Veteran Stories:
Norma Curry

Air Force

  • Norma Curry in 1941.

    Norma Curry
  • Norma Curry at a reunion with her comrads, 2008.

    Norma Curry
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"I decided to do something to do with the planes, because I’d meet the flyers. Everything’s done with a purpose, meaning boyfriends."

Transcript

Well, at that time, when you were 17 and a half, if you weren’t in war work, you had to go into the forces. But at that time, it didn’t matter, later on you had no choice, but at that time, you had your choice of the forces. So I was barely out of high school, I was 17 and a half, so were my friends, so we did decide, we live in a, where I lived was a port and we never knew where it was to go out with a sea lad, with a soldier or an air force guy. So we thought we’d join the navy. You had your choice then. And the recruiting areas, so there were six of us from school. There was one girl from another school and so we all planned to meet and go and it was closed, the naval thing was closed. What are we going to do? But we were so eager, we said, let’s go to the air force and sign up. So we went to the air force and we all merrily signed up and proceeded to have cursory examinations. And I had good high marks and that thing, so I could pick any form of work that I wanted to. And I decided to do something to do with the planes, because I’d meet the flyers. Everything’s done with a purpose, meaning boyfriends. That was the main thing involved, it doesn’t matter what it entailed if you had your choice of boyfriends, well the world was your oyster. And then of course, my mom and dad were terribly upset about this and I kind of, had to go live on my own. But they knew, you know, I said, “I’ve got to, I’m 17 and a half, mom, you know, I’ve got to go.” “Oh, as long as you don’t go into a war fight.” Some bright spark told me, “Now, they’re going to ask you if you want to go the north of England or the south of England. Well, whatever you do, get the opposite.” And I said, “Well, I promised mom and dad I’d get stationed near home, which is the north of England.” And this bright spark said to me, “Well, you ask for the south of England.” “Oh, okay.” I asked for the south of England and I got so far south, miles away from home, it was the worst thing. And at the time, I thought it was the worst thing I did. But it wasn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t have met my lovely man, if I hadn’t been there, right, if I was at the other end of the country. WAAFs was our name, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force [WAAF], you see, that’s what it stood for. And you had your choice of your own, whatever group you wanted to go into. So I chose the one that paid the most money, which was maybe three pennies or six pennies more than, money was so low, I can’t believe it. And so then my job was spark plug tester and what we did, amongst other things, we’d go to the plane, we’d take the spark plugs out, we’d check different things on the plane. We’d take the spark plugs into the plug pit and sit in the hanger. And then we’d proceed to test these spark plugs, test them, clean them, with a sparking under pressure machine, I always remember that. And clean them and then put them back. After we finished the training, we were sent to [RAF] Ford. So here we are, six fully fledged spark plug testers. I mean, it sounds like a little insignificant job, but it was very important and you had to work hard at it too. But six of them and we were billeted in a row of houses.
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