WORRALS OF THE W.A.A.F
First Published in September 1941 - 220 pages
This story was originally published in the “Girls Own Paper” in 12 parts from October 1940 to September 1941. Each part corresponds with one of the 12 chapters.
The original first edition dust jacket – showing the original book price of 3/6. This one is in excellent condition. The dust wrapper for the first edition is very rare.
Note that the heading on the back page is “A Girl Flyer! and not “Worrals of the W.A.A.F” as on the reprint dust wrapper below.
The fifth edition dust jacket from 1948 – showing the original book price of 7/6 – appears to be scare. Note how the cover illustration continues onto the spine.
Whereas the sixth edition dust jacket from 1950 – showing the lower price of 6/- is far more common. The striped spine is from a “new illustrated” series of the books.
It will also be noted that the publishers corrected Johns’ name to “Capt. W. E. Johns” following Johns angry letter to Lutterworths which was one of the reasons he left them.
WORRALS OF THE W.A.A.F
Click on any chapter for a summary of the events in that chapter or see the general story summary below
This book introduces us to Flight Officer Joan Worralson known to her personal friends as "Worrals" and her friend Betty Lovell, nicknamed "Frecks" due to her freckled complexion. Johns describes Worrals as follows - "Not even her friends could truthfully call Worrals pretty, although her features were regular enough". Worrals and Frecks are both in the Woman's Auxiliary Air Force. Worrals is 18 and a pilot, whereas Frecks is only 17 and hasn't yet qualified as a pilot because of this. Worrals' job is to ferry aircraft back to the makers for reconditioning. However, her friend Bill Ashton has once allowed her to pilot a Reliant Fighter and also to try out firing the guns. The story starts with both Bill and Worrals being severely reprimanded for this by their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader McNavish. However, an emergency causes the C.O. to have to eat humble pie and ask Worrals to pilot the Reliant Fighter to another aerodrome where it is urgently needed. Taking Frecks with her, Worrals hears over the radio that a mysterious aircraft has been seen and "must be stopped at all costs". Worrals has just seen the plane and goes after it, managing to shoot it down - much to the astonishment of her male colleagues, when she eventually lands. Worrals had seen the unknown plane swoop down over an old abandoned golf course and appear to drop something. When she returns to her base, she and Frecks decide to use their weekend leave passes to investigate various suspicions they have. Driving down to the old golf course, which is by a Rectory, they find a system of lights in bunkers, which are being used to signal to enemy aircraft. Worrals is captured but Frecks escapes. Worrals is imprisoned in a room in the rectory after meeting a man called 'Corton'. Frecks, after some initial problems, manages to help Worrals escape out of her barred window by obtaining a hacksaw for her. The two girls hide in the back of a large car, which is then driven by a pair of villains to a rendezvous. Our heroes are able to overhear the plans of villains who are obviously German spies. Arriving at a farmhouse, the villains go inside, to leave Worrals and Frecks to decide how best to foil the plans they have overheard. Worrals realises that they must get to the telephone in the farmhouse to put the RAF on immediate notice. This they do, but they are interrupted and have to make a hasty escape in the car. Chased, they are captured by a ruse and returned to the Rectory. This time they are locked in a room in the cellar, but by using a nail file and after many hours' hard work, they file through the lock and get out. There appears to be no way out of the actual cellar, until Worrals finds a secret passage that runs to the Church. Here they climb to the top of the Church tower and find an ideal vantage point for spying, as well as signalling equipment. Things go wrong and they are spotted by the villains in the Rectory and have to use all their wits and courage to escape. Going back through the tunnel, the girls hide in a large chest in the Rectory. They overhear Corton's plans to return to Germany in an aircraft he has hidden and to blow the Rectory up. Worrals resolves to foil these plans, come what may. Finding the "real" Corton a prisoner in the house, they release him in the nick of time. Then Worrals and Frecks make a desperate attempt to take control of the fake Corton's aircraft. Worrals jumps into the pilot's seat and tries to take off, whilst Frecks tries to buy her time. Once the aircraft is moving at speed, it is difficult for the villains to overpower Worrals without endangering them all, due to her extremely low flying. Spitfires arrive and attempt to shoot the German plane down. Worrals is forced to land only to find that a hail of bullets has hit the fake Corton and his cronies. The Spitfire lands and the pilot is revealed to be Bill Ashton, who is astonished to see Worrals in the plane. He had managed to trace Worrals' phone call from the farmhouse and make arrangements for all the remaining spies to be arrested.
With the exception of the frontispiece, there are no story illustrations in the first edition of this book, however you can
French edition – Worrals de la R.A.F. (Worrals of the R.A.F.) – this had 9 internal illustrations
Below is the frontispiece from the 1941 FIRST edition
Click on the picture below to see it in more detail
Below is the frontispiece from the 1942 third impression of the first edition. Click on the picture below to see it in more detail
(They must have realised how unflattering the drawing of Worrals was in the first edition frontispiece and so they re-did it for later editions!)
Worrals of the W.A.A.F.
Subtitle - none
Publication Details - published by Lutterworth Press
On the left is the spine of the first edition and in the middle the dust jacket of the first edition.
On the right is the dust jacket of the fourth edition, note the smaller font for both title and publisher