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20 September 2014
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WW2 - People's War

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grimpenmire
User ID: U1136350

My late mother, Janet Air(maiden name), served in the WAAF from August 1944 to December 1947. Janet was born in England but lived most of her life (apart from her WAAF service) in Northern Ireland. During these years she was stationed at the following bases:

TRAINING CAMP RAF WILMSLOW
RAF CRANWELL
RAF POULTON
RAF BARTON HALL
RAF HAWARDEN
RAF DIGBY
WAINFLEET
EDINBURGH
FINCHAM
FILLONGLEY
BLANKNEY HALL
RAF WITTERING
BACK TO BARTON HALL
BACK TO WITTERING
RAF CHURCH FENTON
RAF ALDERGROVE

During her posting she wrote home to her Mother, sometimes twice a week and her Mother kept all of these letters. During the latter years of my Mother's life she went through all of the letters she wrote and turned them into a book (which is not published). This information is an amazingly detailed diary and account of her years in the WAAF. The unique 98,000 word account was written as she looked back on her years in the WAAFs but with the accuracy of a diary written at the time.
Here's a snippet indicating the type of detail!....
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My Mother writes.....

We were all thrilled to receive our kit and we soon packed our civilian clothes and sent them home. It was quite amazing to see how much kit we would be responsible for. The following is a list of items we were given:
2 tunics, 2 skirts, 1 greatcoat, 1 cap, 1 cap badge, 1 ground sheet, 1 gas cape, 1 gas hood, 1 respirator, 3 eye shields, 2 tins anti gas ointment, 1 tin anti-dim, 1 filter cloth, 1 haversack, 1 kitbag, 1 respirator bag, 1 ration bag, 1 pkt buttons, 1 pr shoe laces, 1 button stick (a flat device for shielding the cloth while polishing the buttons), 1 housewife (a small bag containing needle, thread and scissors), 1 wire for kitbag, 1 padlock and key, 1 field dressing, 1 identity card, 1 mug, knife, fork, spoon, 2 identity discs, 2 brushes, 2 overalls, 4 prs stockings, 3 prs white pants, 3 prs blue pants, 3 vests, 3 shirts, 6 collars, 2 bras, 2 suspender belts, 3 prs shoes, 1 pr gym shoes, 1 tie, 1 tin helmet, 1 camouflage net, 1 pr gloves, 1 pr trousers, 1 cardigan, 1 scarf, 1 pr studs, 2 towels, 1 pay book, 1 deficiency card and 2 prs pyjamas!!!
The kitbag was a long rounded bag and it was not easy to pack all this kit into it. When fully packed it was quite heavy. Smaller items we put in the haversack. We spent hours marking all our kit ready for inspection.
Our training had started in earnest and we attended lectures on Etiquette and Procedure, First Aid, Security, Sex and Hygiene, Equipment, the Beveridge Plan, Pay and Allowances, Welfare, Fire Extinguishers, Grievances, Officers Ranks, PT, Status of the WAAF, organisation of the WAAF and RAF, releases and discharges etc.
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So anyone who wants to know what was in a WAAF's kitbag, now has the answer!

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Stories contributed by grimpenmire

Diary of a WAAF, 1944/1947

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