Service dress tunic : Flight Officer J Starling, Women's Auxiliary Air Force

Place Europe: United Kingdom
Accession Number REL36872.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Brass, Cotton, Gilded brass, Wool barathea, Wool flannel
Maker Emms
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1940
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

RAF blue wool barathea tunic lined throughout with a polished cotton twill in the same colour. The tunic has pleated breast pockets with triple pointed flaps, and expanding pockets over each hip with rectangular flaps. The top of each pocket is bound with a strip of the lining fabric, while the flaps are lined with RAF blue flannel. Each pocket is fastened with a single gilt RAF officer's button; the breast pocket flaps are also secured with two press studs. A small internal pocket, in lining fabric, is set inside each of the hip pockets. The tunic fastens down the front with four gilt RAF officer's buttons and with a self fabric belt secured with a brass buckle modified with a concealed American patent fastener. A single vent extends from the centre back waist to the hem of the tunic. Each sleeve bears rank stripes on the cuff for a flight officer and pale blue embroidered 'AUSTRALIA' titles at the top of the sleeves. A black printed manufacturer's label inside the back neck reads 'Emms 11, Savile Row, W.1' and is further marked in ink 'MD/JS'. An internal welt pocket inside the left side of the tunic bears a woven manufacturer's label with the same address details. It is marked in ink 'FLT. OFFICER STARLING WAAF'. A medal ribbon for the Defence Medal is sewn above the left breast pocket.

History / Summary

Jean Starling travelled to England from her home in Canberra, ACT in early 1939. She was working in London when the Second World War broke out, and subsequently enlisted in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Trained as a specialist photographic interpreter, Flight Officer Starling served at Danesfield House, RAF Medmenham, located in Buckinghamshire. Initially set up as an RAF photographic interpretation unit, it was renamed the Central Interpretation Unit (CIU) at the end of 1941. By the end of 1943 the CIU was concerned with the planning stages of most RAF operations, and with every aspect of intelligence. In May 1944 it was renamed the Allied Central Interpretation Unit (ACIU) in recognition of the considerable number of American personnel attached to it. By the beginning of 1945 the ACIU housed 1700 personnel and had a daily intake of 25,000 negatives and 60,000 prints requiring analysis and interpretation. At the end of the war in Europe, in May 1945, the ACIU library housed 5,000,000 photographic prints, from which 40,000 separate reports had been produced. Jean Starling returned to Canberra after the war and worked in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She died in 1998.