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WAAF trio decorated for Battle of Britain bravery

Three women were recognised for their courageous conduct in the aftermath of a deadly air raid during the Battle of Britain.

RAF Biggin Hill was one of the targets in the attack which took place 75 years ago today, killing 39 people at the station. Sergeant Joan Mortimer, Flight Officer Elspeth Green and Sergeant Helen Turner were working as teleprinter operators when the Luftwaffe began their attack.

WAAF personnel

The following day they returned to work as further bombing raids began. Elspeth remained at her post keeping in touch with Fighter Command at Uxbridge, despite being knocked to the ground when the operations room she was working in took a direct hit.

Switchboard operator Helen also continued to work even as the building was hit repeatedly.

The two women finally escaped to safety when a fire broke out and they were ordered to abandon their posts.

Joan Mortimer had been working in the armoury, at the telephone switchboard, when the bombing began.

She continued to relay messages throughout the raid. Then she rushed outside to mark the unexploded bombs with red flags, carrying on as bombs went off nearby.

The women were each awarded the Military Medal for remaining 'cool, calm and collected', representing half of all Military Medals presented to WAAFs throughout the Second World War.

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