The Women's Royal Air Force
) was a women's branch of the Royal Air Force
which existed in two separate incarnations.
The first WRAF was an auxiliary organization of the Royal Air Force which was founded in 1918. The original intent of the WRAF was to provide female mechanics
in order to free up men for service in World War I
. However, the organization saw huge enrollment, with women volunteering for positions as drivers and mechanics and filling other wartime needs. This first WRAF was disbanded in 1920. The last veteran from this era was thought to be Gladys Powers
, who died in 2008, but Florence Green
was recently found to be the last-known surviving WRAF veteran.
On 1 February 1949, the name was revived when the Women's Auxiliary Air Force
, which had been founded in 1939, was renamed the Women's Royal Air Force. The WRAF and the RAF grew closer over the following decades, with increasing numbers of trades opened to women, and the two services formally merged in 1994, marking the full assimilation of women into the British military and the end of the Women's Royal Air Force.
The Central Band of the WRAF, one of only two all-female bands in the British Armed Forces, was disbanded in 1972. Some of its musicians transferred to the Band of the Women's Royal Army Corps
held standard RAF ranks, but officers used a separate ranking system until 1968, when they too adopted RAF... Read More