During my research I have discovered the most incredible facts, which are kept so secret by the whole of the media and the military, which results in untold misery to numerous women and their children. These facts do not come under the Official Secrets Act and do not threaten national security, but judging by the conspiracy of silence I have encountered, the media generally treats this subject as the last taboo. It is not surprising considering that most of the bosses are male, and probably are rather envious of the amount of exploitation that service officers can get away with, regarding their wives.
Indeed it is not exaggerating the situation to state that once officers wives start travelling with their husbands, and every ploy will be used to accomplish this end, the wives are or become slaves, and everything is possible to virtually imprison them to that end, as I shall outline in the following information.
The names of the wives have been changed to protect them after their often horrific experiences, which has left them in such a state of shock that they will not find recovery easy, and my problem is to know where to begin, without explaining the circumstances.
The system is slowly insiduous, when first married it is taken for granted that the wife will live with the husband on station this is part of the ploy to start them and once that is accomplished it will be difficult to break , short of being replaced with a younger wife , which is common practise .
While the children are tiny the social demands are not too onerous , but the increase in functions one has to attend soon accelarates. The expense is enormous, the cost of the function itself, clothes etc, for both, plus babysitting expenses, is a great drain on limited resources and energy, when with every promotion the number of compulsory functions increase, both by day and night. The social work on the station begin in a few demands, baby clinics, thrift shop, flowers for the Mess and the Church, and the many and various clubs to manage, on top of being resident social worker to the wives and families of one`s husband`s section, unpaid of course .
Very soon, depending on the rank, the wife is working full time by day with the prospect of spending 8 hours at night, entertaining complete strangers at her expense, with never any reward or thanks. The responsibility is enormous, especially as we are expected to be perfectly turned out , and continually smiling and interested, also expected is that the wife will drive home, the convenient excuse is that the officer will lose his commission if he loses his licence. Consequently there is no limit to his alcohol intake compared to his wife who can never indulge, and who feels like a nursemaid, continually on guard of her charge.
With every passing year the contempt for the wife increases, as the officer claims all the credit for each promotion, and is often communicated to the children as they observe their Mother at the beck and call of numerous people, and with no apparent life or interests of her own. A civilian wife can choose to work for herself or take further education, or vocational or leisure courses, but for a service wife the whole of her time is spent in `duty` and compulsory `voluntary` work . With the added penalty of frequent moves, it is not worth starting a course only to be forced to move before it is finished, whereas the officer can attend as many courses as possible,leaving his wife to cope alone as usual earning his promotion.
Naturally wives wish to return to work once the children are old enough to leave at school and before they start at boarding school, but this is made impossible. I know some wives who have taken part time jobs which have not lasted a week, for example a Squadron Leaders wife started as a nursery school assistant , despite her husband`s opposition, but within a few days the Education Officer came to her house and ordered her to resign with the words " We can`t have an officers wife working under a Corporal`s wife " the Corporal`s wife was in charge of the nursery school . There are numerous similar instances, a senior qualified theatre sister was refused a job as an assistant in the chemist shop, because local civilian employers are very resistant to employ service wives as it is not worth their while training them for the short time they are able to work till they are forced to move. Undue influence is brought to bear on any employers available, (a rare occurrence considering the location of most RAF stations, they are usually isolated and miles from any town,) by the vested interests of the RAF officers.
Very soon the reality of the situation becomes plain, the wife is trapped into the system, with boarding school for the children not releasing her to her own wishes, on the contrary it shuts the final door to her independence, because once the children are at boarding school the sudden, (to the wife) postings become a fait accompli, there is no further need to consider school disruption. The scenario is that unknown to the wife, months previously, the husband has applied for a promotional posting, adding the fateful word `accompanied` to the posting form. When the wife protests that she has had enough moving, and that she would like to settle in her own house, and earn some money of her own, she is given only one choice, move or else. There are many cases of officers wives who have been marched out of their married quarter after their bid for independence, but often another woman is moved in "Before the bed is cold" as one wife remarked . The new woman also becomes the instant step-mother to the children, home on holiday from boarding school, because their Father has automatic custody.
Parents of young women who marry RAF officers might never see their grandchilren again, it is all too easy for the officers to supress information. My previous remark regarding attractive young women has at least two connotations, besides being an asset for more rapid promotion there is also the `dumb blonde syndrome ` when a wife is not earning any money of her own, there is more than a tendency to treat her as simple minded. It is a paradoxical situation because she is being blamed for the abuse and misuse of the power which she has earned for her husband to give him the rank.
Any lingering fond belief that the wife is living in a free country are dispelled in various ways, as you can read in the following accounts. The Military considers wives as second class soldiers and airmen, with the same devotion to duty, but unlike the male duty the female duty is worthless and unpaid, of course.
Come back soon for more true stories.