Gladys was born in the Industrial north of England in an area of Pits and Factories.  After leaving school, she had several jobs and in 1941 was working in the office of a Shirt Factory in Poolstock near Wigan.  She got engaged in December 1941 and was called up early in 1942.

Gladys joined the WAAF because she liked the uniform and the colour matched her eyes. She did her training at Bridgnorth, typing and office work in the Registry and Orderly Room. She enjoyed the war, her chance to get away from the Northern towns and she met and made good friends with men and women she would not have met in the normal run of things.  Her closest friends were a wealthy Jewish girl from London, Pip, and a young woman from Maidstone in Kent called Flo who was a plotter for the RAF. Gladys went to stay with their families during and after the war.

Gladys was stationed at many bases during the war including Blackpool, Cheltenham and RAF Halton, and when travelling anywhere across England with her children after the war, always said 'I was stationed here in the war', so much so it became a family joke. It was certainly not unusual for young women from poorer backgrounds to enjoy life in the War; it was their chance to escape and mix with others.  Gladys's younger sister joined the ATS, lying about her age as she was only 17, and Gladys says she probably had an even better time as she didn't have a fiancé to consider.

Gladys didn't see her fiancé, Ken Richardson, for 4 years from May 1942 as he was fighting abroad with the 46th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment.  Fortunately, he returned in one piece despite suffering from recurrent Malaria.  Gladys has a daughter (Susan Moores), who lives in Burton Bradstock, and a son.  Gladys and husband Ken moved from Wigan, and a home they had lived in for 52 years, to live in Burton Bradstock in 2008.

Gladys Richardson

Compiled by Susan Moores - May 2015

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