The WAAF at War, John Frayn Turner

The WAAF at War, John Frayn Turner

During the course of the Second World War over 180,000 women served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, carrying out an incredibly wide range of duties (almost everything short of actual combat). This book is made up of a series of first-hand accounts of those duties, linked by a useful narrative that puts the individual memories in context. This means that the book avoids becoming a series of unconnected anecdotes.

Some chapters examine a particular period - the Battle of Britain or the Blitz. Others look at a particular role - nursing, ferry pilots or SOE operative. Finally one chapter looks at the daily life of the WAAF and another at the limited use of WAAFs overseas.

Chapter nine, which examines Constance Babington Smith's contribution to the photographic interpretation effort that identified the V-Weapons is fascinating, and differs in that it is dedicated to the activities of a single WAAF. Given that it is about photographic interpretation it’s a shame it doesn't include any of the aerial photographs, but that’s a minor flaw in an interesting account of a very specialised duty.

This is an interesting look at the impressive achievements of the 180,000 WAAFs, a force that played a major part in the successes of the RAF during the Second World War.

Introduction - How the WAAF was born
1 - The Battle of Britain
2 - The 'Blitz'
3 - One WAAF's Log
4 - Bomber Command
5 - Angels of Mercy
6 - Special Operations Executive
7 - The WAAF at Home
8 - The Ferry Pilots
9 - The V-Weapons
10 - The WAAF Abroad
Appendix - Awards

Author: John Frayn Turner
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2011

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