This is a recorded interview made by the Imperial War Museum with WAAF Edith Kup. It is particularly moving in its description of her as a Plotter listening to her fiancé, the very young Dennis Wissler, in action as a fighter pilot and hearing his voice as he was being shot down. Her worst fears were realized when she learned shortly afterwards he had been killed.
Edith was a British aircraftwoman who served at RAF
Debden 1939-1941. She was later an Intelligence officer with 405 Squadron, RAF and with
Headquarters, 92 Group, RAF in 1941-1945.
Summary of Interview
The interview gives her background in 1918-1939 including her family and education; declaration of Second
World War, 9/1939. Aspects of enlistment and training with Women's
Auxiliary Air Force in GB, 1939: enlistment in Women's Auxiliary Air
Force, 9/1939; training at RAF Yeadon; relations between WAAFs.
Recollections of period as officer at RAF Debden, GB, 11/1939-1941:
journey to station and first impressions; training as Motor Transport
driver; attitude of male personnel towards WAAFs; social life; training
to be a radar plotter; plotting duties; duties at time of Dunkirk,
6/1940; memories of pilots, Harold Bird-Wilson and Peter Townsend;
increase of work during Battle of Britain; listening to voices of pilots
during combat; air raid on RAF Debden.
Belief that GB
would win Battle of Britain; memories of fiancé Dennis Wissler; death
of fiancé in action 11/1940; other WAAFs who lost fiancés; bombing of
house; discipline; reaction of WAAFs to bombing raids; attitude towards
pilot charged with Lack of Moral Fibre; returning to Motor Transport
duties. Aspects of officers training at Loughborough, GB, autumn 1941.
Recollections of period to Sqdn 405, RAF at RAF Poklington, GB, 10/1941:
operations duties; condition of crews on return from ops; story of
pilot who fired gun at his CO.
Pilot who fired at
commanding officer; flying with air crews against the rules; attempts of
air crew to make her air sick; WAAFs that went on ops against the
rules; contrast between fighter and bomber pilots; position as 'Queen of
Navigators'. Aspects of period as intelligence officer with
Headquarters 92 Group, RAF in GB, 1943-1944: posting to RAF Bourne, near
Cambridge: story of visiting a medium who gave her details of Dennis'
death; duties debriefing Mosquito Oboe air crew; memories of D-Day,
6/1944; behaviour of US airmen in Cambridge; opinion of US airmen;
reprimanding two US airmen who behaved badly in mess; memories of VE