Eileen Le Croissette was born in London in 1921. She joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in 1941 at the age of 19, and was trained at RAF Innsworth, near Gloucester, and RAF Leighton Buzzard. Commissioned as an assistant section officer in November 1941 and promoted to section officer in October 1942, she was posted to 10 Group Fighter Command at RAF Rudloe Manor, Corsham, near Bath, where she was deployed as a filter officer.
In this post, she was responsible for assessing the information gleaned from Chain Home coastal radar stations, estimating position, height and number of enemy forces in the air – essential for establishing Britain's defence network and giving air raid warnings. These teams had a matter of seconds to calculate accurately the whereabouts of both friendly and enemy aircraft. This information was essential since the RAF had a limited number of fighter aircraft and trained pilots, and limited supplies of fuel.
After further training at RAF Bawdsey, she went to 9 Group, RAF Barton Hall, and then to Fighter Command headquarters at RAF Bentley Priory, Stanmore. In 1944, she was posted to 33 Wing, RAF Second Tactical Air Force at Mechelen (Malines), Belgium, with a small team of women using their mathematical skills to detect the mobile launchers of the V-2 rockets aimed at London and the vital port of Antwerp. "Our job was to extrapolate the curve of the V-2 from the place it landed back to the launch site, and we did that once we knew the fall of shot and we got the position of the top of curve, we then used a slide rule in geometry to find the launch site," she told the BBC. Allied aircraft could then bomb the launch vehicles. She remained at Mechelen until June 1945.
Following VE Day she was seconded to the Breendonk concentration camp, where she acted as a guide and interpreter (she was a fluent French speaker), relaying to RAF personnel the realities of war. She resigned her commission on 14 December 1945 and moved into hotel work.
Eileen Younghusband died in hospital in Cardiff on 2 September 2016, at the age of 95
Below are a series of tributes made to Eileen Younghusband. Click on the logo's to visit the tribute pages:
Tributes & Obituaries
Barry War Museum