British civilian living in Kenya, 1923-1942. Officer served with Women's Auxiliary Air Force in Kenya, Egypt, Seychelles, Italy and GB, 1942-1946. Civilian living in Kenya during Mau Mau Emergency, 1952-1956
REEL 1 Recollections of life in Kenya & GB, 1920s-1942: father's work as Colonial Officer, Kenya;; impact of First World War on Kenya; question of African land rights; lifestyle; education; relations with African people; difficulties of life for African people during 1930s; education in GB; outbreak of war whilst in South Africa, 9/1939; attitude of South Africans towards British; journey to Kenya by ship; question of apartheid; fears of Italian invasion; visiting a Ethiopian refugee camp with father.
REEL 2 continues: arrival of surrendered Italian troops from Ethiopia; obtaining job in Met Office, Nairobi, 1940; increased security measures; met office duties. Recollections of period with Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Kenya, Egypt, 1942-1945: joining WAAFs underage; mobilisation of Kenyans for war effort; call up of all women for war work; sex scandals in Kenya in early 1940s including murder of Lord Errol; WAAF recruitment procedure; work as cypher officer; description of Enigma machines and how they were obtained.
REEL 3 continues: Enigma machines; posting to Cairo, Egypt; construction of underground cavern for Cypher team; plans for evacuation of Cairo, 1942; story of watching soldiers leaving Cairo; meeting up with friend, Richard Dimbleby; evidence of preparations by Egyptian people for German invasion; father's instructions on how to defend herself against attack; description of underground cypher barracks; cypher duties; impact of arrival of General Montgomery; attitude towards claims that Montgomery was homosexual; return to Kenya on compassionate leave to see sick father; journey to Kenya.
REEL 4 continues: attitude of South African troops towards servicewomen; attitude towards female only messes; cypher duties whilst back in Nairobi, Kenya; story of how she was plied with drink by a man and questioned about her work; secrecy surrounding cypher work; return to Cairo, late 1942; atmosphere in Cairo, 1943; posting to Ismailia, 7/1943; occasion when she was harassed by CO; extra duties due to staff shortages.
REEL 5 continues: extra duties due to staff shortages; duties censoring letters of servicemen; attitude of servicemen towards correspondence from spouses; watching the capitulation of Italian Navy at Ismailia; story of how she fought off an attempted rape; receiving news that father was dying; reprimand for scruffy appearance; journey to Nairobi, Kenya to see father, 12/1943; problems with foot injured in attempted rape attack; death of father; unsympathetic attitude of senior officer towards her; difficult relationship with senior officer.
REEL 6 continues: recruitment work, early 1944; accusations made against her by senior officer; posting to Seychelles, 6/1944; submarine sweeps conducted in area; duties looking after air crew; cypher work; helping to set up new cypher station; food rations; arranging to get better food supplies for base; plane crashes at base; difficulty of paying wages in different currencies; nature of messages received in Seychelles; medical problems; hearing of posting to Italy, 10/1944.
REEL 7 continues: story of how she deliberately mislaid court martial papers for pilot involved in plane crash; story of escorting six WAAFs to Cairo; witnessing war devastation of Malta on route to Italy; arrival at Caserta, Italy, 10/1944; reunion with old colleagues from 'A' watch; messages received at cypher station; security measures; fears that Hitler had nuclear bomb; German plans for V3 weapon; duties working with reconnaissance photos of Austria due to her local knowledge of area; advising them not to bomb her cousin's castle in Austria.
REEL 8 continues: story of how her cousin surrendered castle, Schloss Matzen, to American troops; attitude towards bombing of Austria; story of the Austrian side of her family was split between pro and anti-Nazis; contracting amoebic dysentry and being invalided out of WAAF. Aspects of journey by ship to GB. Aspects of life post-war, GB: reception on arrival; period in RAF hospital; delay in demobilisation until 1946; entering St Anne's college, Oxford University, late 1946; attitude towards period at Oxford; encountering lesbian behaviour at Oxford; impact of war on sexual mores.
REEL 9 Further recollections of period with WAAFs: taking 'Brides' course, 1946; taking a group of WAAFs to Chatham Naval Base for a tour; secrecy surrounding Ultra and Enigma; taking oaths of secrecy; attitude towards publication of details of Ultra and Enigma; knowledge of Bletchley and activities there from 1943; impact of war on her life; impact of war on women. Recollections of period in Kenya, 1949-1950s: problems faced by emigres to Kenya; attitude towards Lord Delamare; story of running out of petrol in Mau Mau territory.
REEL 10 continues: question of Mau Mau attacks on white people; carrying a gun; links with Jomo Kenyatte; being invited to teach at one of Kenyatte's Kikuyu schools; knowledge of Lare massacre; attitude towards Kikuyu people; impact of British colonialism; attitude towards situation Africa today.