29 October - 22 November 2014 at the Union Theatre in Southwark, Tuesday - Saturday at 7.30pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm.
Diana, Countess of Ilchester, née Simpson, for many years President of our Association, died on 1st March 2011 aged 89. Her Memorial Service was at Westerham Church at 2pm on 22nd March, attended by some WAAF members. She was well respected and will be sadly missed.
Porthcawl's Yvonne Cornelius, 90, receives WWII Medals
from the BBC SE Wales News 12 June 2011: A 90-year-old woman who served during World War II has received her medals after waiting 70 years. Yvonne Cornelius, of Porthcawl, served as corporal in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. At the 70th anniversary dinner of No3 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets, held at Swansea's Liberty Stadium, she was finally presented with her medals.
About claiming your medals
2009 - We carry on!
Chairman's Report - Mrs Joan Brooks
Hello Ladies, I am most pleased to be addressing you as your National Chairman.
For those members unable to attend the recent AGM a Retiring Committee Resolution that the WAAF Association should cease at the conclusion of the 2009 AGM was overwhelmingly defeated by the members present. Your new committee were elected unopposed.
The committee have decided to leave the membership subscription unchanged for the present. However, the Membership Secretary will be reviewing the lists, as we are aware that some members have not paid their current subs due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of our Association. Iris, the Treasurer is looking forward to receiving them. This seems a good moment to suggest that if members would like a reply when writing to a committee member, they enclose a SAE. Postage is a very big item and that would help considerably.
We are returning to the Royal Court Hotel at Coventry for our 2010 AGM. As time was short, the Committee had to act quickly and we were fortunate to be offered the dates shown. A show of hands at Worthing indicated approval. So get you bookings in quickly to avoid disappointment.
I shall look forward to meeting many members at the WAAF Service at St Clement Danes in September and I hope to be able to march with you at the Remembrance Day Parade.
To conclude, for the benefit of members not present at Worthing, I repeat - this is your Association and the committee will welcome your ideas and suggestions (and complaints) and discuss them fully. Enjoy your summer.
2009 - the Future of the Association
adapted from the Summer 2009 WAAFA Newsletter in which the Newsletter Editor wrote:
Well, Ladies - I'm just back from your 2009 reunion and AGM at Worthing where the matter of the future of the Association was discussed at some length and in much detail. There was clearly much passion amongst the delegates with wide-ranging debate about the viability of the organisation particularly in terms of falling membership numbers and reducing finances.
Your National Committee brought a resolution proposing the closure of the Association as from the end of this year's AGM. Following the proposal, which is reproduced in full in the printed WAAFA News, together with the committee's opinions and reasons for making this proposal and a lengthy debate, a vote was held of all the delegates attending the AGM.
The result of the vote was an overwhelming majority to continue the Association with the new committee members.
So, there you are - the Association will continue with an almost new Committee. Congratulations to those who offered to stand for office!
Chairman: Mrs. Joan Brooks
Vice-Chairman: Ms Eileen Hollidge.
Secretary: Mrs Ann Peacock
Treasurer: Mrs Iris Catlin
Committee Members: Mrs Marjorie Harley, Mrs Vera Morgan, Mrs Iris Sheppard.
The above members were voted on to the new committee at the Annual General Meeting at Worthing on 24th April 2009
Of course, very many thanks go to the former Officers and Committee members who have led your Association over previous years. Without their help, leadership and plain hard work, it is certain you would not be here in 2009 to make this decision!
Meanwhile, it is business as usual in the office! If you wish to raise any matter about the printed WAAFA News, please write or e-mail. Interesting letters may be quoted or published, but if you do not want your comments to appear in print, please mark your letter NOT FOR PUBLICATION. Please remember to enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you wish photographs to be returned - and remember there are now different stamp prices for different sized envelopes! It is also worth bearing in mind that for safety's sake it is a good idea to keep any war-time and /or original photos that you treasure at home and send a good photographic copy.
- A former WAAF was one of two Bomber Command veterans who unveiled the Ledger Stone in Lincoln Cathedral on 27th July 2006, dedicated to those who gave their lives on Bomber Command.
- Mrs Ruby Mallinson, a former Chairman of the Association, was awarded the MBE in HM the Queen's New Year's Honours list, December 2006, "For services to the Women's Auxiliary Air Force Association". The Association congratulated her and was proud that it had been recognised in this way.