For 96-year-old Gladys, a call-up to the WAAF in 1940 was her chance to help the war effort. In this guest blog, part of our Women a War 100 series, she tells us what that was like.
I was pleased to be called up to be a chef. It was better than going into a factory. I was very nervous though.
I learned a lot about cooking and met a very good crowd of WAAFs and RAF men. We all got on well together, like a happy family. We may have had our differences but we stuck together and looked out for each other.
I was stationed at Zealands near Chester towards the end of the war. On the other side of the road was a prisoner of war camp where German and Italian captives were kept. They were in separate camps because they were always fighting! Some were brought over to help us in the cookhouse. The Italians were OK, they would help us to tip the small bath of potatoes into the boilers. The Germans were different. When we asked them they would say no and put two fingers up. We'd tell them Hitler was greedy and he wanted more than he had and he wouldn't get England. We were stronger than them!
Gladys has lived in her home in Liverpool for 85 years and remains there thanks to help from the RAF Benevolent Fund. The Fund answered Gladys' request for financial assistance, ensuring she can continue to live with dignity and independence as she enjoys her hard-earned retirement.