Back in world war two we girls had merit. We were women with wings and we could fly with the best of them. We came predominantly from Britain, America and even Australia . We were Known by different titles but believe me we all certainly had a sting in our tails. We were prepared to fly missions in place of men so they could be freed up for combat duties. Although we didn’t fly bombers and were not given gunnery training we felt that what we were doing was of equal importance. We were flying supplies in and out of enemy territory including replacement weaponry.
We were also there to pick up the wounded and deliver urgent medical supplies. We still had our dreams and homes to look after but we were working for freedom and that was what we were passionate about. Thousands applied for positions as female pilots but only 1,074 of us were actually accepted. In America they were called ‘WASPS’ ( Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots ) and in Australia they were called ‘WAAAFS’. That stands for ( Women’s Australian Auxiliary Airforce Service ). They had one extra A. Trust those Aussies. We British were simply known as ‘WAAFS’ ( Women’s Auxiliary Airfoce)
Note how only the British mentioned attachment to the “AIRFORCE’ …. That’s because we are and always have been more civilised. All three titles, however, used the word ‘auxiliary’ which means in support of …. So we were not really accepted as real air force pilots merely as supporting players on the ever changing fields of battle. Thirty eight wasps died and they were dispanded in 1944 . For them there were no military honours and they were sent home at the family’s expense. In fact the flag was not even placed on their coffins as they were considered to be in the civil service as opposed to the military.
All records on the ‘WASPS’ remained classified for the next 35 years and were not unsealed until 1977. In 1984 they were awarded the victory medal and finally in 2009 ,when there were only three surviving , were awarded the congressional gold medal by president Obama. And what of the ‘WAAFS’ and the ‘WAAAFS’? Well the British Commonwealth always keeps a stiff upper lip and carries on as usual.
© Renee Dallow ( Hybiscus Bloom ) 21/9/2013
Cheers my dears
Wanda Wey Awrf