A 98-YEAR-OLD woman has opened up about her time in the WAAF at RAF Medmenham during the Second World War.

Sybil Piper, 98, from Aldershot, served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in the Second World War.

Sybil joined the WAAF at the age of 19 and began work as a special duties clerk at RAF Medmenham – which is renowned for its role in aerial reconnaissance, where experts analysed and interpreted aerial photographs to gather crucial intelligence on enemy movements.

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Sybil explained: "We specialised in photographic intelligence at Medmenham, so it was all top secret and very demanding, an exacting job.

"It was my role to coordinate maps for the plotters, we had to work together, but it was like stepping into another world, the discipline and demands of it. But it stood me in good stead for the rest of my life."

Basingstoke Gazette: Sybil Piper, 98, from AldershotSybil Piper, 98, from Aldershot (Image: Ollie Dixon)

Sybil felt the sudden change at the job after VE Day.

She said: "Times were different. I shouldn’t say this, but in wartime, we were there for a purpose.

"When it ended, we wondered what would happen. We won the war, then suddenly it was all over. So [in] peacetime I found different. It was more relaxed. Where once we used to be flying every hour of every day, now that wasn’t the case."

Sybil moved to RAF Odiham where she continued clerical work until 1947.

She was allowed to fly in an aircraft of her choice as a treat. She said: "I chose the Spitfire, obviously, and went up around Hampshire with one of the flying aces – it was fantastic."

Sybil married her husband James three years later and pursued a new career in education.

Since the passing of her husband 15 years ago, Sybil has been supported by the Fund, finding friendship and camaraderie in the RAF Family once more, 77 years since she left the Women’s Air Force.

Speaking about the support of the Fund, Sybil said: "The community engagement team do such important work and make sure you’re not forgotten.

"What the Fund gives you, more than anything, is a sense of security. And at our age, that’s important."

The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, mental health support, Airplay youth clubs, and more.