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Women in the RAF: Then & Now 26 Jun 2009
Wing Cmdr, Sara Mackmin, squadron leader of a helicopter search and rescue unit
The RAF women who flew the home to take to the skies

Seventy years ago this month the WAAF – the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force was formed. Women of course had been recruited into the air force during the First World War to train as mechanics to free up men for combat duty. The outbreak of war in 1939 saw women once again called up to play their part in the war effort. Despite their vital role the one job women were not allowed to do was fly.  Jenni is joined by former airforce personnnel Joan Blackburn & Peggy Haynes along with Wing Commander, Sara Mackmin.  They'll be discussing what was life like for those women who defied social convention to do men’s work, and whether women play an equal role in the air force of today.

Naafi, Knickers and Nijmegan, by Joan Blackburn is published by Woodfield Publishing

Searching in the Dark RAF memoir by Peggy Butler is published by Woodfield Publishing (Entertaining illustrated diary entirely composed while the author was serving as a WAAF Radar Operator at Bawdsey 1942-46)

Anyone who like Joan was stationed at HQ RAF Rheindahlen from 1960-1965 and would like to get in touch with former colleagues can do so through the Queensway Survivors Club website:

Women's Auxillary Air Force Association
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