My Aunt Mary - RAF Auditor
This RAF story is about my Aunt Mary.
Dorothy MaryFeather, was known as Mary to her family (and “Feather” or “Dotty
May” to the RAF). She was the youngest of nine children of an inner
city Birmingham family. All her older siblings worked from 13 or so,
she was only one to stay at school and she passed, at 17, the Civil
Service exam as clerical assistant grade 1, announced in September
1938. Unmarried, she was called up in 1939 at 18 as a civilian into
the RAF and left the family home.
The rest of herwartime story is pieced together from what she told her many nieces
and nephews, I knew her from my birth until she died in her 90s.
In training sherecalled being with many other young ladies hearing one lady shouting
enthusiastically “Men!” - outside there were many parachutes
descending, the ladies ran out eager to see many young men dropping
from the sky.
She soon became acivilian auditor with honorary Officer rank so stayed in the Officers
Mess. Often, she said, after arriving, often unannounced the
Officers were keen to entertain her to delay the audit, saying her
work could wait but even in early 20s she was not distracted, finding
out the murky goings on for her audit reports. She went from air base
to air base for the rest of the war, no home to go back to because
the City Road house was reallocated and the family dispersed, but she
still had constant family contact right up to her death.
She told how she hadto draft the sad letters for the commanding officer to send to the
loved ones of pilots and others killed in action or killed in the
many accidents in wartime.
While she wastravelling by train from Glasgow to the south she was sitting down to
a meal with real meat in it (how Officers travel!) when the train was
stopped and evacuated for an air raid. Returning to her seat
afterwards the meat was gone. She told us that was a lesson for us
children, don’t leave the best part of a meal till last.
After the war shehad a successful senior career in the Civil Service and eventually
married late in life. She suggested that instead of waiting until her
funeral for all her relatives to meet together they should have an
annual get together. This has happened ever year since as “Feather
Day” for 40 years continuing even after she died, the latests on
was on Zoom this year.
In the care homenear the end of her life one of the staff asked her what she did in
the RAF. She replied “I can’t possibly tell you” - so we may
never know the whole story.
Hope you areinterested in the story of my Aunt Mary, she was one of the clever,
funny and interesting people in my life, even if she could be
Alec Dodd, one ofher sister’s sons.
*Attached is a cartoon drawn during the war of her at an air base.
*(I failed to attach the photo, it would not drop on to you web site, where can i send it?)
Alec Dodd, 017738561680,
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