Spitfire Girl

Spitfire Girl by Jackie Moggridge Read Free Book Online

Book: Spitfire Girl by Jackie Moggridge Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jackie Moggridge
abounded. The world was full of hope and promise.
    The letter arrived.
    1 4th September, 1939
    Dear Madam,
    With reference to our letter dated the 4th of September and your reply of the 5th, I am requested to thank you for your offer but to inform you that the services of women pilots are not now required.
    It is suggested that you may find a suitable position in the Women’s Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
    Yours faithfully,
    etc., etc.
    You beasts! You rotten horrid beasts. This was the strongest epithet I could muster. Cads and beasts. Rotters. Inhuman fiends. In a passion of hatred and revolt against the tyranny of man I swore, like Lysistrata, to withhold my love until they should repent. I had not yet, nor never would, bestow my favours on these miserable creatures.
    A fter my fury and mortification had subsided to manageable proportions I decided to find a ‘suitable position in the Waafs.’ The nearest recruiting station was at Oxford. They got to know me very well.
    Within ten days I became a de facto member of the Waafs. The partial recognition was a result of my insistence in being enlisted before the Royal Air Force were quite ready for me. In harassed desperation the recruiting officer suggested that, if it were really quite impossible for me to wait until the next draft was prepared, perhaps I would like to help out temporarily as an orderly for Waaf officers stationed at a nearby aerodrome.
    Reflecting ruefully on my present lowly state I reported, unsworn, undisciplined and improperly dressed, to the aerodrome. The recruiting officer had been unable to provide a complete uniform. As the bus approached the gates and the hangars and panorama of aviation unfolded dimly in the driving rain I felt a patriotic surge of emotion. Eagerly I lifted my bag, clutched my pass and swept imperiously through the gates.
    ‘And where do you think you’re going?’ boomed a voice.
    ‘To the Waaf officer in charge, please,’ I answered, cowed by the formidable figure with legs apart that stood by the guard-room eyeing me with extreme disfavour.
    ‘Authority?’ he barked.
    ‘Pardon, sir?’ I stuttered, meekly.
    ‘Where’s your authority?’ he repeated. ‘And you call me sergeant, not sir.’
    Completely unnerved I offered my pass. He glanced at it cursorily. ‘Corporal,’ he called, ‘escort A.C.W.2 Sorour to the Adjutant. Not,’ he added mincingly, ‘to the Waaf officer in charge.’
    Blushing crimson and glancing yearningly at the bus that was departing with a crash of gears I was escorted to the Adjutant. The corporal was taciturn and intent on flinging his arm violently in salute to distant figures. Determined to impress I threw a handful of fingers towards my right ear as an important-looking personage approached.
    ‘Come here, you!’ ordered the personage, in the rain.
    Proudly I came.
    ‘What am I?’ he asked. I resisted the impulse to be facetious and looked carefully at the medals on his tunic and the badge on his sleeve. The rain dripped persistently on to both. I had not the remotest idea what he was.
    ‘Don’t know, sergeant sir,’ I admitted apologetically.
    ‘Don’t know!’ he bellowed.
    ‘No, sir,’ I answered contritely.
    Heavily he brought up his right sleeve until it was within an inch of my shiny nose. ‘That! young lady, is the badge of a warrant officer.’ Irrelevantly I admired the richly embroidered badge. ‘It’s lovely,’ I blurted out. The corporal grinned. The warrant officer did not.
    ‘What’s your name and number?’ he asked ominously.
    ‘Dolores Teresa Sorour. I haven’t got a number,’ I answered.
    ‘Haven’t got a number?’ he asked incredulously.
    ‘No, sir.’
    ‘Why haven’t you got a number?’
    ‘Nobody gave me one,’ I answered tearfully. He looked at me, looked at the corporal and beckoned assistance from the heavens.
    ‘I’m taking her to the Adj.,’ explained the corporal helpfully.
    ‘Yes, yes,’ answered the warrant officer wearily. ‘Do

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