View Full Version : Terms used on WAAF Service Records

6th December 2019, 06:54
My wife's grandmother was in the WAAF during WWII.

We have her Service Records (1942-44) but are having trouble decyphering some of the terms.
Can anybody help ?

Upon entry to the Service:
Description of Effect = ACH/Ball

Proficiency is graded A, B or C.
I know that A = Skilled at Trade
B = Foreman at Trade
What is C ?

Under 'Special Qualifications', what do the following mean ?
ExRemark (as Balloon Operator)
Exreel (upon promoted to ACW1)
ExReclass (failed an unspecified examination)

Upon discharge from the Service (was pregnant with my wife's mother)
Unit = 652 CL11


David Duxbury
6th December 2019, 20:01

ACH/Ball almost certainly indicates her "trade", that is Aircraft Hand, Balloon Operator.

Under Proficiency you state that you know the meanings of A and B, but not so of C; so how do you know the first two? I am not entirely certain that the meanings you give are in fact correct. I am presuming that you have her Service record - was this the Form 543, or did WAAF's have another form peculiar to them? I have seen thousands of these forms (although not necessarily WAAF ones) and they have these annual assessments of Character and Proficiency, and the former in particular are usually noted in such terms as "Good", "Very Good", whereas proficiency is normally noted as "Proficient, or "Not proficient" or similar.

Under "Special Qualifications", I do not understand the initial words on all three lines (specifically the "ExRxxx" part), but the second line "upon promoted to ACW1" simply means reclassification to ACW1 from the (I presume) initial classification of ACW2 (lowest classification in the WAAF). Many people misunderstand the true meaning of these classifications, for airwomen as well as airmen, in that they are not ranks as such. The term "Rank" in the military indicates that the person concerned is permitted to give Orders to those below their status, and these orders must be obeyed. An ACW1 cannot give any orders, and neither can the next highest classification (LACW, if that is the correct term in the British WAAF). Only Corporals (including Acting or Temporary Corporals) and above can issue Orders, usually by vocal command, but can include written.

As for the Unit, I have no answer to that one! Sorry I cannot answer your other questions fully, some of this is rather specialist stuff!

David D

6th December 2019, 20:21
Thanks for getting back to me, David.

I was pointed in the right direction for proficiency assessments from another site:

And 652 CL11 appears to be Section 652, Class 11 of the King's Regulations - giving a definition of reason for Discharge.

And you're right, this is very specialised stuff ! ;-)

6th December 2019, 20:32
Oh, and I'd already discovered that the proficiency classifications were sub-divided as:
Ex (Exceptional), Supr (Superior), Sat (Satisfactory), Mod (Moderate), Inf (Inferior).

Deb's grandmother was classed as 'A - SAT' throughout her service: Satisfactory as a Balloon Operator.