Eighth Army Veterans
City of Manchester
was born in
Walton, Liverpool, in the 1920's and her early education was obtained at Arnott
Street School, Walton, and Beaver Road School, Didsbury. Secondary education was
completed at Fallowfield High, followed by a two year Professional 0ffice
By 1938 Audrey
had become a secretary in the steel industry, and a year later, that fateful
year of 1939, she accepted voluntary service as a training officer in the Junior
civilian hobby at that time was as a team dancer in an operatic society, so she
thought it would be a good idea if she volunteered to dance with the National
Operatic and Dramatic Association, organised by the Daily Express. The purpose
was to entertain the troops, including visits to Anti Aircraft Batteries and
Camps in North and South Lancashire with a Concert Party. The Concert Party
usually included at least one celebrity, such as Stanley Holloway and others. So
we know who to go to for entertainment at our Christmas Social this year.
We can't wait.
In 1942 Audrey joined the Women's' Auxiliary Air Force, (WAAF), doing her basic training at Wythall, Glos. Her most vivid memories of that time were, a stiff back (from a roll pillow!), sore heels (from ill fitting shoes) and of being continually threatened by Warrant Officers of the consequences of passing out after their injections. The punishment for fainting was that they would wake up with a mop and bucket in their hand..
After a spell of square bashing Audrey was posted to her first active job at RAF Catterick. She had to wait there for a Radio School posting, and therefore volunteered for any useful job going, (this was contrary to her fatherís advice from the First World War, which was to 'never volunteer for anything'). Audrey became an Untrained Bearing Wheel Operator in a small tower in a farmer's field, giving bearings to the Operating Room for a night fighter squadron. This was before on-board Radar.
Then in 1942/43
Audrey joined up with the Radio Course, held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Twice weekly they were marched to Derby Baths for a shower (perhaps that's where
the caption picture at the head of the previous page came front, we must ask
her) and P.T. in shirt and black-outs on the beach. A further short course followed at
Cranwell, prior to being posted
to a maintenance unit at Cambridge where radios were being salvaged from
After a three
week vetting at RAF Churchgreen complete with pass and photograph, she was
ushered in to Station X, the highly secret establishment at Bletchley Park.
Audrey describes her work here as 'doing a. mixture of teleprinter/radio/morse/slip
reader. Secrecy was of the utmost
priority and no one knew what the next room was up to. She stayed at Bletchley
Park until the war ended with the surrender of the Japanese. Audrey turned down
an offer of a civillian job in the Foreign Office as being too dull a life to
even consider. She was then posted again, this time to RAF Haydock in the North
West Signals Centre, until demob at Birmingham in August 1946.
After her war service Audrey
returned to her hobby again, dancing with the local Operatic Society. She also
returned to her civilian job in the steel industry, this time as a Personal
Assistant, and later as a Group Buyer for a large firm of steel stockholders.
Audrey is a popular, keen and helpful member of the Branch and misses few of the activities provided. We are pleased to have her with us.