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General => Armed Forces => Topic started by: Valerie231059 on Wednesday 29 April 20 17:22 BST (UK)

Title: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: Valerie231059 on Wednesday 29 April 20 17:22 BST (UK)
Hi
The photos attached are of my mum Ruby Bentley, one when she was 18yrs. The other with friends taken at the Sgts Mess RAF Wing Leighton Buzzard.
Ruby 21
Louise
Joyce
Diana

Can anyone tell me what they would have done?  Mum never said. Looks like she had some nice friends.
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: philipsearching on Thursday 30 April 20 00:31 BST (UK)
Leighton Buzzard is only a couple of stations along from Bletchley.  Perhaps they were working at Bletchley Park.
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: tazzie on Thursday 30 April 20 09:22 BST (UK)
The WAAF at Wing had their own site near to the village. RAF Wing was built on the Cublington road and I remember seeing lots of the old stores still scattered around up into the 1980....mostly on the farms. I think a chicken farm was built on a big part of it when it closed.

As an active airfield they could have carried out radar and tracking duties as well as communication duties.

   Tazzie
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: Crumblie on Thursday 30 April 20 10:19 BST (UK)
If they were at the Sergeants Mess they may have been stewardesses.
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: DB10 on Thursday 30 April 20 14:51 BST (UK)
Courtesy of Wiki....
"RAF Wing was primarily a bomber training airfield. First flight was in March 1942. It consisted of five hangars, three concrete runways, offices, a canteen, rest rooms, blast shelters, ammunition and bomb dumps, radio and telegraph rooms, training blocks, church, gym, squash court, rugby and football field, tailors, barbers, shoemakers, Post Office, a cinema, and stores."
Members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force had their own site close to Wing village on Cublington Road, much of which can still be seen today. There was also a hospital constructed close to Cublington that is still partially standing. It even had a new sewage treatment plant constructed which is still in use today.

All in all a very self contained operation.

So what did your mum do there? Well there are plenty of duties that would have been carried out by WAAFs - offices, radio/telegraph operators, or even canteen/cinema duties maybe. Its pretty much impossible to say without further clues.

Any hints in any work she did in later life. Also do you know what date the pictures were taken?

Regards DB10

Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: Nick Stoke on Thursday 19 November 20 12:26 GMT (UK)
These are lovely images, thank you for sharing. I really suggest you get a book called ‘Wings over Wing’ by ex Wing schoolteacher Michael Warth so that you can learn more regarding where your mum worked. Chapter 14 is dedicated to the WAAFs in 26 Operational Training Unit at Wing and they did every type of vital job from wireless operators and teleprinters, to caring for thousands of repatriated allied POWs who were in a terrible condition. If you do have social media like Facebook, I also recommend joining the Stewkley, Wing and Cublington history group and you will see lots more. Not only did the WAAFs on site play a pivotal role day to day, a number lost their lives there in awful aircraft accidents. A few of us are trying to have a memorial placed at the site, before what is left there crumbles away, so if anyone is keen for the same, let the Parish Councils know. I hope it’s ok that I have shared the lovely pictures with the history group to see if they can help more, and do please post anything more you have. Your mum was part of an incredible group of people.
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: Ssxy on Thursday 19 November 20 20:21 GMT (UK)
My mother served at Leighton Buzzard as a teleprinter. Many of her fellow WRAFs lived in accommodation at The Grange in nearby Heath and Reach.

This book is worth a read, The Secrets of Q Central, How Leighton Buzzard Shortened the War.

Ssxy
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: Valerie231059 on Sunday 04 July 21 15:06 BST (UK)
Many thanks to you all for the book recommendation and suggestions.
Sorry for my very late reply.
The group Photo was taken in October 1945
The photo of my mum was taken April 1942
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: IMBER on Sunday 04 July 21 19:57 BST (UK)
RAF Leighton Buzzard had nothing to do with RAF Wing, that's a completely different location near Aylesbury. Leighton Buzzard was a huge, highly secret establishment and operated as the RAF's Central Exchange and Wireless Telegraph Station for the whole of the UK and beyond. It was later known as RAF Stanbridge. Thousands were based there.

The clothing worn in the photo is very similar to that worn by my WAAF mother in WW2, and she was a cook.
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: tazzie on Sunday 04 July 21 20:16 BST (UK)
Hi if you Google

 Leighton Buzzard Observer.

 Our local paper has an article on RAF Wing and the unveiling of a memorial to the men and women of No. 26 Operational Training  Unit . It was postponed due to Covid and unveiled on 1st July 2021.


   Tazzie
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: Valerie231059 on Sunday 04 July 21 20:39 BST (UK)
Thank you IMBER
I was hoping someone would recognize the dress. Mum passed away back in 1984 but I had this memory that she once told me she prepared or served the food. Sadly she didn't give me any other details. After the war she married my dad and they went back to farm work, later she worked for Coty in Middlesex and then worked for Rimmel. Mum had good friends wherever she worked and lots of memories.
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: pdadme on Saturday 30 October 21 14:41 BST (UK)
My Mum was in the WAAF stationed at Leighton Buzzard. She said that she worked at RAF Leighton Buzzard, but was Billeted at Wing, presumably in the WAAF houses in Cublington Road.
Her father (my grandpa) was a Squadron Leader in the RAF, whilst both her brothers were in the RAF. Her youngest brother David MAYO was killed when shot down over Sint Niklaas in Belgium returning from a raid over Duisburg in a Lancaster bomber, two weeks before D-Day. Her other brother (Philip) flew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain, before going on to fly mosquitoes in the pathfinders. She was in Coventry when it was blitzed, and joined the Air Force soon after.
Mum was posted to RAF Leighton Buzzard in December 1941 according to her service record, and stayed there until demobbed in January 1946. She said that the whole place was underground and was top secret. Leighton Buzzard was the central communications hub for the whole of the UK, and they discovered after the war that there was an exact copy of the whole place at The Grove in Watford, in case it was bombed.
She was ACW1 [Aircraft woman] in the WAAF, which I assume to be equivalent to being A/B in the Navy. She is listed as ACH/teleprinter [Aircraft Hand], and she told me that she was trained in repair and maintenance of teleprinters as well as typing. She seemed to enjoy working there, and said they had a lot of fun.
Coincidentally, (or maybe not) David was radio operator on his Lancaster, and Grandpa R.G.E MAYO worked for GEC at Wembley, being involved in research into radio.
Mum is the taller of the two ladies in the attached photo, which may well have been taken at Leighton Buzzard or Wing
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: JGDavies on Monday 01 November 21 17:05 GMT (UK)
Hi,
Quote
his book is worth a read, The Secrets of Q Central, How Leighton Buzzard Shortened the War.
I'm currently trying to find out what a cousin of my mothers did as a WAAF at Leighton Buzzard and am  now reading the above book. https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=853547.msg7215436#msg7215436 (https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=853547.msg7215436#msg7215436). The back cover mentions "...the secret communications centre for Britain ... attracted a dozen other clandestine organizations ... The headquarters of radar, RAF Group 60 also came to Leighton Buzzard. ... the largest telephone exchange in the world ... more than 1000 teleprinters communicating with all the armed services in every theatre of war ..."
Quote
she once told me she prepared or served the food
From the above book " ... Because of the lack of facilities for both sexes a large canteen was built for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes, better known as the NAAFI, and another for WAAFs by the Young Women's Christian Association".
Title: Re: WAAF photo Leighton Buzzard
Post by: pdadme on Monday 01 November 21 18:42 GMT (UK)
Thanks for this. I have just ordered the book. £11.85 from Abe Books
https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=19804752838&searchurl=ds%3D20%26kn%3DThe%2BSecrets%2Bof%2BQ%2BCentral%26sortby%3D17&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title1 (https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=19804752838&searchurl=ds%3D20%26kn%3DThe%2BSecrets%2Bof%2BQ%2BCentral%26sortby%3D17&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title1)