David Stopforth - Vera Crow
David Stopforth emailed (firstname.lastname@example.org) on 24 Aug:
My mother (deceased December 1963) was recruited into the WRAF on 31st Dec 1953. She served in Malaya and Singapore as a Clerk. I have recently been sent her record of service and note that she was at FTC / Reading on 26th Feb 1954. Here maiden name was Vera Crow (married Alan Stopforth) and her service number was 2824801. I wonder if you might have any record of he attendance at FTC Shinfield and how long she was there for? I live in Tilehurst, Reading
Many thanks indeed in anticipation and hoping you can help.
I answered on 9 Sep:
Sorry not to have replied sooner but I am currently snowed under with stuff to do, not least revising and reorganising the Shinfield/FTC website due to some technical and software issues.
The website has no official standing and we certainly have never had access to personnel records. All we have is the information you can see on the site pages which consist solely of what ex-personnel have sent in - mainly stories of their time and photographs. I will have finished the reorganisation well before Christmas and this will include an entry with your query. In the meantime however I am copying in a friend of mine who served at Shinfield in the 50's, Alan Causon, who has the best memory of anyone that I know. It is possible that he may be able to help you (and me for the records). This is the best I can do.
I just want to express my sadness at the loss of your mother at such a young age.
Very best regards
David replied on 10 Sep:
Thank you very much for your reply and kind words. I very much appreciate your thoughts and efforts and wish you every success in all that you are doing which will mean a lot to many people I'm sure.
Alan, thank you for being in copy and I trust you are keeping very well. My mum would have been 30 years old when she was with you and she was a 'Geordie Lass'. Although I was only five and three quarters when she died, I still have memories of her. Having moved from Lancashire (where I was born) it is somewhat comforting to know she spent time with you at Shinfield - just up the road from where I live now.
Best wishes to you both.
I answered on 17 Sep:
Just to keep you updated, Alan's wife is currently in hospital recovering from a stroke with a heart condition and he is obviously having to deal with this situation; they are both quite elderly. He is generally quite fastidious and would normally follow things up, but this is why you may not have heard anything from him. He is keeping me informed of the current situation.
David emailed on 17 Sep:
Many thanks for your note and I'm sorry to hear of Alan's wife's situation. I hope she is feeling better soon and please ley Alan know there is no rush. I appreciate any insight he can give and fully understand this may not be possible given the decades that have passed since my mum was at Shinfield.
In the meantime, all the best to you, Alan and your colleagues.
Alan Causon emailed David on 25 Sep:
Dear David, I was stationed at R.A.F. Shinfield Park from January 1955 until I was demobbed at the end of September 1958 apart from a short Detachment to R.A.F. Akrotiri. I do not remember her Surname and the only young woman stationed at Shinfield by the Christian name of Vera whom I remember came from a little place in the New Forest called Woodlands, She was a Methodist and used to attend Services prior to joining the W.R.A.F at the little Chapel in this small village. The Vera I knew was a very decent young lady and inclined to be a little old fashioned. I do not remember what her Trade Group might have been. I am probably wrong but I have the feeling that she might have worked in the Camp Telephone Exchange. The Vera I knew had dark hair. One must remember that I was under the age of 18 years when I arrived at Shinfield and most of the girls were in the majority of cases as much as 5 years older than me. As a result I never got involved with the girls at that time. In fact I was the youngest Airman on the Camp and can honestly say that all I thought about in those days was Cricket which of course did not interest the average young lady at all. However when speaking to another old friend from our Shinfield days I will mention Vera Crow to him. Bearing in mind that over 60 years have passed since I possibly could have known your mother I think it likely that the memories of the past so long distant will be the same for other lads with whom I was Stationed. I can well understand your interest in finding someone who knew your mother in her early life when serving in the R.A.F..I have known Andre Francis for many years as a result of attending most of the Annual Reunions. I will close now wishing you all the best.