Image of Imperial War Museums Logo Image of Historic Duxford title

Jobs in the Women’s Royal Air Force, 1918

Members of the WRAF at Duxford. By permission of the Imperial War Museum. IWM Q114860

We’ve been doing some research concerning the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF). The WRAF was established in April 1918, at the same time as the the RAF. Women who had been serving within the other services – the Army and Royal Navy – could be transferred across, and it was also opened up to new members. Contained within the ‘Conditions of Service’, we found this list of jobs that were open to its recruits:

Clerk
Storewoman
Cook
Waitress
Laundress
Housemaid
Vegetable Woman
By-Product Woman
Pantrymaid
General Domestic Worker
Acetylene Welder
Camera Repairer
Coppersmith
Electrician
Fitter (Aero engine)
Fitter (General)
Instrument repairer
Machinist
Magneto repairer
Rigger
Tinsmith and Sheet Metal Worker
Turner
Vulcaniser
Wireless Mechanic
Wireless Operator
Carpenter
Motor Car Driver
Draughtswoman
Upholsterer
Painter
Photographer
Shoemaker
Assistant Armourer
Packer
Storewoman (Non-Technical)
Tailor
Fabric Worker
Motor cyclist
Washer (Motor Car)
Telephone Operator

The First World War dramatically increased the range of jobs that were undertaken by women, beyond the traditional fields such as domestic service (which employed between 11-13% of the female population in England and Wales from 1911-1914). Many of these new jobs were carried out by WRAFs at Duxford, as the photograph below shows.

Members of the WRAF in the Motor Transport yard, Duxford, 1918. By permission of the Imperial War Museum IWM HU 040586

Be Sociable, Share!
0 comments
Submit comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.