Plan your day, see when the RAF Museum Cosford is open. Contact us on 01902 376 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum Cosford by car, train, bus or bike.
Enjoy lunch in the Refuel Restaurant with views overlooking the airfield. The Citroen Van in the National Cold War Exhibition is ideal for morning coffee and a cake.
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
A car parking charge Is payable
See what events are scheduled at Cosford
Find out the latest news and updates for our Cosford site
Plan a day, see the opening hours & closure dates for RAF Museum London. Contact us on 020 8205 2266 or email@example.com
How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum London by car, train, bus or bike.
When you need to refuel during your visit why not visit the Wessex Café in Historic Hangars? At this eatery you will find a variety of delicious home-made offerings to suit all tastes and pockets
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone one from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
See what events are planned at our London site
Read the latest news from our London Museum
Lancaster Membership has been designed for people that wish to support the Museum from afar
Lightning Membership has been designed for people that wish to visit the Museum regularly
RADAR Magazine is a thrice yearly publication of the RAF Museum, bringing you access behind-the-scene
Two of our Trustees set out on an epic walk-a-thon in aid of the RAF Museum Centenary Programme.
Join the RAF Museum as a volunteer and create a unique experience for yourself and our visitors. Bring your enthusiasm, knowledge and skills or try something new.
Without you assistance we would not be able to care for our collections, read our varied audiences or share our objects with a world wide audience.
If you have any questions about supporting the RAF Museum, here you can find out how to contact our Fundraising Department.
The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation ensures that the shared aviation heritage of the USA and the UK is kept alive in the memories of our two great nations.
On 28 June 1939 King George VI established the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) for duty with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in time of war.
Since 1938, RAF Companies had existed within the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the female force equivalent to the Territorial Army. These companies were affiliated to Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadrons but by May 1939, the Government decided that a separate women's air service was necessary.
The WAAF was not an independent organisation nor was it completely integrated within the RAF. Rather it was interlinked with its 'parent' force for the purpose of substituting, where possible, women for RAF personnel.
It was mobilised on 28 August 1939 and within the year tens of thousands of women had volunteered to serve. In 1941 the WAAF became part of the Armed Forces of the Crown, subject to the Air Force Act. This was greeted with pride and enthusiasm by its members.
With conscription for women introduced from December 1941, the ranks swelled further so that by July 1943 a peak strength of 182,000 had been reached.
By 1945 a quarter of a million women had served in the WAAF in over 110 different trades, supporting operations around the world. They were an integral and vital part of the Royal Air Force's war effort.
With war coming to an end demobilisation began. By June 1946 over 100,000 had left the service. The Government was conscious of the contribution made by the WAAF. Proposals for retaining a permanent female peacetime force were discussed and, as a result, the Women's Royal Air Force was re-formed on 1 February 1949.
Over a quarter of a million women served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). No fewer than 183,317 were volunteers with a further 33,932 women called up from December 1941. The majority were aged between 18 and 40.
They came from all walks of life and from around the world. By 1943, 48 nationalities were represented in the force including Irish, Caribbean and Polish women.
Despite coming from a variety of backgrounds, all had to adapt to the rigours of service life; basic facilities, a lack of privacy, shift work and inspections.
For many, camaraderie compensated for feelings of trepidation and homesickness.
Despite organisational differences, which included a separate ranking system and pay which was two thirds of their Royal Air Force (RAF) colleagues', the women realised they were integral to the RAF.
The initial scepticism and humour, which greeted many WAAFs, soon turned to respect and admiration as the women proved time and again their dedication and skill. Day in, day out, they diligently did their duty. Great strength of character was required by many WAAFs in continuing to work despite the loss of friends and loved ones.
Many WAAFs were decorated for their gallantry. Daphne Pearson, a medical corporal rescued a pilot from his crashed aircraft at RAF Detling on 31 May 1940. As the aircraft and its bomb load exploded, Corporal Pearson threw herself on top of the pilot to protect him from the blast and splinters. As a result of her action, Corporal Pearson was awarded the George Cross.
The women of the WAAF were a vital part of the RAF's war effort and through their example demonstrated the contribution which women could make to Britain's Armed Forces.
The work undertaken by the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was wide ranging; from cooking to meteorology; from administrative duties to maintaining and repairing aircraft.
Women replaced RAF personnel in those trades where there were shortages. There was an ebb and flow of requirements. The safety and physical well-being of the women were primary concerns. Except for nursing orderlies, aircrew duty was never approved.
Women did fly aircraft in Britain during the Second World War but they did so as civilian pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary.
The success of the WAAF was due, in part to it being interlinked with the RAF but difficulties did arise. WAAF officers were not able to command RAF personnel until after the WAAF became an element of the Armed Forces of the Crown in 1941. Once this took place, further roles became open to them. In 1944, for example, the first female station commander was appointed.
Officers and airwomen were selected by interview but unlike the First World War, training was provided. Some trades required several weeks attendance at specialised schools before posting took place.
Certain work, such as code and cipher duty, was restricted to officers. Particular trades needed suitable qualifications such as a relevant degree. Overseas service was available to officers from 1940 but only to airwomen from 1943 onwards.
The practical work undertaken by the WAAF, combined with the intangible comfort and moral support which they provided to their RAF colleagues, was essential in keeping the RAF flying.
First public appearance of the WAAF at the National Service
Rally, July 1939
Barrage balloon crew under
inspection, November 1943
Certificate of Enrolment
Teleprinter operators at work, 1940s
Sir Winston Churchill's daughter, Sarah
served in the WAAF
New recruits soon learnt how to arrange
their kit for inspection
WAAFs celebrating their 21st birthday together
Cooking for RAF station personnel created a lot of
Assistant Section Officer Elizabeth Weightman.
Photographic interpretation played an important role in
WAAF armourers preparing a bomber
aircraft for an operation
WAAFs helped to bring
back casualties and
prisoners of war from
Europe soon after
WAAFs in the Middle East, circa 1944
RAF station dance, Bradwell Bay 1944
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