Eileen Younghusband - One Woman's War (Second World War memoirs of the Filter Room)





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Published on Mar 2, 2011


Candy Jar Books is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of Eileen Younghusband's One Woman's War - a fascinating insight into life in the WAAF during the Second World War.

In 1940, Winston Churchill made one of his most stirring speeches. In his address, given in Parliament, he praised the Battle of Britain aircrews and immortalised them as "The Few". Alongside them was another group -- even fewer and mostly women -- whose work was too secret to acknowledge. These were the young women in the Filter Room, calculating the targets of the Luftwaffe's bombing fleets from information supplied by Britain's pioneering Radar network.

The book reveals the truth about these forgotten wartime women, barely out of their teens, who were employed for this critical job because they were quicker than men. They were given an awesome responsibility, working against the clock, knowing that their cool head and proficiency at maths could make the difference between a bomber being shot down in flames or getting through to drop its deadly cargo on a British city.

The book also has contributions from Dame Vera Lynn and Emma Soames. Emma Soames, who is Winston Churchill's granddaughter and editor-at-large at Saga Magazine, believes that this story must be heard. She says: "It is excellent to be reminded what a great debt we owe to this group of brave, dedicated young women who, in a highly charged and stressful situation, where time was of the essence, did so much to save our country from destruction.

"One Woman's War adds to the war archive that becomes increasingly important as the participants in the 1939-45 war gradually age and pass away, many of them taking their memories with them. As well as producing this readable account of her years in uniform, Eileen Younghusband has brought an extraordinary period and a previously unrecorded part of our air defences to life."

Eileen, who lives at Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan, is dismayed that despite the acres of newsprint and hours of television coverage devoted to the Battle of Britain, the vital role of the Filter Room has often been ignored. The work of the Filter Room was top secret. It collated information from Britain's primitive radar network and calculated where the German bomber fleets were heading.

She says: "Our calculations not only told the pilots in their Spitfires and Hurricanes where to find the enemy. We also determined where air raid warnings would be sounded and where rescue boats would be sent to pick up downed Allied airmen. Truly these were life and death decisions."

On the map table in the Filter Room, Eileen saw the invasion fleet heading for the Normandy beaches on D-Day; she received the coded warning of the first V2 rocket as it approached London, and later was one of a handful of WAAF sent to hunt the V2 launchers in Belgium. Alongside this were encounters with celebrities like film star Rex Harrison and comedian Kenneth Horne, together with a personal story of love and loss to match any work of fiction.

One Woman's War follows Eileen from 1938 onwards. As a teenager visiting pre-war France and Germany, Eileen had the first intimation of the horrors to come. She continues: "I caught glimpses of the sinister side of the Nazi regime. Every shop in the busy centre of Bonn had a framed photo of Hitler in the window.

"Following the Germans' "Heil Hitler" salute, on one occasion two of us went into a greengrocers, gave a smart British Army salute and said: 'God save the King and a kilo of plums please,' in our accented German. The shopkeeper did not think it was funny at all; in fact he looked frightened and glanced around him to see if anyone had noticed."

Journalist Hugh Turnbull, who made a BBC radio programme about Eileen, persuaded her to write this memoir. He says: "Eileen Younghusband is the most remarkable woman I've met in more than forty years in journalism. Her memory is so sharp and her writing so vivid. Anyone who wants to know what World War Two was really like for a woman in uniform could not do better than read One Woman's War."

One Woman's War by Eileen Younghusband is published by Candy Jar Books, priced £15.99. It is available from http://www.onewomanswar.co.uk.


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