Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Eileen has appeared on Radio Wales, talking to Phil George about the values that helped her as an officer in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in World War Two.

You can hear the broadcast via iPlayer here.


Friday, 30 November 2012


In September, Eileen Younghusband (author of One Woman's War) had the honour of visiting Bletchley Park during the Veterans weekend to give a talk on the Filter Room, the lynchpin of Air Chief Marshall Dowding’s system of the use of the Radar chain. She described it as a secret kept longer than that of Bletchley Park.

You can listen to Eileen's talk via the Bletchley Park podcast here:

One Woman's War is available now from Candy Jar Books.

Friday, 9 November 2012


Eileen featured in her very own documentary last night (8/11/2012) on ITV Wales.

Welsh Heroes of World War II: Tracking the Enemy depicted Eileen's work in the incredible Filter Rooms, part of the ingenious RADAR chain, during World War II as she tracked planes and incoming bombs over the skies of Britain. Using just their mathematical talents, Eileen and the other WAAF girls were responsible for knowing exactly what was going on in the air. It was their filtered information that determined both the location of airborne aircraft and which were friend or foe.

Eileen speaking on ITV Wales
Tracking the Enemy went beyond the Filter Rooms of World War II in its 25 minute running time and introduced Eileen to the modern system of Air Defence now in place. When asked if she would like to get back to work Eileen replied 'If I could be twenty-one and do it all over again, I would'.

The commemorative window at Bentley priory
A truly inspiring documentary, Tracking the Enemy has helped to highlight the vital work done by the young women of the WAAF who have now been honoured at the home of the Royal Air Force, Bentley Priory, with a stunning stained glass window. For more information on the programme and for a sneak preview of the show, please click here

Eileen's book One Woman's War is currently in the final stages of its transition from page to screen. The one hour documentary tells Eileen's story of her (so far) 91 years, covering everything from her childhood to her marriage to dealing scrap metal for a company in Spain. A truly remarkable life, One Woman's War is due for release in December*.

Watch this space for the One Woman's War trailer coming soon.

*date of releases subject to change.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


I decided to do a little self-analysis and came up with the following results!

Why I Write...

I wrote to record but now
I write to reveal,
I write to remember
I write to connect with the past,
I write to influence the future,
I write to savour the present,
I write for pleasure or to overcome pain,
I write when I’m glad, when I’m sad, when I’m lonely,
I write with spontaneity mostly, with effort occasionally,
I write as if I'm talking to a friend,
I write frequently,
I write letters and poems, prose and reports,
I write of the good in the world and the bad,
I write always in hope of a reader,
I write prepared to be criticised, condemned or congratulated,
I write because I love words and the effect of words,
I write to my friends every Christmas with a report of the year,
I write for my own satisfaction and hopefully others pleasure,
I write to keep in touch,
I write when I cannot sleep,
I write to forget,
I write and I write and I write.

Eileen Younghusband

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Last month Eileen attended the 72nd annual Battle of Britain Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey. Upon her arrival, Eileen was greeted and saluted by a guard of honour and her walk into the Abbey was framed by lines of RAF officers. She was then escorted to her reserved seat by current members of the RAF. She was seated with fellow veterans of the RADAR and Filter Room and next to fellow author Patricia Robbins (also known as, Claire Lorrimer). A number of pilots from the Battle of Britain and their families were also in attendance. The service was instigated in 1943 and originally held in St Paul’s Cathedral until the Battle of Britain Memorial Window was unveiled in the Abbey by King George VI in 1947.

The Chaplin in Chief, Raymond Pentland, gave the sermon, making reference to plotters and other members of the Dowding system that served in the Battle of Britain. The veterans were also honoured by the presence of royalty – the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Eileen really enjoyed the day and valued the opportunity to view the commemorative window at such a prestigious event. 

Hayley Cox

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Eileen has opened the first memorial window commemorating the Dowding system and the work of the Top Secret Filter Rooms.

After an introduction by Air Commodore Gordon, the window was unveiled by Eileen, which represents the WAAF airwomen and Officers who worked on the Dowding system’s use of Radar. Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge then explained the pivotal role played by the system and especially the Filter Room during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

Eileen was thrilled to be involved. Her book One Woman's War helped to make the public more aware of the importance of the Dowding System and is partially responsible for the creation of the window. She said: “Together with a fellow WAAF Officer I helped with the design of the window. This took me back to those dark days of war. As I removed the Union flag covering the brass plaque with my name on it, I thought of all who had worked with me and I admit there were tears in my eyes.”

The work of the Filter Room women was kept secret for thirty years. Eileen's book One Woman’s War reveals the truth about these forgotten wartime women, and has recently been nominated for The People's Book Prize. Winston Churchill stressed the little-known importance of this work. He is famous for saying: “All the ascendancy of the Hurricanes and Spitfires would have been fruitless but for the system known as the Dowding System.”

A documentary about Eileen's experiences will be shown on ITV Wales in early November.

Eileen is currently moving forward with her next title, Men I have Known, about the men she has met throughout her life, ranging from Winston Churchill to Dylan Thomas and the tyrant, Idi Amin. It is due to be published by Candy Jar Books later this year.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


The cast of the ITV1 series, The Bletchley Circle
Here’s a review about 'The Bletchley Circle' by Jacob Rudge at Candy Jar. The views are not necessarily mine, but he seems to have liked the programme.

Filterers, plotters, translators, V2 rocket hunters; the women of World War II provided vital services to help secure an Allied victory – with their achievements being often overlooked. However, to set the record straight ITV has launched a brand new drama, ‘The Bletchley Circle’.

Set in the post-war Britain of 1952, ‘The Bletchley Circle’ follows former code-breakers Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean once they have adjusted to the normality of peacetime. After using her code-breaking skills, and practically shortening the war single-handedly, it’s not surprising that Susan is finding civilian life a bit tiresome, but when a serial killer turns up everything changes. Shunned by the police, Susan quickly realises that the only way to crack the murders, and catch the killer, is to reunite with her former friends.

With the set-up established it was worrying to see that ‘The Bletchley Circle’ came close to falling into a clich├ęd trap – each of the other women possessing a particular skill – but the well-formed cast and some unexpected 50s noir flourishes helped to lift an interesting idea above the mundane and predictable.

Despite any issues to be had with the production itself, it truly is wonderful to see the women in the limelight during such an historic time, and in strong roles, that prove they are as good as – if not better than – the men. If the series can maintain its intelligence and the exciting chemistry between its four leads, there is no doubt that these new sleuths could be around for a while.

The next episode will be broadcast on ITV1 at 9pm on Thursday. To watch the programme for the next 7 days click here.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Candy Jar Books is proud to announce that two of its books have been nominated for a People's Book Prize!

Founded by best-selling author Dame Beryl Bainbridge, The People's Book Prize is a national competition aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works: a truly democratic book prize with no panel of judges but decided exclusively by the public.
One Woman's War by Eileen Younghusband has been nominated in the Non-Fiction category and Kangazang! Star Stuff by Terry Cooper has been nominated in the Fiction category.

We need your votes! Please visit the People's Book Prize website to vote for Candy Jar's books:

Vote for One Woman's War
Vote for Kangazang! Star Stuff

Candy Jar Books

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Eileen will be appearing at (or attending) these venues in the next few months:

September 12th
The Official Opening of the Battle of Britain Memorial Museum in Bentley Priory, the Wartime HQ of Fighter Command, under Air Chief Marshal Dowding, where she once served, to be opened by a member of the Royal family and where Pat Robins, the writer, and Eileen will be demonstrating how they worked in the Filter Room tracking the aircraft picked up by Radar and identifying them as friend or foe, in order to initiate fighter interception. 

August 3rd - 4th 
Eileen will be spending two days at Llancalach Fawr, the Manor House. This is a World War II reenactment weekend (where Hugh Turnbull is acting as commentator). Eileen is giving a talk each day on the Filter Room and will also be available for people to talk with her.

September 15th
Special service for the RAF at St. Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate the Battle of Britain

September 26th
Talk in Barry to All Saint’s Mothers! Union on the Filter room

October 3rd
Talk on Education during my Life – Teaching and Learning for the Retired Head Teachers Association in a Cardiff Hotel

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Copyright Wendy Gray 2012
Last weekend, Eileen adopted the true celebrity lifestyle, when she flew in the front seat of a private six-seater Bonanza aircraft. This US aircraft transported her to RAF Duxford to for a Top Secret meeting.

Eileen was told she would be flown by plane and that something special would happen on her return. Eileen said: “I’ve never had such an exhilarating weekend. It was originally planned that I would be transported by helicopter, but instead I sat in the co-pilot’s seat. I had to shuffle on my bottom along the wing, to reach the seat, and once settled, was told not to touch anything. In front of me were a multitude of dials and a control stick to direct the aircraft. I relaxed and enjoyed the view of the glorious countryside around me.

The fabulous weather brought out a lot of air-traffic, and the pilot had to check into Air Traffic Control in Cardiff, then Gloucester as well as several other places along our journey to report our height and position and to be of approaching aircraft.”

After the secret meeting in Duxford Eileen returned to Cardiff via the same aircraft. Just as they were preparing to leave, the pilot asked Air Traffic Control: “What is the schedule?” The reply came: “Port side three minutes.” The pilot turned to Eileen and said: “Look out of the window, we have organised a surprise for me.” To her great joy, there was a Spitfire alongside with the cockpit open! She said: “We were escorted for about twenty miles by this iconic plane. It was a wonderful sight. We were flying side by side. Just as his journey was finishing, and he was returning to base, he waved at me; through the cockpit and performed a Victory Roll. That was an incredible thing to witness. It brought me right back to the days of the Blitz. I have memories of this being performed, as a celebration displayed when a German aircraft had been shot down. The whole day was very much breathtaking, and something I really wasn’t expecting at ninety-one-years-old!”

Written by Rebecca Jenkins

Friday, 1 June 2012


With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on the horizon Sully resident Eileen Younghusband had a real surprise when she recently opened her post.

Whilst sifting through the usual assortment of bills, Eileen was surprised to see not one, but two envelopes bearing the Royal seal. The letters were in response to correspondence sent by Eileen, who had posted a copy of her book, One Woman’s War to both Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Charles. Eileen, who is 91 in July, was extremely proud to receive the letters. She said: “At such a busy time for the Royal Family I feel quite humble that they had time to write to me.”

Eileen, who is former a WAAF Officer, was five when Her Majesty was born. She has followed the Queen’s progress with great interest, especially when Her Majesty joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the female branch of the Army, in 1942.

Eileen still has vivid memories of the Coronation in 1953 and the Silver Jubilee in 1977. She said: “On the day of the Coronation I was at the Winter Gardens in Ventor, Isle of Wight. It was fantastic to see the young princess from the ATS ascend to greatness. During the Silver Jubilee we were in California, but watched it on US television. The Americans have always been Pro Royal and so the news channels were going mad over it. We drank a toast with fellow UK nationals and I erected a large Union Flag at the front of our house.”

During the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Eileen had moved to Wales for the festivities. This particular celebration holds a special place in Eileen’s heart as, having lost her husband. Eileen was alone and in a new community. Her new neighbours invited her to a Jubilee party and it was through the celebration of Her Majesty’s reign that Eileen felt welcomed and secure in her new environment.

This time around Eileen will be celebrating Her Majesty’s 60-year reign in a more significant way. Over 4000 beacons are to be lit on Monday 4th June. This will take place throughout the UK, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man along with the Commonwealth and UK Overseas Territories. One of these beacons will be lit in the small village of Sully where Eileen now resides. She said: “We have been granted a special honour. Having the letters, the lighting of the beacon and the Jubilee so close to my 91st birthday makes it all the more wonderful.”

In a recent YouTube message Eileen sent her best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen. She said: “Your Majesty, may I send you my personal thanks for the years of service you have rendered to our country. I hope you enjoy every glorious moment of the celebration of your Diamond Jubilee.”

Eileen’s book ‘One Woman’s War’ is available now from One Woman's War

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I was deeply saddened to hear the news that Maurice Sendak died yesterday aged 83.
In 1982 whilst working as a Catering Adviser at Glyndebourne Opera, I had the pleasure of meeting him each lunchtime during the rehearsals for Prokoviev’s L’Amour de Trois Oranges” – The Love of Three Oranges. The producer was Frank Corsaro but the set designs were done by Maurice. They were fantastic. This was a different side to his great talents.
He was a charming man and I had many amusing talks with him. It was obvious how popular he was with everyone.  His children's story “Where the Wild Ones Are” is a classic.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Candy Jar has joined forces with Fairwater Library to celebrate ‘World Book Night’ on 23rd April with a special author signing at Fairwater Library. The event, which features two of Candy Jar’s top authors, Eileen Younghusband and Barbara Pontin, is expected to be popular with local residents.

First to appear will be former WAAF, Eileen Younghusband, who has written her memoirs of WW2, entitled One Woman’s War.

The book reveals the truth about the forgotten wartime women, barely out of their teens, who were employed for this critical job because they were quicker than men. It also has contributions from Dame Vera Lynn and Emma Soames. Emma Soames, who is Winston Churchill’s granddaughter and editor-at-large at Saga Magazine, believes that this story must be heard. She says: “It is excellent to be reminded what a great debt we owe to this group of brave, dedicated young women who, in a highly charged and stressful situation, where time was of the essence, did so much to save our country from destruction.

Now in her 91st year, Eileen has appeared on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Breakfast, and has contributed to a documentary series "WW2: The Last Heroes”. She has also been in talks with a production company about turning aspects of her life into a drama series.

For 83-year-old Barbara Pontin it is almost like coming home. She worked in the Fairwater Library for twenty years and is excited to be returning as a published author. Barbara began writing her book, Merlys, in her early forties. She says: “With a family to look after it became increasingly difficult to devote my time to the book, and although I did have some interest from Hollywood, I put the manuscript away and forgot about it.”

Early in 2011 Barbara came across the 40-year-old manuscript and decided to breathe new life into the 18th century story of murder, anguish and love across the Welsh valleys. She continues: “I wanted my story to reach as many people as possible, so I contacted Candy Jar Books in Cardiff. They were very supportive, but did encourage me to start the book with a shock. I don’t think they expected it to be so blood-curdling though.”

Barbara is quietly pleased by the reaction to the pre-release of Merlys. Mischievously she says: “My friends have been very shocked by this book. They didn’t know that I had it in me. Most thought butter would not melt in my mouth. It has been fun to prove them wrong!”

Shaun Russell, director at Candy Jar Books, is very proud of Eileen and Barbara. He says: “At Candy Jar we like to support new talent. Barbara Pontin’s Merlys is quite a brave book. It takes romantic fiction into a slightly gruesome world of wreckers and highwaymen. On the other hand, Eileen Younghusband’s One Woman’s War describes WW2 in considerable detail. It is an important account of women’s contribution to the Allied victory in 1945. Eileen's story is an inspiration to us all.”
Eileen Younghusband will be at Fairwater Library between 11am-1pm, with Barbara Pontin there between 2pm- 4pm.

One Woman's War is out now. Merlys is available in August.


The BBC is hoping to make a documentary about the work of the Filter Room part of Fighter Command, during World War II. They already have some excellent potential interviewees and archive footage. However they need some help finding the programme's presenter.

As such, they are looking for a well-known woman with a mother or grandmother in the WAAF. Are you an actor, presenter or journalist with such a background?

Or are you a WAAF veteran who has a famous relation in the media. If you can help please contact Dina Mufti on 02920322143 or 07976 599212

Monday, 16 April 2012


Recently a V2 rocket used during the Second World War was discovered in Harwich Harbour, Essex. A local sailing club spotted what looked like the tail of a rocket breaking the service of the water. Once the police had been informed a team of Royal Navy divers were called to the scene to investigate, as well as the Bomb Disposal Squad. WW2 veteran, Eileen Younghusband, knows all too well about the dangers of the V2 rockets. She served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and was tasked with detecting and tracking enemy planes and the V2 rockets in the wartime Filter Rooms.

90-year-old Eileen, who was the first person to track a V2 rocket, feels the location of the discovered V2 is quite interesting. She said: “It’s all very strange. It’s not where I would have expected it to be. The V2s were designed to travel great distances. If they were launched from Pas-de-Calais they were aimed at London, from Rotterdam they were aimed at Antwerp. This one must have been faulty.”

She continues: “These weapons were so different from the bombing of the Blitz when people could see and hear the aircraft and recognise that our fighters were up there retaliating. The V2s were something else. If you heard one, the chances are you were going to die."

Eileen’s book, ‘One Woman’s War’, which details her time in the Filter Room, is available now from www.onewomanswar.co.uk.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Candy Jar is pleased to announce the forthcoming DVD, based on the critically acclaimed memoir One Woman's War by Eileen Younghusband.
Eileen Younghusband (90) was just 18 when she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She quickly demonstrated her keen intellect and mathematical skills, playing a crucial role in Fighter Command’s underground Filter Room.

Working grueling shifts under enormous pressure she and her companions worked tirelessly, tracking the swarms of enemy aircraft that sought to break the British resolve. She even had the dubious honour of detecting the first of Hitler’s devastating V2 rockets as it fell on an unsuspecting London.

In 2011, Candy Jar Books published Eileen's memoir to critical and commercial success.

Now, this DVD goes beyond the book and delves deeper into Eileen's wartime experiences as she gives a frank and revealing interview about her experiences leading up to and during the Second World War.
Running Time: Approx. 60mins

Format: PAL, Widescreen (16:9)

Classification: Exempt

The One Woman's War DVD will be available this spring. To pre-order your copy of the DVD, please go here. Any orders made prior to release with benefit from priority dispatch.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Candy Jar is proud to announce that Eileen's first book, Not An Ordinary Life, is now available via Kindle.
Eileen Younghusband Not an ordinary life
From London suburbs to French au pair, city clerk to secret War Room, V2 detection to VE-Day, concentration camp guide to language teacher, pig breeder to busy hotelier and scrap metal Queen—then bachelor’s degree in her eighty-seventh year! This autobiographical book tells of how changing times brought historical events into the life of an extraordinary woman.

Since this book was first released in 2009, Eileen has gone on to write 'One Woman's War', a critically acclaimed account of her time serving in the WAAF in World War Two. For this electronic version, she has brought her life story up to date by adding a new chapter, writing about her experiences of becoming a celebrity author at the age of 90!

You can buy the Kindle version of Not An Ordinary Life here.

Candy Jar Books
One Woman's War

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


I have just had a fantastic experience. Richard Pepper the creator of Photographic Memory  a personal lifestory portrait  contacted me some weeks ago. After seeing me on the BBC Breakfast programme he asked if he could use my life as the subject for a portrait to be used at a special event.
The BBC were holding an exhibition at Olympia under the heading “Who do you think you are?”
He had booked a stand to launch his new project and my portrait was to be the centrepiece. He visited me several times, taking famly documents to use as a backcloth and superimposing photos illustrating family, career, history and background.
He has presented me with a framed replica  the result touched my heart. It is a wonderful way to commemorate what is important and touching in everyone’s life. You should commemorate your family in such a way.


Monday, 9 January 2012


Looking forward to a new set of adventures in 2012 - already I have heard from the Association of Flight Controllers, the current name for Officers doing the work of Filterers in WW2 that I have been made an Honorary Member. I am thrilled with this honour and look forward to meeting modern day practioners of the art of calculating and vectoring ai craft. I am also ecstatic to learn that the proposed museum at Bentley Priory, the headquarters of Fighteer Command and the air defence of Great Britain in WW2, is not only going to recreate the Filter Room as used in the 1940s but there is a proposal to create a memorial window to the WAAF who served in Radar, Ops Rooms and Filter Rooms. This means we have to raise up to £10,000 for its preparation but I know we will do it. Any ex-Filter Room personnel who read this blog are welcome to contact me at le.croissette@virgin.net if they are willing to support us.

It is time that the vital work behind the scenes done by members of the WAAF was recognised.


Thursday, 5 January 2012


You can now read the Kindle version of One Woman's War. Available from the Kindle store, you can instantly purchase and download them and start reading right away! So, if you've missed the Christmas post, or have just treated yourself to Amazon's latest eReader, why not give them a try?

These books are also available in all other eBook formats, including Kobo and iBooks (accessible from your iPad or iPhone).