Personal Freedoms

With the country at war, the general population of the United Kingdom experienced a number of restrictions on their personal freedom during the Second World War. Rationing, identity cards, black outs and conscription became a part of everyday life.

For men and women of the armed services working towards the liberation of those in occupied Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East, the impact of these limitations went far beyond anything they had experienced as civilians in peacetime.

Discipline and routine shaped their service life. Combat could end in capture by enemy forces leading to imprisonment and possibly forced labour. Injury, disfigurement and even death were just some of the costs paid by individuals fighting for the greater good. Despite this, many of those joining the RAF or WAAF found it to be a liberating and rewarding experience; enjoying new opportunities and acquiring new skills.

The material displayed here highlights how service life could impact on the personal freedoms and liberties of those individuals who served in the RAF and the WAAF during the Second World War.