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Northamptonshire to Shropshire

by AgeConcernShropshire

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Archive List > Working Through War

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Mrs Kath Gibbs nee Whelan
Location of story: 
Sywell, Northamptonshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
20 August 2005

My war years were spent at Sywell, Northamptonshire, an RAF, station taken over by the Government as a training station, which became a Grading School for young pilots. They were at Sywell for a period of three weeks which was their 1st stage of learning to fly Tiger Moths, and during this time they knew if they would go on to become pilots and those who were successful were graded and then sent on for further training, but if they didn’t pass their flying career was over.
I worked in the mess as a civilian working for the government, and wasn’t married at this time. It was nothing to have 50/100 young men to sit down at a time for any meal, and we did all the waiting, serving and clearing.
At times there was a lot of sadness as accidents happened, which we all felt with vacant spaces at the tables. I remember one day seeing two planes over the air field, we were all terrified thinking they were German planes but thankfully they weren’t!
Rationing was very cleverly worked out, just sufficient food to keep everyone 100% fit.
There was a big class distinction before the war, which was then wiped out. Everyone joined together to help each other and looking back it was a wonderful period of time.
At the end of the war I married, my childhood sweetheart, a sailor from South Wales and we came to live in Shrewsbury.

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