Here I am with Science Historian Dr Patricia Fara, Emeritus Fellow of Clare College Cambridge, discussing what it’s like to be an RAF Engineer in contrast to the life and work of Aircraft Instrument Engineer, Corporal Lilian Bader (1918 – 2015) from the WAAF.
I like all kinds of styles of music, especially 80s stuff. I used to play the violin in an orchestra which I loved, and I taught myself to play keyboards. Now I’m learning to play the electric guitar so it’s quite nice to get back into music.
This little song is about all the different kinds of engineering you can do. Ali wants children to think about becoming engineers – so this might help!
Title: “Azalea” (Dark Eyed Soldier)
Engineer: LILIAN BADER
Words by: Montague Ring (aka A. I. Aldridge)/Frances M Lynch
Written in: sometime in the early 20th century
For: Voice and Piano
Performed by: Frances M Lynch
First Performed: unknown
Recorded: at Birnam Studios, London on May 7th 2020 as part of electric voice theatre’s Minerva Scientifica – Connections 2020 project, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
This song illustrates the story of Aircraft Instrument Engineer LILIAN BADER, who was one of the first women to join at WAAF as an engineer and paved the way for women like Ali.
I left school with 6 GCEs including Maths and English, but didn’t go to college or university.
Inspecting an F35B with one of my team at 207 Squadron (Image courtesy of Ali Fisher)
I applied to join the RAF as an airframe mechanic as this was the only opening in the engineering field, and I chose the RAF as both the RN and the Army didn’t have any openings for females in the engineering field. I spent 6 months training to be a mechanic and 4 years later another 12 months training to become a technician. I have since completed several engineering courses on various aircraft including Harrier, Tornado, Puma, Sentry E3D and Lightning F35B as well as becoming an aircraft engineering repair specialist.
Engineering Warrant Officer of a Flying Squadron
I am responsible for all the standards and practices on the squadron & the welfare & professional needs of around 150 personnel. I check all the work and have the authority to sign off aircraft as serviceable and make sure that any defects are correctly maintained.
Time to take the Tornado GR4 for a spin. (2017) The painting on the side commemorates the Gulf War. (Image courtesy of Ali Fisher)
I consider achieving the rank as Engineering Warrant Officer my biggest STEMM achievement as I am one of only 4 female engineers in the RAF at this rank. I am also the first female engineering Warrant Officer to be in charge of a flying Squadron.
I am hoping that this will pave the way for other female engineers to strive for the same and it also shows there is no discrimination for females in this environment.
Did You Know?
I am a black belt in Taekwon-Do and compete nationally, and I am also a Level 2 Boxing Coach.
Receiving my MBE at Buckingham Palace, March 2018 (Image courtesy of Ali Fisher)
An Inspiring Woman
Amelia Earhart and AMY JOHNSON as pioneers of females in the aviation world. More so Amy Johnson, as she was the first woman in the world to qualify as an aircraft engineer and was an ATA pilot during the Second World War.