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Thread: Marriages in RAF before and during the war

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    Default Marriages in RAF before and during the war

    Good evening,

    I'm desperately looking for some information about marriages in the RAF before and during the war. Before the war there were some restrictions for young officers in the RAF to get married. During the war there seemd to have been no restrictions at all. Can anyone of you give me some advise. Was there a wedding ban, and if so, when was it lifted? Was it because before the war the RAF was very small and almost all the flying personnel had a short service or permanent commission?

    Any help is very welcome!

    Regards,

    Erwin van Loo

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    I don't think there was ever a formal wedding ban as such. However, both officers and airmen had to seek formal permission to marry and the allocation of married accommodation and the payment of 'marriage allowance' was restricted to those over a certain age. It used to be 21 (IIRC) for non commissioned personnel and 25 for officers. That age restriction was removed in 1969 or 70.

    There were other things which discouraged marriage. For example, you could not enter the RAF College as a cadet if you were married. In my early years of service I spent a lot of time in the Far East, Singapore, Borneo etc and some of my colleagues were married under age 25. Their wives were not entitled to travel at service expense to join their husbands and although Borneo was a one year unaccompanied tour anyway, Singapore was 2 1/2 years and so it could be very difficult to afford to live on the pay then offered. Married personnel under the marriage age limit were paid a basic salary but had free food and accommodation in mess but no help if they were married and had to live 'off base'.

    During the war years very few married personnel lived on base or in married quarters, as almost all accommodation was given over to service personnel accommodation and very many bases were built from 'scratch' and had no married accommodation. Of course some people tried to get their wives into rented rooms locally. My father - who was a regular serviceman - had a married quarter before the war but then moved to rented accommodation. When he was posted overseas, my mother moved in with her parents and her sister. As both mother and her sister had a family, the house was pretty cramped!

    I don't know if marriage allowances were paid to married personnel who were only in the RAF for wartime service but I suspect the same rules applied as in peacetime.

    Bit of a ramble I'm afraid but hope it gets you search started.

    Colin Cummings

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    Dear Colin,

    Thanks you very much for your input and very interesting information. It's definately useful for my phd about dutch aircrew in the raf during the war!

    Regards,


    Erwin

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    Default Marriages in RAF

    Hello,

    I am always surprise to see people getting married during the war.
    In one bomber that was shot in my area there were 3 married airman
    Married at different stage of was May 42, August 40 and Dec 42 and being killed in July 43.

    What pushed people to do so when the average of lost , I suppose, was know.

    Best regards

    Rene

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    Hi Rene
    If you read enough of the literature you find several ideas on the theme.
    1.There were those who knew the odds of survival and avoided the kind of relationship that could lead to marriage as unfair on the girl
    2.There were others,just as knowledgeable, who with their girls, took the view that they should enjoy a relationship as close and for as long as possible precisely because of the risk.The idea that a man would leave something behind if he was killed could be quite strong as an attempt at "immortality" often referred to in those terms.
    3 You must not forget the general morality of the time when it was considered imperative to get married if the relationship was physical and resulted in a pregnancy.
    I'm sure there were many variations on all 3 themes and the literature contains many references to official discouragement of having wives close at hand
    Regards
    Dick

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    Hi
    When training to fly at RAF Ternhill in 1941 my father wrote..."Monte came back married to a girl called “Topsy” from Pinner and I hear he’s been in great trouble for not asking Groupy’s permission first. He has to do orderly officer duties and gets no leave for some time."

    Mothersbird

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    Default Marriages in RAF

    Hello

    Thank you for the different answer.
    It was also in Belgium that you have to ask permission from the Wing Commander.
    In the last century when I was posted in Germany an Ok from the WC was neccessary,
    A intel research was done to see if you future wife did not have relation with the other side;
    if so you could marry but returned to Belgium and losing your security certificate.

    Best regards

    René

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    Dear Dick, Romain and Rene,

    Thanks for your interesting messages. I'm currently working on a phd about Dutchmen who served in the RAF during the war and the high percentage of aircrew that got married really surprises me. At least one third did marry a (mostly) British girl.

    Regards,

    Erwin

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    A Met Forecaster that I knew was in Germany at the end of WW2. He married a German girl. They both came back to UK. He was subsequently, possibly, later in his career, going to be posted to a security sensitive job. "They" said "Where was your wife born?". He gave the answer. "They" were scandalised - "But that's in East Germany", "They" spluttered. To which he replied "But it wasn't in East Germany when she was born, and neither was it in East Germany when I married her.".
    He got his clearance!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I found this thread quite interesting especially the info supplied by oldduffer. I recently found out my Father was married to his first wife in Aug 1944 during the war and I did wonder where they'd have been living at the time. However, going by the marriage dates and the birth of their first child, she would have been 3 months pregnant. It appears she was living at her Mother's house while he was stationed at an RAF base nearby. My Uncle also got married during the war... in Dec 1939 and had arranged digs for his wife to live in while he was stationed at an RAF base..

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