Dowding System Day Event

Clerk Special Duties Project

The Untold Story of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in the Dowding System

In 2023, thanks to National Lottery Players, Bentley Priory Museum will be uncovering the stories of the women who played such a vital role within the Dowding System during the Second World War, and we need your help!

Collecting untold WAAF Stories: Memories & Photographs

Do you have a friend or family member who worked in the WAAF at RAF Bentley Priory or within the ‘Dowding System’ during the Second World War? This could be in roles such as radar operators or plotters. We’d love to hear from you! We’re looking for photographs, letters and diaries to digitise and people to join a new ‘Dowding System Families Forum’ to shape the project.

For more information contact

Women from all walks of life volunteered for the WAAF in the lead up to the Battle of Britain and later conscripted into the service. Over 180,000 joined the service between 1939 and 1945.

From caterers, clerks, drivers, wireless operators, telephonists, barrage balloon handlers to operators and plotters in chain home stations. As well as the plotters and tellers in the Filter and Operations Rooms of Fighter Command HQ, Group Headquarters (10, 11, 12 and 13) and the Sector Stations.

These versatile dedicated women revelled in their new roles and proved invaluable in aiding the RAF in the Battle of Britain.

Many of them sworn to secrecy by the Official Secrets Act did not share their stories or details of service throughout their lives.