Joan Fanshawe (nee Moxon)

We have been informed by The Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers that veteran Joan Fanshawe passed away at the end of December whilst visiting family in New Zealand. Joan is pictured above with Group Captain Tim Willbond and Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Stephen Hillier at event at Bentley Priory Museum in April 2017.

 

Joan Fanshawe was a Clerk Special Duties and was one of the first WAAF personnel to be employed on duties in the Dowding System.  Her first tour was at HQ  11 Group where she was employed as an Operations Room plotter from July 1940 to January 1942; this period covered both the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.  Joan was on duty on the morning of the 15th September 1940 and witnessed Churchill’s visit on that momentous day.

In January 1942 she was commissioned as an Assistant Section Officer. On D-day she was serving at the Sector Operations Centre at Tangmere from where squadrons were controlled until they crossed the French coast.

Joan is pictured below, on the right-hand side, with TRH Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall and fellow WAAF veterans at the opening of Bentley Priory Museum in September 2013.

Time Flies: A Celebration of 100 Years of the RAF

Tickets are now on sale for ‘Time Flies: A Celebration of 100 Years of the RAF ‘ – a RAF Royal Gala at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane on Sunday 7 October 2018.

‘Time Flies’ will tell the story of the formation of the RAF in 1918 to present day, through song, dance, poetry and film.

Among the names announced for this one-off spectacular show are the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the D-Day Darlings, Pixie Lott and Sir Ben Kingsley.

Proceeds from the Royal Gala will support 5 charities: The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, RAF 100 Appeal, the RAF Music Charitable Trust, The Polish Airmen’s Association and Bentley Priory Museum.

Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal’s website.

Elisabeth Joyce Stewart (nee Brewster)

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”.

 

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Enjoy a sumptuous, handmade afternoon tea in the Museum’s vintage cafe.

£19.50 per person (£24.50 including Museum admission).
£24.50 per person including a glass of Prosecco (£29.50 including Museum admission).

Advance booking required by Friday 2nd March.

Click here to book online

Alternatively, call 020 8950 5526 or email enquiries@bentleypriorymuseum.org.uk to book.

Joan ‘Grog’ Arundel

Joan “Grog” Arundel (nee Grogono)

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.

Bronze style model of a women leaning over a map of Britain in the Museum's recreation of a Filter Room