LATEST NEWS FROM THE ASSOCIATION

this page last updated 12 Dec 2018

Newsletter - the deadline for items for the Winter 2018 Newsletter is 1st October 2018 - from the Summer 2018 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

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 - please see the request below from the Secretary on future locations

St Clement Danes Annual Association Service

This is held annually in the RAF's own church, St Clement Danes, The Strand, London WC2R 1DH

Remembrance Sunday 11th November 2018 

A report will appear when the Winter 2018 Association Newsletter is published.


AGM and Reunion  2018

This was held at the Ramada Hotel in Grantham on 6th-9th April. The following extracts appeared in the Summer 2018 Newsletter:

From the Chair - Tracy Watson

Dear Members

Firstly, I want thank you for your vote of confidence and voting me in as your new Chair. I cannot say how much your confidence in me means to me!

Secondly, I would like to place on record the Association’s thanks to both Sandie Faloon and Margery Harley who have both stepped down as Chair and Vice Chair respectively. They have both given many years of their time to the Committee and worked
tirelessly during their tenure. They will be missed on the Committee but are both remaining as members of the Association so we will hopefully see them at various events and reunions.

My time on the Committee thus far, in my role as Publicity Member was largely spent trying to raise the profile of the Association amongst the WRAFs and those ladies still serving in the RAF whilst still maintaining the presence of the WAAF members, ensuring that their Service (and their stories!) is not forgotten and I plan to continue in this same vein. It is because of the ground-breaking work undertaken by those pre-WW2 WRAFs and in particular, the WAAFs, that there were so many opportunities available to the WRAFs of the Cold War (1947 -1991) and, indeed, it is their continued efforts that has ensured that there are even more opportunities available to the ladies that serve in the RAF today. It’s also heartening to find new WAAF members who didn’t know the Association existed, so welcome to all of those new ex-WAAF members too!

It was fantastic to see so many of the new ex-WRAF members at the AGM and Reunion this year in Grantham but saddening to see that so many WAAF stalwarts were missing. Each and every one was missed, and it is my sincere hope that they will be in better health next year and able to attend. Later in the magazine there will be some photos and a little article about this years’ Reunion and AGM.

Don’t forget, your uniform doesn’t have to stay in the wardrobe until Remembrance Day or the next Reunion. Why not, if you are able, dust off your uniform and attend a local event e.g. Armed Forces Day parades and events, the Women’s Services Day at Elvington (see later in the magazine), or even a local Remembrance Day parade if you can’t make the one in London.

Finally, have a fabulous Summer with your family and friends!

From the Secretary: Marion Cope
I had a very enjoyable 2018 Reunion and AGM at Grantham and I was pleased to see a few new faces this year and it was great to meet up with old friends. There were a few changes to the Committee this year, with both Sandy and Margery retiring from the Committee. Tracey was voted in as our new Chairman, may I wish Tracy a long and happy time in post. Su will be taking on the role of Vice Chairman in addition to her Welfare Officer role. We also have a new member on the Committee Jean Parkin, she will be producing the Minutes of all our Committee and AGM Meetings and she will also be dealing with our Publicity.

Our Patron Air Commodore Cynthia Fowler was unable to attend the AGM or Reunion but did send a message to the Membership which I read out to the meeting and is reproduced here.

“Dear Ladies, I regret I cannot attend your AGM but greetings to you all and I hope you have a very happy meeting over the next 3 days. In this special year of the Royal Air Force Centenary I know I shall be at the RAF Parade. Despite retirement of 18 years, I find myself exceedingly busy and in demand by many organisations. Nevertheless, I hope you will be involved in some if not all the celebrations for the Centenary. No doubt there will also be many local celebrations. One of the best things about these Service occasions, it keeps people in touch. My last iteration is to congratulate and thank Margery Harley who has been on the committee for 10 years. Many thanks to Margery for all she has done over all those years and no doubt many years before. To all of you, enjoy this weekend and join in with pride. Cynthia Fowler”

During the 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 where their preferred towns or cities for future AGMs and Reunions for 2020 and beyond (2019 is already being planned). Please keep in mind that the town or city would be better for our needs if it has a rail station and a number of hotels.
So, I now ask you this Question:

“Which towns or cities would you like to be considered for future WAAF/WRAF/RAF(W) Association AGMs?”
Please give up to 3 choices and send your choices to me.
By email to: waafasecretaryATgmail.com (change AT to @ before sending)
Return your choices to me by 1st October 2018

Treasurer: Lynn Hamill
Ladies I really have had a struggle this year receiving subscriptions. Whilst I do not mind when I receive them I really need them to arrive as without them the magazine will not be sent out. This is what your subs pay for.
I know a lot of you send by cheque and you prefer to carry on this way, you can, if you wish, send a couple of years at a time. Or you can set up a Standing Order with your bank payments. [The details re provided in the Newsletter.]
The subs are still £10.
Again, this year we have received monies from Wills and I have told Family members that this goes towards the Memorial upkeep. Eventually I managed to close the Poole Branch Bank Account and transferred money over to the National Account. The Southend Branch closed and they made us donation of £500.

Our AGM /Reunion was a fantastic weekend. So lovely to see our Older (90 plus) regaling our younger Ladies mostly 60 plus with their stories. So lovely to see how the generations come together, this was even made more special when the Cadets joined us. I have suggested that maybe they could come for the Church Service as well next year.
We are still receiving new members into the Association and we are now being recognised as the kilt Ladies!
I was so very proud to be one of the Women 100 at the Albert Flail last year and we had wonderful coverage at the Cenotaph. Lilian and Vicky thought they were Royalty and gave their very regal smiles and waves as we passed the crowds.
Remember every time you see us in the Kilts we are representing all of you who cannot be there. I would like to thank Mavis Bell for her lovely speech at the AGM. It was smashing to hear that although she had doubts about us
younger ones coming onto the Committee it has been proved that we have not wanted to take over the Association but to promote what all you WAAFs have done for our Country.
 
Welfare: Su Turner
This year being the RAF 100 will be a busy year with plenty of opportunities to be involved with events both locally and across the country. I was very proud and honoured to attend the Ideal Home Show on Easter Saturday this year supporting the Not Forgotten Association. They were fortunate to be the nominated charity at the event this year so I was more them happy to help them raise funds. I was made very welcome by all concerned and had a very enjoyable day working alongside other veterans and meeting members of the public attending the event.

I am pleased to report that a few of our members are already part of our pen pal network. If you are interested in receiving letters from other members of the association, I can put you in touch with others who too prefer to receive and send letters.
A couple of our ladies also took advantage of the Christmas offer at the Union Jack Club last year, staying there from 24th - 27th December. The offer included a Christmas meal either at lunch time or in the evening and entertainment on the evening of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Some members have already expressed an interest if a similar offer is available this year. I have contacted the Union Jack Club but as yet no details have been published. If you would like to advantage of the offer for this Christmas you can either contact the Union Jack Club directly or contact me for more information.

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 make contact via contact me via waafasecretaryATgmail.com (change AT to @ before sending)
 
 

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.
Trisha Welsh

Reports of recent AGMs


OTHER

2014

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.

2011

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.
http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/where/westerham/Countess-Ilchester-dies/article-3310673-detail/article.html

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.
Joan

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.

2006