Queen sees service of women in RAF preserved in York stained glass

The Queen being shown the new stained-glass window during her visit to the Royal Air Force Club in London to mark its centenary year.
The Queen being shown the new stained-glass window during her visit to the Royal Air Force Club in London to mark its centenary year.
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A stained glass window, commissioned to mark the contribution made by women to the Air Force, has been unveiled by the Queen at the RAF Club.

The work, produced in York by the artist and designer Helen Whittaker, celebrates the centenary of the service and of the Representation of the People Act which gave the first women the right to vote.

Jo Salter, Britain’s first female RAF fast-jet pilot, and Christine Ryan, 76, who was a member of the Women’s Royal Air Force in the 1960s, talked the Queen through the window’s elements.

The artwork, in the club’s London HQ, features large glass “rivets”, which on closer inspection show women performing roles in the service, and the Queen was directed towards one that told the story of Noor Khan.

A campaign is building to have an image of Khan, who joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War and later became an agent with the Special Operations Executive, featured on the £50 note.

Of Indian and American descent, she was the first female radio operator to be sent into France, but was later executed by the Gestapo and posthumously awarded the George Cross.

A Crossley tender steering wheel on the window, symbolis­ing women who drove the military vehicle during the First World War, was also pointed out to the Queen, and Mrs Ryan reminded her of her own wartime role as a driver with the Auxiliary Territorial Service. The Queen spent a period in uniform, joining the ATS in 1945 at 18.