'Balloon Fabric Workers', c1943. Creator: Cecil Beaton. - stock photo
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'Balloon Fabric Workers', c1943. Creator: Cecil Beaton.

'Balloon Fabric Workers', c1943. WAAFs making barrage balloons. The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), whose members were referred to as 'WAAFs', was the female auxiliary of the British Royal Air Force during World War II. Its members did not serve as aircrew, but although they did not participate in active combat, they were exposed to the same dangers as any on the home front working at military installations. Among their duties were: crewing of barrage balloons, catering, meteorology, radar, aircraft maintenance, transport, communications duties including wireless telephonic and telegraphic operation. At its peak strength, in 1943, the number of WAAFs (members of the force) exceeded 180,000, with over 2,000 women enlisting per week. From "Wings On Her Shoulders", by Katharine Bentley Beauman, Late Fight Officer W.A.A.F. [Hutchinson & Co Ltd, London, New York, Melbourne, c1943]

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