Visitors to the Museum were inspired on Sunday as they enjoyed the now annual ceremony of celebrating women in the armed services. Today women serve alongside their male counterparts in front line service, though it was not always this way.
Now an annual ceremony, this year focused on the Centenary of the Women’s Royal Air Force, formed on 1st April 1918, alongside the Royal Air Force itself, and also the Royal Air Force Temporary Nursing Service, formed on 1st June 1918, which evolved under Royal Patronage to become the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service.
Ian Reed, Museum Director, commented: “During a splendid day, we were honoured by the presence of Mrs. Barbara Weatherall, a lively 97 year old veteran of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, who was, amongst other things, an ‘Ack Ack girl’ air defence gunner during WWII, who proudly took the Salute from the Parade following the wreath laying ceremony. It was very encouraging to see such a strong contingent from the Royal Air Force Women’s Associations joining us for the occasion, including the Chair of the WAAF, WRAF & RAF (W) Association, and we appreciate the distance that many have travelled to support this poignant occasion.”
Barbara was honoured to take the salute in the march past and inspired visitors with her recollections of her time serving in World War Two. You can enjoy hearing some of her comments in this Facebook Live video from Sunday, just before our vintage World War One aircraft came to life.