Articulate account of a woman in wartime,
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This review is from: Keeping Watch A WAAF in Bomber Command (Paperback)
There are well-written reviews here already to guide the would-be reader, so I can only add that I found this account very readable. WAAF Beck comes across as a bright, practical and friendly young woman (very young: she turns 21 during the course of the narrative) who is motivated to do her bit for the war effort. She captures very well the anxieties, griefs and frustrations of life on station as well as describing the moments of fun and relief to be had. Film and literature have tended to highlight the battles, with women's roles reduced to wives/girlfriends etc. and this has only fairly recently begun to be rectified. Pip also describes her feelings as the war draws to a close, and this too is rarely heard.
One reviewer has expressed disappointment at a lack of operational detail, and on reflection I would have liked more of that too, but since I was only expecting a memoir of the author's everyday life, I can't complain. The loss of one star is for the glossary, which is helpful as far as it goes, but doesn't go far enough! Things like describing the smell of 'dope' from an aircraft, for example, aren't obvious to all readers. Given the option I'd vote for 4.5 stars overall, though, since it gives us a vivid glimpse of a time in our recent past where morals and manners were different enough to make it seem like Hartley's foreign country.