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The Spitfire Society Interview

My Time As A WAAF


Audrey Morgan

Without the backup of the vast army of ground personnel behind them, the valiant pilots who went to war in the sky could not have left terra-firma, and few were as vital to the smooth running of the RAF than the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, or WAAF's.

As you will read in the following piece, Audrey Morgan's time as a WAAF took her to such notable RAF stations as Hornchurch and Hawkinge, with various hairy moments along the way, and provides valuable insight into the vital work that she and her comrades performed.

When her husband John died some years ago, Audrey decided that it would not mean the end of her association with the Spitfire Society, and she has continued as a member of our Region ever since. A stalwart supporter of visits and events, Audrey may invariably be found working hard on our Sales Stand at air shows helping to raise the vital funds upon which our Society depends. With her winning smile, open manner and great charm, Audrey is one of our dearest and most admired supporters.

P.W. Feb 2008

We start Audrey's account when she was called up in the Spring of 1942, thus ending her "easy life" with a major Insurance Company which had evacuated its staff from London to Torquay. The picture shows Audrey at home with her Uncle at that time.

"I managed to dodge the Army but was unable to get into the WRENs, my first choice (the uniform of course), due no doubt to the obvious snob attitude at the time. I was pleased to be accepted into the WAAFs as my father was in the RFC (47 Squadron) in the 1st World War, and I had relatives serving in the RAF during the present crisis.

The first month at Innesworth, Gloucester was routine; square bashing, billet cleaning, inspections and jabs which thankfully passed with no major disasters. I was due to be trained as a 'Plotter’ but had a rush of blood to the head and felt that as I had such a cushy war up until then that I should train for a job where I at least got my hands dirty so I re-mustered to Equipment Assistant. In retrospect all turned out well but I could have made a bad mistake and ruined my time in the Services. Training was at Bridlington and the course lasted two months. I passed well, became an LACW and was asked to stay as an Instructor with promotion to Corporal. I refused as I was keen to get to a Station and start working at my chosen Trade. Fortune smiled and I was sent to RAF Hornchurch (11 Group) where I was amongst Spitfires, and my life-long interest in that wonderful aircraft was thus kindled. I was certainly granted my wish to get dirty as I was put in charge of the petrol and oil store! The next eleven months were spent climbing on lorries and bowsers, supervising the deliveries and insuring the correct octanes went into the right tanks, dipping them daily and working out levels, plus dispensing petrol and oil to the MT Section. Quite a responsible job for an inexperienced WAAF but one which I thoroughly enjoyed.

My next posting was to RAF Hawkinge (still 11 Group & Spitfires) where I stayed almost 2 years working in almost every section including a stint in charge of blankets and laundry!! Hawkinge was a great Station to be at and we had our share of excitement in "Hell Fire Corner" including shelling from Calais.  I missed being badly hurt the night the Sergeants Mess was hit and a large piece of concrete was dislodged from our billet ceiling, falling on my bed. Luckily as it was a cold night I had my head towards the fire so it fell just short of my feet! There was much activity with V1’s also and once again I had a narrow squeak when a V1 was downed nearby, blowing me off a packing box whilst checking u/s equipment outside the Stores.  Obviously only the good die young! Just before V.E. Day I was sent to RAF Coltishall for four months before returning to Hawkinge until the end of 1945.

My last months were divided between a short posting to Padgate, whence to Cardington until the Spring of 1946 and finally to Melksham from where I was demobbed in June of that year. Cardington was the most interesting of my last three postings, but Melksham the most nostalgic as it was there that I met Johnny. Searching my mind to write this article has stirred so many memories and made me realise how fortunate I was to be even minutely involved at such a momentous time in our history."

The Spitfire Society Interview with Alex Henshaw can be found here:

Alex Henshaw

& the previous interview with Bert Harman can be found here:

Bert Harman

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