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Members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) worked on air stations belonging to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) during WWI.
A decision to merge both RFC and RNAS to form the RAF raised concerns about the loss of their specialised female workforce which is where this need to separate women’s air service led to the birth of WRAF on 1 April 1918.
1918: The WRAF was formed and Miss Sylvia Hodkinson became the first WRAF recruit.
Women were employed in many roles in the WRAF.
1920: The WRAF was disbanded. Between the date of its formation on 1 April 1918 and its disbandment, 32,000 women had served in the ranks of the WRAF.
1949: The Women’s Royal Air Force (Air Comdt Felicity Hanbury) was established, replacing the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and marking the formal creation of women’s branches within, rather than as an adjunct to, the RAF.
Sisters of the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS) were granted commissions.
1963: The first WRAF to be formally enrolled as aircrew received their quartermasters flying badge in 1963.
1968: Did you know it was only until 1968 that WRAF officers assumed RAF ranks?
1994: The WRAF was disbanded upon merger with Royal Air Forces. Marking two separate incarnations, from 1918 to 1920 and from 1949 to 1994.
1994: Flt Lt Jo Salter became RAF’s first female fast jet pilot, flying Tornado GR1Bs operationally with No.617 Squadron
1994: Flt Lt Michelle Goodman became the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
2009: Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore appointed first female pilot to serve with the Red Arrows. She has flew with the team from 2010 to 2012, including the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony of 2012.
Joining the WRAF Branch
Select the WRAF Branch when prompted. The branch list is ordered alphabetically and so WRAF is at the bottom of the list.
If you are already a member of the RAF Association but would like to transfer to the WRAF branch, please contact the membership team.
You can keep up to date with the WRAF Branch activities on Facebook.
If you require support from the WRAF Branch please contact them here.