EIGHT MONTHS WITH THE WOMEN'S ROYAL AIR FORCE With a Foreword by Air Marshall Sir H. M. Tranchard, K.C.B., D.S.O. Heath Cranton Limited, 6, Fleet Lane, London, E.C. 4. [Reproduced and Printed by the Premier Engraving Co., 35 & 36, Hosier Lane, E.C.1, for Messrs. Heath Cranton, Ltd.]
1920. 4to, pp.  including frontispiece; printed on china coated paper; title-page and 28 full-page photographic reproductions of chalk sketches on brown paper done by the author; some occasional light soiling, but otherwise clean and bright; in the original blue cloth backed pictorial boards, upper cover embossed and lettered in blue, with small mounted colour vignette of a saluting member of the WRAF, spine lettered in blue, head and tail slightly bumped and worn, covers slightly scuffed, extremities a little bumped and rubbed; a very good copy. First edition of this early and attractively produced account of life in the recently formed Women’s Royal Air Force, by Getrude A. George (1886-1971). Previously an art teacher before the war, what makes the work of particular appeal are the 28 delightful full-page illustrations by the author, reproductions of her original chalk sketches drawn on brown paper, and which evocatively capture day to day life. WRAF records show that she joined up on 29 October 1918 and that she was employed at the London Colney RAF airfield.
George dedicates the book to ‘the girls with whom I lived in happy comradeship during my period of service, and to one WRAF officer, whose steady work and high ideals helped to form a worthy tradition in the new Force’. Certainly what comes through in the accompanying text is the great feeling of pride, adventure and esprit de corps of these women, serving alongside men for the first time. Though predominantly performing auxiliary tasks, such as cleaning, repairing aircraft, and sign-writing, George was clearly very proud of her connection with the Force.
‘During the First World War, members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) worked on air stations belonging to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). When the decision was taken to merge the RFC and RNAS to form the Royal Air Force (RAF), concerns were raised about the loss of their specialised female workforce. This need for a separate women’s air service led to the formation of the WRAF on 1 April 1918. Personnel of the WAAC and WRNS were given the choice of transferring to the new service and over 9,000 decided to join. Civilian enrolment swelled WRAF numbers. They were dispatched to RAF bases, initially in Britain and then later in 1919 to France and Germany. In April 1920 the WRAF, a wartime force, was disbanded. In only two years, 32,000 WRAFs had proved a major asset to the RAF and paved the way for all future air service women’. (RAF Museum online).
Bibliography: OCLC locates copies at UCSB, the NYPL, the Hoover Institute, Southern Illinois, Cambridge, the National Library of Wales, the NLS, Oxford, and the BL.