Women in radar

Hilda Pearson

‘I was living in Newcastle, working as a secretary when I decided to join up.

Incendiary bombs were landing on the city and there was a smell of burning sugar. The warehouse that contained our rations was hit and we were extremely cross about it. I made the decision to join up there and then.

There were a lot of interviews and tests to join the WAAF. You were graded – I was Grade 1, which meant that I had a choice of cipher, photographic interpretation or radar. I chose radar because it sounded most interesting.

I was billeted in Bawdsey Manor. There were six of us in one of those big rooms. We all worked shifts, so there were three of us sleeping and three working. You just got used to it.

Those four years were the first time that I’d worn trousers. We wore battle dress when we were working and had a uniform skirt for off duty.

After I’d been demobbed, I swore I’d never wear trousers again!’

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Hilda Pearson