- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Elsie M Grint
- Location of story:
- Middle Wallop & other Places.
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 21 February 2004
Later in 1942 I was transferred to Victory House in London and was billeted in an Hotel near Euston Station. London was heavily bombed at this time and whole streets were inches deep in glass, and many places still burning and falling down when we walked to work each morning. The work was very boring after the hectic life on the Fighter Station. In the Orderly Room I opened the mail every morning and sealed the mail every afternoon. The only other instruction was to answer the WAAF Officer if she rang her bell 5 times, and this she did very rarely. One day I took one hour & 30 minutes for my lunch break, instead of one hour. The Officer had rung her bell 5 times and I was not there. When I did return, I faced the music and got a severe lecture, and I apologised. The Officer then said "do you not like being here" I answered and said "I am not needed, there is nothing for me to do, and I have been used to working all hours on a Fighter Station". "I will alter that" she said and did. The next day I had to report to the Medical Section, and type out all the Medical Prescriptions. "I am not very fast" I said to the Sergeant, "you won't need to be" she replied, the difficult part is translating all the Doctor has written first before typing. I also had to welcome all the Newcomers who came to enroll, and one day there were about 50 and I had to ask to complete a form. The last question was "do your periods incapacitate you?" and two thirds all asked me what "incapacitate" meant, what a blessing I knew the answer. There were only 6 WAAF personal in the Hotel, with a few elderly people , and we never had out sugar ration, I expect it went to the private guests.
I visited Middle Wallop and the Officer suggested I remuster to the Administration section, and this I did and after serving a
course, I became a Corporal and was posted to Liverpool, in charge of a large house with about 40 Airwomen. While there I was taught to shoot in the basements of the Navel Headquarters, and became a Physical Training Instructor Sergeant.
Later I was posted to Watton in Norfolk, and the WRENS challenged us to a tournament with rifles. It was a nice day out, but we lost because they could shoot much better than us. (I think we used point 3 rifles). I stayed there at Bodney until the Americans took over, and was then sent to Faldingworth, which was hardly finished and very muddy.
I was posted many times, and at one Station I met my childhood sweetheart, whom I had not seen for 2 years, after a bitter quarrel. Why did we quarrel so much? and always about the same thing? Why would I not go to bed with him?
In the 1930's people got married before going to bed with each other, and we never had any money to get married, so we parted, after being together since I was 15 and he 16 years old.
The old magic was still there, we fell into each others arms, and after a deep breath he said"I cannot wait another 10 years for you" "I cannot either" I replied, so we arranged a seven days leave and got married at last. A heavenly honeymoon it was for us in 1942. The outcome of this marriage meant I was posted away. because I was a Sergeant and my Husband was a Corporal, he was a grade 5, a high grade instrument mechanic, and very clever at his work. He was a fully trained Watchmaker and Jeweller, and was in charge of the instrument section. I was a Sergeant in the lower grade section, which was not so important, and did not receive the same amount of pay.
My Husband was chosen to serve on the very important 617 "Dam Busters" Squadron and we have a photograph of the whole Squadron, all the ground staff, Officers and Pilots etc.
We have 2 Sons, and I was demobilized in 1944, and we enjoyed 28 happy years together.
In September 2000, there was a big Air Display at Biggin Hill, and I put this on Video, and saw the Wing Commander whom I first wrote about. My Son was also at the Air Display, and spoke and shook hands with him.
Elsie M Grint.
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