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Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes

    If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.

    Those known to have served with

    Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    • Baxter Albert Thomas. PO.
    • Bunt Eveline.
    • Davey Margaret M.. (d.14th Feb 1946)
    • Hughes John Nursall. Pte.
    • Leemans Margaret. Mngr.
    • Mulligan Joseph . Canteen manger (d.10th APR 1940)
    • Singleton Geoffrey William. Sgt.
    • Wildgoose Dorothy.
    • Woodrow Kathleen.

    The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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    Did you know? We also have a section on The Great War. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.

    Kathleen Woodrow

    Please could anyone tell me how to go about finding information on the NAAFI? (The Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) My sister, Kathleen Woodrow, was in the NAAFI and stationed at Egmere in Norfolk. She was born in 1926 and died in 1946 from cancer. I don't know any dates as to when she started work there or when she left, but I would have thought it to be around 1940 which would make her about 15 years of age. I hope you can help me or give me information as to where I can find this information. Thank you for any help you can give me.

    Jennifer Lee

    Pte. John Nursall Hughes EFI ( NAAFI ) Royal Army Service Corps

    I am the son of the above man. I believe that he was a Clerk working for the NAAFI in Liverpool prior to the outbreak of the war. NAAFI needed staff to go overseas, so to enable them to be in uniform, they were asked to volunteer. They were attached to the Royal Army Service Corpsin an organisation called Expeditionary Forces Institute, EFI. He was in France in 1940 and was evacuated through St. Nazaire on 17th June 1940. He told me that he was waiting on the quayside, awaiting embarkation. I believe that he was waiting on the quay when the Lancastria was sunk. He was evacuated to Falmouth. and was married on 23rd June 1940 I would be interested in contacting other RASC/EFI families or St.Nazaire survivors. Additionally, Our Family later new and lived close to James Dunbar O.B.E. Chief Engineer of HMT Lancastria on 17 June 1940, and who I believe was awarded his OBE for his role that day.

    Colin Hughes

    Canteen manger Joseph Mulligan H.M.S Hunter (d.10th APR 1940)

    My uncle was on board H.M.S Hunter, when it sunk on the 10th April 1940. His name was Joe Mulligan. He was a canteen assistant and just 21 years old. If anyone remembers him or knows anything about him I would love to know.

    Vince Mulligan

    Sgt. Geoffrey William Singleton Navy Army & Air Force Institutes

    My father, Geoffrey Singleton, aged 25, was in the NAAFI with the British Expeditionary Forces when they were returning to the UK in June 1940. Together with thousands of others he joined the ship "RMS Lancastria" which was heavily laden. It left port and he went up on deck to get a cup of tea, this probably saved his life as the ship came under heavy bombardment and sank with thousands of lost lives. He was able to jump into the sea and swim for his life, eventually being picked up by a French fishing vessel and then was brought back to the UK on the "The John Holt". He lost many friends and saw many terrible atrocities. My mother's uncle saw him on the quay and then they became separated. He returned on a different ship and watched "The Lancastria" sink. When he arrived back in the UK he had no idea if my Dad had survived or not. I imagine that my father is now one of the oldest survivors of this tragedy being in his 96th year.

    Diane Clarke

    Eveline Bunt

    My Mum, Eveline Bunt joined the Women's Royal Air Force in September 1941 not long after she had married my Dad, Claude, who was serving in the RAF, they had met at RAF Netheravon where she had been working in the NAAFI. After training she was posted to RAF Andover as account's clerk, whilst at Andover the station was badly bombed and she was posted to Cranwell to train as a teleprinter operator eventually posted to RAF Madley, Hereford.

    Philip Bunt

    PO. Albert Thomas Baxter HMS Aurora

    My father, Albert Thomas Baxter, like many other servicemen never spoke a lot about his wartime experiences. The only important ones being: Serving as a stoker on the corvette HMS Jason as convoy escort when HMS Curacao was cut in two by RMS Queen Mary in the North Atlantic.

    When in the Naafi at Plymouth Dockyard, the Naafi received a direct hit from an enemy bomb. My father was dug out of the debris some time later with his best mate from under a snooker table, where his mate had the presence of mind to drag him. He always said that several servicemen were still sitting around the walls but dead.

    His only other experience was whilst on board HMS Aurora they were in action off the island of Kos in the Aegean Sea. Several crew members being killed in this action, but he survived when at his station in the machinery room when an enemy bomb came through the deckhead damaging a propeller shaft and exiting through the ships side without detonating. He served on HMS Aurora from mid 1942 until she returned to Portsmouth in the summer of 1946, I remember the children's party on board in Portsmouth Dockyard with awnings rigged on the aft deck. By the way I am still in possession of his 'Crossing the Line' certificate from HMS Aurora complete with the signatures of Captain W G Agnew and the actor Kenneth More

    Peter Baxter

    Margaret M. Davey (d.14th Feb 1946)

    Margaret M Coyne, nee Davey, worked for NAAFI, ENSA in Belgium 1945/46. She died and was buried there following an operation. She sent home postcards which include the following: 43 ENSA Hostel, HCS, BAOR; Sealed Field Post Office, R143/HCS, BLA; and HQ/HCS BLA. Her nephew Charlie Holmes would like to hear from anyone who might have known Margaret, in particular anyone who could tell him where she worked and where she was laid to rest. He very much wishes to pay his respects at her grave.


    I mentioned your posting to someone who knows more about The Commonwealth War Graves Commission than I do. This is what he discovered: "Mrs Margaret Mary Coyne-Davey, NAAFI Died 14.02.46, buried Brussels Town Cemetery Grave No. 10.24.13. 'Non-World War Dead in CWGC Care' and is buried in one of their plots." (Stuart Brown)

    Marion Stewart

    Recomended Reading.

    Available at discounted prices.

    British Women's Uniforms in Colour Photographs (World War 2)

    Martin Brayley & Richard Ingham

    This reference book contains the uniforms of the women's services during World War II. Nearly 200 colour photographs of rare, original uniforms from private collections are featured with detailed explanatory text. This really is an extraordinarily good book if you're looking for details of women's uniforms from the WWII period. Every page has a large, clear photograph of a uniform (worn by a modern model, but with 40s styling), plus detail shots of shoes, insignia, berets and so on.

    The 1940s Look: Recreating the Fashions, Hairstyles and Make-up of the Second World War

    Mike Brown

    "The 1940s Look" tells you everything you need to know about the fashions of wartime Britain and the impact that rationing, the Utility scheme, changing tastes and the demands of everyday life had on the styles people wore. People had to 'Make Do and Mend' - with varying degrees of ingenuity and success. Hair styles, glasses, jewellery, and tattoos were essential in creating your own fashion statement. Women's magazines advised readers on the difficulties of dressing growing children, offered instructions for making clothes and accessories, and hosted debate over whether by dressing up, women were helping or hindering the war effort. Thoroughly researched and lavishly illustrated, "The 1940s Look" tells you how civilian men, women and children dressed - and why they looked the way they did during the Second World War. It draws on contemporary sources including government advice, periodicals and books, and benefits from an entertaining narrative by author Mike Brown.

    Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

    Dr Juliet Gardiner

    Juliet Gardiner's 'Wartime' provides a marvellously rich, and often entertaining, recreation of life on the Home Front, 1939-45, drawing on an enormous range of oral testimony and memoir.
    More information on:

    Wartime: Britain 1939-1945


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