British officer served with Women's Auxiliary Air Force in GB, Belgium and Italy, 1941-1947
REEL 1 Background in Beckenham and Guildford, 1920-1941: education in GB and France; sporting activities; family and friends; father in Royal Flying Corps in First World War; recreational activities; memories of time spent in France learning language; returned to GB because of Munich Crisis; trained as secretary; employment; memories of pre-war period in Guildford including Red Cross and WVS work; attitude to mother's VAD work in First World War; reasons for joining Women's Auxiliary Air Force and family's opinion. Aspects of period of training as WAAF in GB, 1941-1942: medical; basic training at RAF Innsworth; reads out extracts from letters sent home; nature of training, opinion of accommodation and food; training courses; memories of other WAAFs; specialist training as radar operator; attitude to discipline; recreational activities.
REEL 2 Continues: description and opinion of uniform and kit; rank of Aircraftwoman Second Class; description of duties as RDF radar operator and equipment used. Recollections of period as officer in Women's Auxiliary Air Force in GB, 1942-1946: first posting to a Chain Home station in Northumberland; daily duties and responsibilities; attitude to male colleagues; opinion of accommodation; posting to RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire as radar instructor and promotion to Aircraftwoman First Class; description of involvement with theatrical company and learning to dance; memories of fellow performers; recreational activities and periods of leave in Guildford; effects of war on family including bombing raids and rationing; description of leave in London including shopping and opinion of food at restaurants.
REEL 3 Continues: application for commission and training at WAAF Officer Cadet Training Unit in Lake District; opinion of accommodation and food; nature of training; taking drill practise; opinion of other recruits and morale; white band around hats to show officer cadets; leave at Christmas 1942; commissioned as Assistant Section Officer; separate ranks for women and men; description of training courses in intelligence gathering and photographic interpretation; posting to Air Ministry in London and nature of duties in Photographic Interpretation Unit; involvement in researching photographs of Mohne and Eder dams in preparation for Dambusters raid; providing information for agents in the field; posting to 106 Group, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, 6/1944, as secretary of Inter Allied Inter Service Committee; nature of duties and promotion to Flight Officer; further description of WAAF uniform and kit; differences in uniforms between officers and other ranks.
REEL 4 Continues: description of khaki drill uniform and insignia. Further recollections of period of service in intelligence and photographic units, 1942-1945: duties with Allied Central Interpretation Unit and Photographic Reconnaissance Unit; types of aircraft used; methods of assessing and interpreting photographs; duties as Assistant Section Officer; memories of training at Newnham Park including explanation of using stereoscope; identifying ships and planes; use of models; memory of meeting Constance Babbington-Smith at Newnham Park and her contribution to war effort; Special Operations Executive drops; contact with other sections; lodging in Baron's Court, London while working in Air Ministry; memory of famous musicians and visit to Albert Hall; effects of air raids and pressure of work leading to sick leave.
REEL 5 Continues: further memories of working with Photographic Reconnaissance Unit at 106 Group, RAF Benson; amusing story of flight in Mosquito with test pilot and talk of jet engine; memory of blackout and lights coming on again after end of war; importance of maintaining secrecy of work; duties as secretary to Joint Photographic Reconnaissance Committee; messing arrangements and social life; recreational activities; memories of working on VE Day and attitude to demobilisation; reasons for wanting overseas posting following end of war.
REEL 6 Continues: Recollections of period in Women's Auxiliary Air Force in Belgium and Italy, 1946-1947: posting to Brussels and drop in rank, 2/1946; memory of seasickness on ferry to Calais; journey to Brussels; description of work with IS 9 Awards Bureau dealing with compensation claims by Belgian families who aided Allied air crews; accommodation in former Gestapo HQ; transfer to post of Finance Officer; memory of meeting Belgian resistance heroine Andree de Jongh; opinion of life in Brussels and Belgian people; posted back to GB, 6/1946; attitude to post-war life including rationing; personal relationships and problem of class differences.
REEL 7 Continues: posting to Rome, 7/1946; description of journey to Rome and accommodation; description of duties as Finance Officer for Allied Screening Commission; amusing story of amorous Italian colleague; attitude to colleagues; recreational activities and social life; opinion of messing arrangements and quality of food; memory of period of leave in Venice with boyfriend; learning to ski.
REEL 8 Continues: sporting and recreational activities including going to opera; visits to Italian families to pay claimants; memory of Christmas 1946 and getting engaged; description of journey back to GB and demobilisation, 6/1947: attitude to clothing and current fashions; reads out letter written to family describing trip to Paris in 1946; memories of visits to Holland and Luxembourg.
REEL 9 Continues: Readings from wartime diary and memories of boyfriend 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Snelling who was involved in the 1940 Norwegian campaign.
REEL 10 Continues: Memories of late husband Squadron Leader Francis Reid, including an account of his period of service with Royal Air Force, 1941-1964.