Sergeant Georgina Stone - Funny Tales From Her Time In The RAF.
Georgina Stone was born on the 4th October 1919. She was one of three children. Ron was a couple of years younger than her, and Barbara came along nearly eleven years later.
She grew up in a house full of love and laughter, with eleven aunts and uncles visiting at all times of the day. In fact her mother, Rose Stone opened her house to so many people it must have been wonderful.
With a sense of fun she took over the house and made everyone feel at home. Her husband george was in the army so she felt that she was doing her bit.
Georgina was used to Military Personnel wandering through the front door of the house because her mother Rose had kept an open door for soldiers of the first world war to come and stay there on leave.
There were mittens laying around on the tables, scarves being frantically knitted and boxes full of food to give to the Troops when they returned to camp. Rose never had a lot, but what she had she gladly gave to the war effort. Georgina took it all in and vowed to join up as soon as she was old enough.
In 1939, war broke out and Georgina remembered her vow. So off she went and joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, or WAAFs as its known today. She became a Tele Op Girl or telephone operator, and rose to the ranks of Sergeant.
But that didn't stop her having fun!
My Mum The Sergeant
By now you have probably gathered that Georgina was my mother. And being my mother its blatantly obvious to me that the funny stuff i.e. getting up to all sorts of nonsense, runs in the family.
Of course it was a serious time. Living and working on a working airbase wasn't easy. She watched Spitfires and Wellington bombers take off, not knowing whether the young men would be coming home. She was scared to form too much of an attachment with anyone just in case.
But being aware of the dangers facing them, the young pilots would have as much fun and laughter as they could before being called out to fly across Germany and fight for their Country.
So of course my mother got involved in most of the mischief that was going on at the base. Well she would, she was my mother!
Her First Excursion In A Spitfire!
There were a few days in the week when it was more quiet than normal. Because the pilots were always on edge waiting for the call, they decided to take the WAAFs up in the planes. My mother decided in her wisdom that yes she wanted to go up in a Spitfire. So, pushing her way to the front of the queue she said, 'Please let me be first'. Little did she know she had to wear a parachute!
Standing listening to the instructions on how to put the darn thing on, she shoved the pilot out the way and said, ' I can do it, I am not stupid' Grinning all the time while she was fiddling with the links. Next second a great big Norwegian guy came strolling across the airfield. Seeing her get in a muddle he reached over and without a how do you do, grabbed the shute between her legs and pulled!
Next second my mother was laying flat on her back, legs in the air and her skirt halfway up her thighs! All the girls started laughing, and my mum was in so much hysterics she couldn't get up. Eventually life, limb and dignity were recovered and she had her flight in the Spitfire! The Norwegian pilot did apologise to her afterwards, and bought her a drink.
The Great Escape!
One evening after eating in the Mess, the other WAAFs decided that they were going into the nearest village for a drink. They were allowed out one night a week.
My mother decided that she wanted to go too, and was getting dressed in her uniform when she was told that no, she was needed that night, and had to take over from another WAAF who had other duties.
My mother, not to be outdone, decided in her wisdom or lack of, to get the work done and join the other girls.
Unfortunately the gates had been locked, so she and another girl decided to take a short cut across the fields, and crawl under the fence!
After sneaking out the air base, they crept across the field and started to crawl under the wire. Next second my mother yelled' 'Help, I'm stuck!'
'Whats wrong with you? whispered her friend? 'I have got the wire caught in my pants!' My mother hissed! Struggling out of the wire, she heard a rip and then a very loud voice yell,
SERGEANT STONE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?' Scrambling to her feet she came face to face with her superior officer!
Grabbing my mother by the lapels, she marched her back to camp and gave her the biggest telling off she could! Suffice to say my mother was grounded for a week and ended up doing kitchen duty!
Chased By A Spitfire!
The WAAFs always rode their bikes across the air field to get into work. But they had to make sure that they looked out for the flying flag. When it was high on the Raf pole they knew that they had to stay around the perimeter fence.
On this particular day my mother was a bit late for duty. So of she went on her bike not taking any notice of the flag position.
Next second she heard this deep rumbling coming from behind her. To her horror, she saw a Spitfire about to land! The pilot spotted her peddling madly across the tarmac and with a grin and a wave, deliberately chased her right up to the field edge.
Her legs were going nineteen to the dozen until right at the edge she fell of her bike and straight down into the mud! Stumbling to her feet, hat all askew, she heard all the pilots laughing so hard they couldn't stand up!
Trying to regain her dignity she pulled down her jacket, smoothed off her skirt and stormed past them into the main office huffing and puffing all the way!
A German Ghost Comes Calling!
Stationed at RAF North Weald Epping Forest Essex England, my mother got to know all the pilots, WAAFs and officers very well.
They had a good camaraderie. British, Norwegians, Canadians and later Americans, they all knuckled down and got on famously.
But my mum loved them all, and as she told me with a glint in her eye one evening sitting at home by the fire reminising, 'I think I must have dated a man from every country! Oh it was grand back then!'
Then she told me the story of the german ghost!
One night in 1943, the planes were out on their night raids. Two girls were left in the telephone operating room. One was my mother, and the other girl was a small slip of a thing, my mothers words.
It was winter and the mist was coming up over the tarmac and sliding up past the windows. It was also eerily silent. They had heard that a german had been captured the day before after his plane had been shot down. He was in the cells, and rumor said that he had died.
Suddenly my mother heard a noise by the door leading to the corridors. Jumping up she headed towards it only to be confronted by a man in uniform with a gun!
'HALT' He yelled and pointed for them to sit down. To her shock she realised he was wearing a german uniform! Slowly he came towards them whispering 'ver hav' you put my plane? The young girl screamed and passed out on the floor!
My mother, to her credit, did the opposite. She raced across the room, tackled him to the floor and started yelling, 'Somebody help! I think I just caught a german ghost! Next second the 'ghost' started laughing, and he laughed and laughed so hard that he knocked my mother straight over onto the floor.
In sheer disbelief my mother just stared. Until he said in a very American accent, 'Gotcha there didn't I? It was an American pilot! Now my mother wasn't going to take this laying down, literally! She started thumping him! 'You b....d'! you nearly gave us a heart attack! By this time ten more pilots strolled in clutching their stomachs laughing so hard they couldn't stand up properly!
After waking the fainting girl up, my mother saw the funny side of it. But she got her own back big time! When they all went of to the Officers quarters for a drink she stole their hats and put them in the store cupboard! She said, and I quote:
'You should have seen them running around like headless chickens trying to find their flight hats! It was even funnier when they all got a good telling off for not wearing their uniforms in a public place!
My mother still thought it was funny 60 years after the event. And by the way? The german officer was fine, that was just a story told by the pilots. He was unharmed after crashing his plane!
Fit For A King!
Working on a R.A.F. in the second world war was a heartbreaking business. Friends who they grew to love, work with and generally have a good time could be cut down within a few moments during a terrible air battle.
Laughing has always been regarded as the best medicine in any situation, but in these hard times it meant much more to all the air staff, crew and waafs. There were many times when they played jokes on each other, trying to out do the last joke. But I believe my mother out did them all.
The King And I
One day on a return trip to base after weekend leave, Georgina headed towards the meeting place of her last lift on the journey. All the RAF crew, men and women relied on the big lorries taking stores to camp or the local shops.
Most of these were either English or American guys. My mother loved the 'yanks' as she called them. They always had big jars of fruit, candy and stockings so she looked forward to her lift with them. This particular day she missed her lift and decided to walk back to camp. It was about four miles and the weather was dire.
Suddenly a large car drew up beside and they driver leaned out of the window.
'Excuse me Sergeant, would you like a lift'? He asked.
My mother could see the back window of the car was dark, so she couldn't see who was inside. Nodding her head and thanking him she clambered into the passenger seat. Turning round and looking over her shoulder she could see a very distinguished man with a very large mustache.
He nodded to her, smiled and then asked if she was enjoying her work. She smiled and said yes thank you, then turned back and the journey continued in silence.
Eventually they arrived at North Weald Air Base. She noticed all the waafs and pilots were lined up on parade. Strange she thought. Why at this time of the day?
Opening the door to the car, she climbed out and thanked the driver and the passenger for the lift. The man in the back smiled and said 'That was a pleasure, I am sure I will see you in a moment'.
She noticed he had an accent, but wasn't sure what it was. Clambering out the car she walked over towards the parade line. All eyes were on her.
As she approached them she noticed a look of shock on their faces. What? She whispered to the waaf next to her. Turning around she realised the man had got out of the car and was striding towards them.
ATTENTION! The parade stood to attention and waited for the next instructions. There was complete silence as the man approached them.
AT EASE! Relaxing in line she turned to see the man smiling at her. All eyes were getting bigger and bigger by this time.
'It was a pleasure being able to help one of our brave hardworking service women'. He stated. Then moved on inspecting the troops. He then walked back to the car and was driven away.
By this time my mother was in a state of shock. The other waafs clustered round her.
'How did you swing that one'? They asked in astonishment! 'Its not every day one of us manage to get a lift in with the King of Norway!
60 years on and the smile on my mothers face was a picture. I could see by her eyes that were shining so brightly, that she knew she had won with the best trick in the world.
We'll Meet Again - Vera Lynn
My Mother My Hero.
This was a tribute to my mother who loved her time in the Airforce. Along with my uncle who was also a Sergeant in the Airforce. He sadly died when his Wellington Bomber got shot down over Scotland.
My dad was in the Army, he was a Corporal and suffered a shot wound to his arm. They are all my hero's. I couldn't be more proud of them. They are all gone now. But never ever forgotten.
I told you mum that I would write it. I hope I did you proud.
In tribute to all those Airmen and Women, Army Navy and Civilians who lost their lives in the First and Second World War. And all those who served our Country and returned home.
We will never forget them.