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A cook in the Air Force

by The Building Exploratory

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Archive List > Working Through War

Contributed by 
The Building Exploratory
People in story: 
Rachel Tomkins
Location of story: 
London and all around Britain
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
31 January 2006

Rae in her Airwoman uniform

This story was submitted to the People’s War web site by Karen Elmes at the Building Exploratory on behalf of Rachel Tomkins and has been added to the site with her permission. She fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

When Rae was called up to do her bit for the war effort she was initially sent to work in a munitions factory (along with a girl who had worked on the handkerchief counter at Harvey Nichols). They worked with molten lead, Rae really hated it and asked if she could do something else instead. She was told that she could either go into the forces or prison, so she chose to got to into the forces. As Rae had been a hairdresser before the war she asked if she could do hairdressing but she was told that they already had enough hairdressers, so Rae became a cook for the Royal Air Force. She remembers thinking that being a cook would have its advantages, ‘I thought - I won’t starve!’ It turned out to be a good move for Rae, she spent three years moving around the country and “I enjoyed every minute of it!” She came out on compassionate grounds, as her father was very ill.

This story was recorded by the Building Exploratory as part of a World War Two reminiscence project called “Memory Blitz”. To find out more please go to links

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