Wartime Wednesday: Ack-Ack Girls
The crews were mixed-gender squads, with one woman acting as a spotter
(using binoculars to find enemy planes), two women were range-finders (using a large piece of equipment to calculate the distance a shell would have to travel to hit the target), and predictors (working out the length of the fuse necessary to make sure the shell exploded at the right height). Once trained, the entire process only took a few seconds. Because of a royal proclamation forbidding women to fire the weapons, men handled that task – the thought being “life-givers” shouldn’t be expected to be “life takers.” Given the rank of gunner, the women were attached to the Royal Artillery.
Women were subjected to the same intensive training and were selected through a rigorous testing
|Courtesy of Imperial|
Conditions were dangerous and many crews lost their lives (nearly 400 Ack Ack girls were killed in just three months during the early days of the program.) There is a memorial to the women of the Ack Ack Command in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
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