Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Another Christmas on the horizon and another year almost gone - I hope 2011 has been kind to you and yours. I send you seasonal greetings and my best wishes for a peaceful and happy year to come. Although the news is full of doom and gloom, we must make the best of it. Austerity is not necessarily all bad – it makes us appreciate things money cannot buy.

This past year has been a more than eventful 365 days. My second book, dedicated to the WAAF of the Filter Rooms of Fighter Command was published initially in an exclusive limited soft back edition in January by Candy Jar Books of Cardiff. This is a young company run by Shaun and Justin, two enterprising young men with media and photographic backgrounds. On my 90th birthday, it was launched as a hard back edition at RAF St. Athan. That day I shared my birthday with the Commanding Officer, Wing Commandeer Williams, the only difference being that he was half my age and twice my height!

We toured the camp in a jeep called Queenie, designed like a Popemobile for our Queen when she toured Berlin for the first time. Then we inspected the troops on the Parade Ground and finally in the Mess were presented with two enormous birthday cakes, decorated with the RAF insignia, to be cut up and shared with the RAF, MOD and local council representatives – a memorable day and all of which was filmed by HTV and shown on the evening news. The following weekend I was taken to meet the Air Officer commanding the whole of the RAF in Wales at the Swansea Air Show. The following day, the first sunny one in weeks, I held a party for fifty-six friends in the garden of Picquets – it was great to welcome them all.

Candy Jar are great publicists and this has led to so many activities. I have given twenty-six talks to varying groups, ranging from a wonderful class of eight year olds in a Primary school in Barry to a bunch of Radio Hams; and from Bletchley Manor, where I was presented with the Freedom of Bletchley and a veterans badge as a member of a Bletchley outstation, to Rotary clubs and Cardiff University. I have enjoyed them all.

I was invited to the St. David’s Day dinner in the City Hall in Cardiff and then honoured with a visit to my house by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones who wanted to view the Filter Room film of a watch at Fighter Command HQ, taken in November 1943. There have been several interviews with both BBC TV and Radio and ITV but the most interesting was the invitation to appear on BBC Breakfast on September 7th. I have always been a fan of this show and was delighted to meet Bill Turnbull and Chris Hollins. Sadly Sian was not on that day but I met Louise. I even received a passing nod from Craig Revel Horwood! Wales’ answer to Terry Wogan, Roy Noble has invited me twice to be on his show and I am due there again for the radio broadcast on Christmas Day – obviously recorded beforehand.

A recent visit to Aces High Aviation Gallery in Wendover, Bucks saw me signing vast numbers of aviation memorabilia for aeronautical fans in the company of four wonderful Battle of Britain fighter pilots, one of whom was Geoffrey Wellum, the author of First Light, two WAAF airwomen, and four great American Mustang pilots. Our ages totted up to almost one thousand years but everyone was “with it”! There was also a short appearance in the fourth episode of Channel 4’s saga, entitled WW2 - the Last Heroes and another one in a series for ITV. But what I have enjoyed most is all the interesting people I have met during the year, including several WAAF colleagues who have made contact again after all these years. One of these is Patricia Robins who writes both under that name and also Claire Lorrimer. She has written 80 books and is still doing so – definitely puts me in the shade.

I have been thrilled to talk to Emma Soames, Winston Churchill’s granddaughter who contributed a foreword for One Woman’s War, and to make contact with Dame Vera Lynn who contributed an endorsement.

The final surprise for the year has been finding again the little girl Hélène, then five years old, to whom together with her two brothers I taught French in Contrexeville in the summer of 1938. This was the year of the Munich crisis when Chamberlain, Hitler and Mussolini met and signed the non-aggression pact. Due to the threat of war, I had to leave the family and France suddenly and return home. A French author, with whom I have worked recently, managed to trace her after all these years. She is now 78 years old and living in Grenoble. She rings me regularly, speaking impeccable English.

Thanks to the wonderful care of my eye surgeon, Chris Gorman, we have managed to keep Wet Macular Degeneration at bay but it is a constant battle. I have just had my 30 eye injection with the drug Lucentis. I must admit I walk like an old woman but I keep my brain active, if not my body. I thank my many friends for their support and their kindnesses.


Friday, 7 October 2011

WE REMEMBER - 11/11/11/11

At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 2011 (11-11-11-11) 'One Woman's War' will be remembering those who were willing to lay down their lives for their country.

Publishers, Candy Jar will give £1 for every copy of the book sold through their website, Amazon shop, and on on November 11th 2011.

Friday, 24 June 2011


Every day something new happens, building up to my birthday on July 4th when my second book "One Woman's War" published by Candy Jar Books  is launched in a superb hardback version. I look at the post each morning and wonder what is the next surprise. Yesterday I received three letters - one from a WAAF who had served during the war as an Instrument Repairer, a vital job and the second from a Squadron Leader who had become a Filterer Officer like me, and it transpires that I was his training Officer at RAF Bawdsey when he first joined up. He went on to serve in Filter Rooms overseas  including India, Ceylon and the Cocos Keeling Islands. Speaking subsequently to him by phone, the third piece of news came from a Wing Commander Bomber Commander. I wonder where the next surprise is coming from?


Monday, 20 June 2011


Out of the blue I have received a letter from a WAAF airwoman who worked with me in the 11 Group Filter Room and  who knew me by my maiden name   Eileen Le Croissette! It shows how we kept secrets - I never knew about this secret operation - The Rocket Room.- This is her letter:-

Mary  -------------

WAAF 1941-1946  Cpl 448876

Innsworth Lane
, Glos; Leighton Buzzard Plotter School
1941-3: 12 Group Watnall
1943-6:  11 Group, Stanmore, Bentley Priory, down the Hole, then moved to Hill House

20th June 2011

Dear Mrs Younghusband

It has been a great pleasure to read your “One Woman’s War”. Your letter to the press “Filtered Out” thrilled my Filter friends. “Ops” always had the publicity, but you highlighted the frantic work on the Filter Room table, describing the Radar Chain, and how the system was unknown.

To discover you were S/O Le Croissette was amazing, remembering you at Stanmore, down the “Hole” and at Hill House.  As a plotter, I did most duties from Teller, Filter Office’s Clerk for Y Service, plotting on all stations - Beachy Head on D-Day, with the mass raid of 1,000 A/C.

So far, nothing has been written about the Rocket Office, my last duty.  Why?  This small office built onto the rear of the Filter Room, manned by two, sometimes three officers plus one NCO, contained a long switchboard of phone lines, alarm bells, a place for the recorder; on the side, just enough room for a large map to trace the firing points of each “incident” to landing, and final Home Office report of casualties and damage. The first V2 on September 8th.

The Office was manned from about August 20th. I cannot remember the names of the officers, except Betty Wix (666!) and Pat Robbins (daughter of the novelist, Denise Robbins).

After much waiting around, the officers used to go up to the Rest Room for a break, having given me strict instructions to sound the alarm if anything happened.  Alone, I was terrified every time a call came, but many were for Pat Robbins, from an American officer called HAM!  Pat produced the humour of the team, often asking for advice and suggestions on the current story she was writing.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Recently I gave a talk to Class 3, about my experience as a WAAF Officer during the last war, at All Saints Primary School at Barry, Vale of Glamorgan. These  eight-year olds had previously visited The Imperial War Museum and their class room was decorated with WW2 memorabilia - a cut-out evacuation train with their own photos pasted in the windows, fighter and bomber aircraft, the emotive words THE BLITZ, HITLER, NAZIS together with Ration books and Identity Cards.

They listened avidly to my description of the job of the Filter Room, the lynchpin of the Radar system. When I showed them a film of the work done at Fighter Command Headquarters' Filter Room, they were engrossed.
At the end they asked over twenty questions. "Had I met Anne Frank?" "No," I said. "Did I ever see Winston Churchill." "Yes," was my answer. "Did we have to be good at Maths to work there?" And the questions continued...  I spent one of my most interesting and enjoyable two hours with them. The culmination was finding in my letter box two days ago an envelope containing twenty-nine hand-made cards from these children with drawings on the front and delightful messages inside. Here a few samples of these delightful children's efforts.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Thinking about how I am going to celebrate my 90th birthday - I will have to do the catering myself and have invited 50+ friends! Will have to draw on all my previous hotel and catering know-how! Am having a "Wander Inn" at my house from midday to 1900 hours so I get a chance to talk to people. Hope the weather keeps fine so we can spread out. A  young lady, who is the 10-year-old daughter of my wonderful eye surgeon who is warding off the Wet Macular Degeneration of my left eye so marvellously, is a great pastry cook. She has offered  to make a selection of cakes for me  - a drizzle cake, a carrot cake and lots of vanilla or chocolate cup cakes.  I can see she will have a great career in front of her!

Thursday, 26 May 2011


After a successful talk at Barry Library during NIACE week and a book signing, I've given two more talks about the Radar Filter Room, where I showed the film taken in November 1943 at Fighter Command HQ during an active 8 hour evening watch.

The first talk was to Penarth 41 Club, around 30 men - none of whom knew about this essential part of the Radar defence of Great Britain. It is essential the work of the WAAF becomes known and acknowledged as the lynchpin of the successful defence of Britain. 

This talk was followed with the same subject to a different audience - thirty eight-year-olds from All Saints Primary School in Barry. They were so enthusiaistic having visited the Imperial War Museum earlier in the week. Their classroom was decorated with memorabilia from WW2 - a copy of the train taking evacuees away from danger, a copy of an Anderson Air Raid shelter, ration books and wartime posters. They asked over thirty very intelligent questions. Congratulations to the Head Teacher and the inspiring staff who were encouraging these children to learn with pleasure and interest and instilling such confidence in them. I enjoyed every moment of the session with them.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Another interesting week – interviewed by Penarth Times reporter Chris Seal re the NIACE event on Saturday at Barry Library and he has done an interesting spread in this week’s edition. I will be showing the film illustrating the then top secret function of the RADAR Filter Room where I served for 5  years and talking about V1s and V2s. Then  I will be signing my Exclusive Advance Print of “One Woman’s War”. The event will be accompanied by WW2 memorabilia and the presence of WAAF Cadets – a fascinating event for young and old!  Come and support me.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


Last night, April 13th, my sixty-five year-long quest came to an end. In May, 1938, aged only seventeen, I went to Contrexeville in the Vosges to teach English to three young children. Their father was a right-wing member of the Chambre des Deputes, the French Parliament.

By August, it seemed war was imminent - it was the Munich Crisis - and he was called up. I was immediately sent home to avoid being caught in a war zone. Eventually at the end of World War 2, when I returned from service as a WAAF Officer, I thought about those children and wondered what had happened to them. For many years I searched without success to trace them, then through the internet I found their father had joined the Petain government and was labelled a collaborateur. I learned he had escaped to Germany in 1944 and then had managed to leave the country and found sanctuary first in the Argentine and finally in Uraguay where he died in 1968. In France, all his possessions were taken from him and his name blackened. But what happened to the children?

Last night Helene, the youngest of the three, telephoned me from Geneva and told me their amazing story. A French writer friend of mine, Genevieve Moulard, had managed to track her down through the Mayor of Contrexeville. Having been contacted by her, Helene immediately phoned me. She talked for an hour and a half in excellent English relating an amazing tale of escape, of anger, of bitterness and of danger. The life story of that family is food for a novel. Perhaps my next venture!!!

Monday, 11 April 2011


Having produced a second book "One Woman's War" about the secret work of the Filter Room of Fighter Command and found a publishing company Candy Jar Books of Cardiff, things are happening rapidly. It is as if I had thrown a pebble into the pool of publicity. I have now contributed to Impossible Pictures, for a forthcoming series  "D Day to Berlin", to be aired on Channel 4 in the autumn and a further interview with Daybreak TV for a drama series plus an interesting contact with Boffinstv. Each day something new happens - makes life interesting in my 90th year!