November 2020

Remembering Eileen Gray

Today we mark the anniversary of the passing in 2019 of Eileen Gray, who served as a radar operator at Bawdsey Radar in the Second World War.

After being accepted into the WAAF, she was posted to RAF Cranwell to do what she described as: “didn’t know what she was going to do”.
Eileen recalled her role as a radar operator , rank Leading Aircraft Woman in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She spoke of her father’s opposition to her signing up; after she had enlisted he asked her what she would be doing, and she replied that she could not tell him. His retort was that ” it wouldn’t be much then”. 

Little did he suspect that in her job she would be on the front line!

Eileen explained that there was great friendship between everyone at Bawdsey, ” they looked after you”. She recalled that it never felt like a military camp, it was more like a second home and that Bawdsey was something you’d never expect in a war. “After a week away on leave I looked forward to coming back”.

We kept in contact with Eileen and her daughter Sharon, and visited her at home to hear more of her wartime memories. Eileen was ‘over the moon’ to be invited to the official opening of Bawdsey Radar and meet the Duke of Gloucester in July 2018.  
Here she is ‘then and now’ when we last met up, and in her WAAF uniform.

It was a privilege to know Eileen and to hear first-hand about her life at Bawdsey.


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Remembering Eileen Gray