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15 October 2014
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Photographs from a NAAFI girlicon for Recommended story

by BBC @ The Living Museum

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10 July 2005

Me in Uniform 1941. Another photograph taken at the D Day marchalling camp in 1944 is at "More Photographs from a NAAFI girl"

Photographs from NAAFI (Navy, Army, Air Force Institute) Girl

This story was submitted to the Peoples’ War site by a volunteer on behalf of
an anonymous participant and has been added to the site with her permission.
She fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

The NAAFI dealt with all the comforts for the troops.

These photographs show the uniform when I joined up in 1941. The other photographs is from 1944 when we were involved in the preparations for D Day.

We were asked to volunteer for a special assignment. Some of us went to London. Kennington was our headquarters for the NAAF1 volunteers. We were put on a blacked out coach so that we would not know where we were going. We arrived some time later — I ‘m not sure how long it took. In fact some of us joked that we were going to the Outer Hebrides! When we arrived, and stepped out of the coach, one of the girls said “Gor blimey, I only live up the road. My mum will give us some tea!” We were at The Wanstead Flats Camp- the marshalling area for all the troops for D Day.

No one knew anything about D Day at that stage. It was all so quiet. We were told we could be shot if we walked within 14 feet of the fence.

We were there from April 1944. We slept in tents and had to wash in a long communal trough, with small bowls of cold water. We did have a hip bath in a small tent.

One day at the camp we had ENSA, Entertainment of the National Services - Tommy Trinder came to entertain.

We were all young and enjoying ourselves. The Americans left great big sacks of tea and sugar and which we were all glad to share.

One night there was the noise of marching feet and in the next morning as the men marched away, the camp was empty. And then more came, I suppose. That is how I remember it.

From there, I went to work on the leave trains to run a café for when the soldiers came home from leave, where the leave ships docked. Mostly we were stationed at Victora and we’d serve cakes and tea for the men coming home on leave. I came out after 9 years. Sometimes it’s nice to look back on one’s youth. They weren’t all bad days.

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