The Girls in Blue: A Talk by Stephen Bungay
The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, better known by its acronym the WAAF, was formed on 2nd June 1939. By July 1940 as the Battle of Britain began, it had 11,800 members, and by October as it drew to a close, it had 17,400.
The RAF was at the forefront of finding roles for women. In September 1940 it set up a ‘Standing Committee on WAAF Substitution’ which met every month till the end of the war. Every month, it found new jobs that women could do and by 1943, the WAAF numbered 182,000.
Stephen’s talk will address four questions about the ‘girls in blue’:
Why were they there?
Who were they?
What did they do?
Why does it matter?
The Battle of Britain highlighted the importance of service women in enabling Fighter Command to defeat the Luftwaffe and brought it to public attention. By so doing, it also began to change public attitudes towards men and women
and initiated a process of social change which is still going on today.