LATEST NEWS FROM THE ASSOCIATIONthis page last updated 4 July 2017
Newsletter - the deadline for items for the Winter 2017 Newsletter is 1st October 2017 - from the Summer 2017 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
Reunions - from the Summer 2017 Newsletter
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 and Eastbourne.
The 2018 Reunion and AGM will be at the Ramada Hotel Grantham, on Friday 6th-Monday 9th April 2018, costing £169 per person for 2 nights, £204 per person for three nights.
Please apply to Isle of Wight Tours Ltd, 3 New Road, Lake, Sandown, Isle of Wight PO36 9JN, tel 01983 405116 and NOT directly to the hotel.
St Clement Danes Annual Association Service - from the Summer 2017 Newsletter
This is held annually in the RAF's own church, St Clement Danes, The Strand, London WC2R 1DH
In 2017 it will be on Sunday 8th October at 11am. No tickets are required, please just turn up and join your friends.Armistice Day Parade - Sunday 12th November 2017 - from the Summer 2017 Newsletter
The deadline for tickets for this event was 11th June 2017, much earlier than last year. Please do not turn up expecting to join us 'on spec', as there are security considerations.
The Chairman’s Message - from the Summer 2017 Newsletter
We had glorious weather at our AGM/Reunion in Eastbourne this year and enjoyed a trip out to Paradise Park on Saturday afternoon, and a very interesting trip on Sunday afternoon to another nearby farm hotel belonging to the owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar for afternoon tea where we were entertained by his variety of emus and lambs.
It was good to see Padre Alan again who took our Church service on Sunday. The collection raised £100 which will be sent to The Not Forgotten Association who put on such wonderful lunches, dinners and concerts in various parts of the country to which they invite our veterans. We also raised the sum of £256 in our raffle. Thank you for your support.
Thank you to all those who returned their voting slips, the results of which you will find in this year’s report on our AGM/Reunion [below].
My thanks go to the Committee members and the Isle of Wight Tour representative Claris for their hard work in making the weekend such a success.
Iris Shepherd stood down from the Committee this year and our thanks go to her for all the work she has done over the past 10 years.
Susan Turner was elected onto the Committee and has taken over from Iris as Welfare Officer.
I look forward to meeting up again at St Clement Danes in October, and at our AGM/Reunion next year.
Sandie Faloon, Chairman
Report on the AGM Saturday 8th April 2017 by our Secretary: Marion Cope - from the Summer 2017 Newsletter
35 Members attended the 2017 AGM at the Albany Hotel, Eastbourne on Saturday 8th April.
The Chairman, Sandie Faloon, welcomed everyone to the Eastbourne AGM, especially those who were attending the AGM and reunion weekend for their first time. Our Editors Peter and Gill Nightingale were once again able to join us; the Chairman thanked them for all their hard work, that they both put into getting the Newsletter together twice a year, it was appreciated by all the members. The Chairman also thanked the Committee for their hard work during the past year.
Our Welfare Officer, Iris Shepherd, has now stood down after many years serving on the Committee. The Chairman thanked Iris for her dedication and all the work she has undertaken on the Association’s behalf over the years.
Our Patron Air Commodore Cynthia Fowler was unable to attend this year’s AGM, due to a pending house move and other commitments over the AGM and Reunion weekend. The Air Commodore did ask that her best wishes be passed onto everyone, along with her apologies.
The minutes of the AGM held on 16th April 2016 at Stafford were proposed, seconded and adopted as a true record. At last year’s AGM quite a few of our WAAF members made comments about the fast pace of the Cenotaph ceremony parade. Following the AGM the Chairman wrote to The Royal British Legion regarding slowing the pace down, the reply was: “It is felt that reducing the pace of those marching would result in Her Majesty being require to remain standing for longer, which is not an acceptable option if we are committed to maintaining Her Majesty’s full participation”. The Remembrance Parade this year will be Sunday 12th November.
Last year’s AGM discussed the WAAF,WRAF,RAF(W) Association’s Constitution and some changes were agreed. However, it was decided to go to the full membership and ask them to vote regards the distribution of assets and funds, should the Association be wound up. 150 votes were returned to the Secretary. Of these 43 votes were in favour of The Royal Air Forces Benevolent Fund being the sole recipient of the Associations assets and 104 votes for the second option of a shared distribution of assets in the ratio of two thirds to the Royal Air Forces Benevolent Fund and one third to The WRAF Branch of the RAFA. Three voting slips were returned spoiled or left blank. It was agreed by the AGM that in the event of the Association being wound up, then the distribution of assets after all debts have been settled would be shared two thirds to the Royal Air Forces Benevolent Fund and one third to The WRAF Branch of the RAFA and the Constitution be amended to reflect this change.
The Chairman put forward Susan (Su) Turner to be elected onto the Committee as Welfare Officer. Su was asked to tell the meeting about herself, her career in the WRAF and her work since leaving the WRAF. Su has a background in Welfare and the members proposed, seconded and voted for her to join the Committee and become our new Welfare Officer.
Along with the vote slips for the disbursement of funds, the membership was also asked if they would allow the 2018 AGM to take place in July 2018 instead of April, in order to attend the RAF 100 celebrations or to keep the 2018 AGM in April as prescribed by the Constitution. 148 people returned their slips and of these 83 were in favour of a one-off change to July for the AGM in 2018. However, by the start of the 2017 AGM weekend the MOD had not given enough detail of the events for RAF 100 or our ticket allocation to enable firm arrangements for our 2018 AGM with the RAF 100 celebrations to be made.
The Chairman and Committee therefore recommended to the meeting that the 2018 AGM be held in April as usual and when the RAF 100 arrangements are known then the members will be informed. Those present agreed to the AGM remaining in April and it was then decided that next year's AGM and Reunion will be held in Grantham on the long weekend of 6th to 9th April.
The Treasurer reported that the Associations funds remain healthy and the membership remains stable with just under 700. The accounts were proposed, seconded and accepted. It was also agreed to use the same Auditors as for the next audit.
Marian Cope Secretary
Treasurer: Lynn Hamill
Hello Ladies. Here we are again after a wonderful AGM/Reunion. As usual lovely to see all those who were able to join us; this year we were visited by the Air Cadets - the next generation of the Women of the RAF.
I will just mention that I am chasing up on outstanding subs -those that are 18 months out of date. I will always try and contact you before the magazine is stopped, but we cannot afford to send out the publication without subs being paid.
We have another 100-year old this year, Mrs Martin from Halifax on 17th July so Congratulations from us all!
PLEASE Ladies, if you are in receipt of Pension Credit contact your electric supplier and inform them, they should be able to put £140 into your account from a Government Scheme. This will be on top of your Winter Fuel Allowance. I would also advise you all to check that you are not paying too much tax and if still married claiming married tax allowance. It is always worth checking if you are entitled to any Benefits - DO NOT BE TOO PROUD!
We are still enrolling new members thanks to Tracy’s publicity shots and thank you all who have donated uniforms, we sell them to new members and raise funds for the Association.
Please remember IOW Tours will open an account for you to pay as and when you would like for the Reunions.
Can I also mention those members who were once regarded as Associate Members that they can contact me if they are not on the Ex WRAF Facebook page if they are looking for friends they joined up with/ served with etc. There is also an Ex WRAF Reunion held every October, which I might add any WAAFs would be welcome although I must add it is a much more laid back affair with a lot of sitting on the floor dances, ha ha.
This week I have managed to arrange a meet between a few Ladies in North Norfolk and if anyone out there wants a meet up/visit in their area we will see what we can do as there are Veterans Breakfast Clubs starting up all over the Country.
Welfare: Su Turner
I feel honoured and privileged to have been elected to the committee as Welfare Officer. I really enjoyed meeting and talking to so many of you at the AGM. For those who were not able to attend I will tell you a little about myself.
My name is Susan Turner but most people call me Su. I served in the WRAF from 1973-1976 as a WRAF Physical Training Instructor. I was stationed at RAF Halton, Little Rissington and Wroughton. I married a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy and whilst in married quarters at Plympton, Plymouth I successfully completed a course called 'Helping Hands' for the Royal Navy Personnel and Families Service. This course was designed to train people to be able to offer support and guidance to personnel and their families who needed help.
When my husband left the RN we returned to Lincolnshire where both our families lived. When my son joined the Air Training Corps (ATC) I volunteered to work on the squadron as a civilian instructor. Within a short time, I became an officer with the ATC, initially as a squadron officer and later as a squadron commander, Wing Physical Education Officer (PEdO) and finally Deputy Regional PEdO.
I work full time in a secondary school as Head of House. This position is a pastoral support role, helping students with their academic progress, attendance at school and any other issues which have an impact on their learning.
If I can be of any assistance at all or if you just feel a bit down, fed up or lonely and just want a chat, please do not hesitate to contact me via Linda Hamill (post or phone) or Marian Cope (by email) - see our Contact page.
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 Officers 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.