‘Fantastic’ reunion of RAF Spitalgate’s ladies in Grantham
Using Facebook, a 70-year-old who trained with the Women’s Royal Air Force at RAF Spitalgate, organised a successful reunion last weekend of fellow WRAF members.
Although Maureen Scott Smith only spent six weeks in Grantham aged 19 doing her WRAF basic training in 1963, she has always remembered the time fondly.
After discovering a Facebook group for women who trained at RAF Spitalgate between 1960 and 1974, Maureen, who lives in York, decided to organise a reunion.
Last weekend 23 former WRAF trainees gathered in Grantham, including a lady from the Orkney Islands. While most trained at different times, they soon bonded over similar experiences, such as marching over and over again or ‘square-bashing’ and Neil Sedaka’s ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ played each time a group of intakes left.
This led to plenty of reminiscing and laughter on Saturday night, when the WRAF ladies and a few husbands who had come along met for dinner at the Angel and Royal. Maureen said: “It was absolutely fantastic. One woman within five minutes said that she felt as if she knew everyone.”
On Sunday they spent the day back at RAF Spitalgate, now the Prince William of Gloucester barracks, where they enjoyed mini-bus tours around the camp. “Shouts of this was my block, the parade square looks so small and there’s the NAAFI etc could be heard,” added Maureen. They were welcomed by Regimental Sergeant Major Shaun Owen for lunch in the Sergeant’s mess, saw memorabilia in the Officers’ mess, and raised £150 in an auction and raffle to be donated evenly to the Royal Air Force Benevolent and Army Benevolent Fund.
It was such a success that they’re already planning another reunion next April. Former RAF Spitalgate WRAF trainees can join the Facebook group at tinyurl.com/qdkkqev