Naafi, Knickers and Nijmegen

Woodfield Publishing Ltd
ISBN 1-84683-071-0
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by Joan Blackburn (formerly Ratcliff)


Adventures of a WRAF Airwoman 1959-63

In this enjoyable and well-written memoir Joan Blackburn looks back on the four eventful years she spent in the RAF from 1959-1963.

Originally written in 1964, while the events described were still fresh in her mind, it is an evocative snapshot of the time that will be greatly enjoyed by anyone who served in the RAF during those years ~ and particularly by former female personnel who, like Joan, served at RAF Wilmslow, RAF Hereford, RAF Medmenham or RAF Rheindahlen ~ although a military background is by no means essential to enjoy Joan's warm-hearted stories of her youthful adventures in uniform.

Her claim to a small piece of RAF history is that she was one of the very first female contingent from the RAF to take part in the 100-mile Nijmegen March in 1962 (prior to this the RAF had forbidden female staff to participate). Her description of the gruelling four-day march and the sense of pride and achievement she and the other RAF girls experienced on completing it is one of the book's highlights.

But there are plenty more ~ including many humorous episodes involving a cast of colourful characters with whom Joan came into contact in the course of her four years in the RAF.

A book that will be greatly enjoyed by anyone who served in the RAF in the 50s or 60s but with plenty to appeal to a wider range of readers of all ages.

Joan's second book Grandad's Rainbow is a charming depiction of her childhood experiences during World War Two.

"Joan's book is enjoyable, full of nostalgia and brings back so many memories of life in the WRAF in the late 50s/early 60s. The book is full of amusing anecdotes which will tickle the funny-bones of old and young alike. Perfect for lounging at the beach or in the back garden and a great travel companion." Sparks (Ontario, Canada)

details softback | 260 pages text + b/w photos
keywords The RAF in the 1950s & 1960s | history | nostalgia | humour