interview with Annie Mary Blood

Title

interview with Annie Mary Blood
1003-Blood, Annie Mary-N Lincolnshire Disc 1

Description

Anne Blood served as a WAAF at RAF Kirton in Lindsey and in Europe post war.

Coverage

Language

Type

Format

00:11:47 audio recording

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Contributor

Identifier

SHarriganD[Ser#-DoB]v060002

Transcription

Interviewer: Today is the 12th of May. I’m talking to Mary Blood about RAF Kirton Lindsey. Hello Mary.
AB: Hello love.
Interviewer: Could I start off by asking what time, what date you were at Kirton in Lindsey and what was your role there?
AB: Well, it was between either the end of ’42 or the beginning of 1943 and I was a junior NCO in charge of the airmen’s Mess. Running rotas, fixing the mealtimes and making sure the place was clean before mealtimes and the normal —
Interviewer: And you were a member of permanent staff there weren’t you?
AB: Yes.
Interviewer: You weren’t associated with a squadron or Group.
AB: Oh yes. It was 12 Group. Yeah. 12 Group RAF.
Interviewer: Oh right. Brilliant.
AB: Which came across the middle of the country as you know that the RAF is divided into Commands and what not and then you come in Groups. Of course, you get to stations and so on.
Interviewer: [coughs] Excuse me. So we’ve got here in your notes that you were at Number 53 OTU arriving at Kirton.
AB: Oh yes. Before that it was, it had been an operational fighter station and the squadrons used to come from RAF Coltishall which is only eight miles from the coast and the first line of defence. And then the squadrons used to come after six weeks and Kirton was the second line. So they were supposed to get a rest here.
Interviewer: Right.
AB: But then they went back again. They went back you see. So that was before. Towards the end of the war of course it became a training station in which case 53 OTU and finally other types of training. The flight sergeant in the Mess took a field kitchen course and the RAF Regiment came and trained at Kirton so that’s what it became towards the end.
Interviewer: What were your main memories of Kirton during wartime?
AB: Well, it’s very difficult. I mean there’s so, I mean we didn’t get a great deal of bombing at Kirton. We had had at Coltishall but at Kirton no. So it was just a normal sort of job. You got forty eight hours leave. I came home to Lincoln because that’s where my family were and we obviously any dancing and dancing was the main thing we did in our spare time. We had [unclear] in the morning. We went and had the same features twice a week. They changed the projection on a, from Monday to Wednesday and again changed on Thursday morning. You had Thursday, Friday Saturday another film. And then you had of course the various ENSA ones and various visiting. Then we had our own camp dances. We had our own camp orchestra and our own camp people who were in amateur dramatics. Had their own concert party and so you made your own entertainment because basically the stations were stuck in the middle of nowhere sort of thing. So it was really by then and then of course it came on Group notes that we could, the WAAFs could now apply to go overseas. Well, I was quite comfortable here but I thought it sounded a bit of change with being overseas and such like so I then had to have an interview with a group officer who came and she said, ‘Well, we can’t send anybody. You know you will be an ambassador for the country.’ The only time I’d ever been told that in my life. But and then I, after Christmas I got my things and I went to [pause] I was posted on seven days embarkation leave and I was posted eventually to Brussels and then to Bückeburg in Northern Germany.
Interviewer: What did you do when you were in Brussels?
AB: Pardon?
Interviewer: What did you do when you were in Brussels?
AB: Well, in Brussels before, when after D-Day when everybody had moved everything that anybody wanted on the continent had to be flown which became an impossible thing to do. So once they’d cleared Amsterdam and were able to clear the harbour we could get boats in and then you could. So we were opened as what they called an Air Published Ocean Distribution Unit and we were part of the 2nd Tactical, called the 2nd Tactical Air Force and we then were able to issue all the forms and oversee to everybody in Northern Europe which of course made life easier. And also, in 1945 when they, we had the election, the first election everybody, anybody had had for years and we were either given, or were able to give somebody a proxy vote or you could have a postal vote. And we sent out all the voting papers and everything to all the RAF personnel in Northern Europe.
Interviewer: That must have been a big job.
AB: Oh well, I mean sometimes you’d work late. Sometimes, and of course Brussels was a leave centre so we had, that could be quite fun. So I mean after all it was only eighteens to twenty threes so you did what teen, except of course you didn’t get drunk like they do now otherwise you’d have been on a charge but never mind. So we just, you played. You definitely played hard. You worked hard. And you saw the best of people and you saw the worst of people so, so —
Interviewer: How long did you spend in Europe?
AB: I was there from February and then I was demobbed in October.
Interviewer: Oh right.
AB: And while I was there I met my future husband.
Interviewer: Oh [laughs]
AB: I was working late and I went to the tram stop at the end and he’d just arrived in Brussels. He’d come up through [unclear] and across into [Portugal] and he had, he went to a dance and there was not many ladies there and his mates hadn’t gone with him so he, and he had to change at my transfer and he said afterwards he wondered if that WAAF speaks English and the rest is history.
Interviewer: What was he? Was he an airman or –
AB: He was in the 8th Army.
Interviewer: Oh right.
AB: Yeah. He was in the Royal Army Service Corps but he had been attached to the Desert Rats. The 7th Army Division.
Interviewer: And what did you do when you came back home?
AB: Well, basically we got married [laughs]
Interviewer: Lovely.
AB: So we came. Came home and we arranged the wedding and got houses and tried to furnish like everybody else.
Interviewer: Was the, after the war was the country quite different, you know? Different?
AB: Oh yes.
Interviewer: Was there lots to recover?
AB: Well, I think we were different. You see Churchill lost heavily but he lost heavily partly through the Service vote but because he said, ‘Oh, he’ll put the country back to what it was.’ Well, of course we’d changed. We didn’t want the country back to what it was. You see, before the war people of my age you went in service and that was it. Well, we were determined if anybody was going to ring a bell we were gong to be the one that rang it. We didn’t answer it. We were, I’m afraid we all came out of it a bit bolshy you know.
Interviewer: Well, it would have changed you wouldn’t it as an experience.
AB: Well, I mean you’d, you’d met people from the highest to the lowest and you realised that nobody, that they were no different to you. What they could do you’d done and in many many places during the war you’d taken on quite a lot of responsibility even though you were quite young. I mean on one occasion I, and I mean I flew during the war. I flew in the old Dakotas from Croydon to [unclear] which was Brussels. And I came home with forty eight hour leaves and I’d gone to pick up some papers which were basically the railway warrants, ration cards which would have, you’d have made a bomb on the Black Market. I had to stay overnight before I could catch a plane back and I went in and said could I leave some official papers and he said, ‘Good God, what are you doing with that lot?’ Which I showed the authorisation but I mean I was only twenty two and I had fifty thousand railway warrants and fifty thousand of which I was responsible for. You see so you did some odd things in, in your time but I mean we all, we always, they always say well we struggle through don’t we? You know I mean there was nothing really well organised. Some parts were a shambles like they still are. Yeah.
Interviewer: Great. Well, thank you very much for talking to me. Thank you for sharing your memories.

Citation

Dawn Oakley and This Interview was recorded by Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire., “interview with Annie Mary Blood,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 27, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/46437.

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