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The FlyerBritish Culture and the Royal Air Force 1939–1945$
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Martin Francis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277483

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277483.001.0001

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The Flyer in Love

The Flyer in Love

(p.63) 3 The Flyer in Love
The Flyer

Martin Francis

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the flyer in love. While some flyers feared that romantic entanglements might compromise combat efficiency, many others found that falling in love offered an affirmation of life in the present and hope for the future. Romantic love and companionship appeared to be a reward for taking on the obligations of military service, and therefore the flyer' affairs of the heart, far from being esoteric, tell us a great deal about the intersections between masculinity, sexuality, and citizenship in modern Britain. What was especially unusual about the RAF was that the presence of female service personnel, in the form of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), allowed the possibility of heterosexual romantic attachments developing on the base itself. The romantic universe of the flyer ensured that the wartime RAF was never a closed all-male world, in which masculinity operated independently of a female presence.

Keywords:   WAAF, companionship, sexuality, love, romantic relationships, female service personnel

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