The family of former WAAF Elisabeth Stewart (nee Brewster) have informed us that Elisabeth sadly passed away at the end of 2017.
Elisabeth joined the WAAF in 1940 when she was just 18 years old and was posted to RAF Bentley Priory early on in her career. Whilst based at RAF Bentley Priory, Elisabeth worked as an Operations Room Plotter. She remembered that they were often joined by senior officers watching them from the balcony above and on occasion, Winston Churchill would also be observing.
In December 1944, Elisabeth was the first to hear the message that Glenn Miller’s plane had gone missing. Just four months earlier Glenn Miller and his band had played at RAF Bentley Priory.
Later, Elisabeth was commisioned as a Codes and Cipher Officer and was posted to the Orkneys. There she met her future husband who was serving in the army. Their daughter went on to join the WRAF.
When sharing memories of her time in the WAAF with us, Elisabeth noted that there was “a great sense of community and belonging”.
We have been informed by the family of Joan Arundel (nee Grogono) that Joan sadly passed away earlier this year, aged 100.
Joan joined the WAAF at the very beginning of the war and learnt much of what she was doing on the job, whilst based at RAF Bentley Priory. It was all such a new venture when she first started that initially she didn’t even have a uniform – she wore her own clothes and an armband she was given with “WAAF” written on it.
Joan features as one of the bronze models in our Filter Room gallery, where started as a plotter, then moved to teller, then Corporal in a matter of weeks. She did almost every job there was in the Filter Room.
We’re delighted to announce that we will be opening for FREE on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the week 11th – 16th December 2017 as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) #ThanksToYou initiative. Terms & Conditions apply.
Free admission will apply to those who have a valid Lotto ticket/scratchcard.
We’re proud to be joining many National Lottery funded visitor attractions across the UK in saying “Thanks To You” to people who’ve raised so much for good causes by buying a National Lottery ticket.
Please click here to visit the HLF’s website and find out more.
Terms and Conditions:
Visitors must present one valid Lotto ticket/scratchcard per person.
Tickets for Lotto, Euromillions, Thunderball and HotPicks are all valid. Tickets for any other Lottery do not apply.
Tickets/Scratchcards must be valid for the week of the 11th – 16th December 2017.
Scratchcards must be unused.
Lotto tickets must be original. Photocopies are not valid.
Digital tickets are valid. Please present an email confirmation or receipt of purchase.
We have been informed by the family of Georgie Pearce (Caudwell) that Georgie sadly passed away on 11th October 2017.
Her family have said, “Georgie really valued having the opportunity to contribute her stories to the museum development, and felt it would be helpful for you to know that at the great age of 98 she has used her wings for a different flight”.
Georgie is pictured here, third from the left, with TRH Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall and fellow WAAF veterans at the opening of Bentley Priory Museum in September 2013.
Nigel Rose joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in December 1938. Upon the outbreak of war in September 1939, he was drafted into full time pilot training.
After completing training in June 1940, he joined 602 squadron at Drem, flying Spitfires. He and his squadron were engaged in combat from August 1940. He was wounded a month later, putting him out of action for a month before returning to duty.
Later in the wat he was posted across the UK and then to the Middle East in 1944. He was released from the RAF in February 1946.
After the war he continued his training to be a Chartered Quantity Surveyor in June 1948, which he had started before joining up.
Rose was a regular supporter of the Museum and very pleased that the aspirations of the Few were met when the museum opened. He is pictured below (back row, far right behind chair) at a dinner at Bentley Priory in 2012, joined by other Battle of Britain veterans.
Ken Wilkinson joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in March 1939, aged 20 and was called up on the outbreak of World War II.
During the Battle of Britain, Ken flew Spitfires with 616 Squadron, later moving to 19 Squadron in October 1940. Ken continued to serve in the RAF until 1945, followed by a further two years in the RAFVR.
Later in life, Ken became a Quantity Surveyor and one of his projects was Birmingham’s New Street Station.
Ken was a keen supporter of the Museum. He is pictured below (back row, second on the left) at a dinner at Bentley Priory in 2012, joined by other Battle of Britain veterans.
In September 2013, Ken was also a guest of honour at the Royal opening of the Museum. He joined fellow RAF and WAAF veterans at a reception with the Battle of Britain Trust’s patron, Prince Charles, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.