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RAW Social Club
The RAW Social & Sports Club 1945 Onwards
It is good to report that the post war years were happier times for the club. Former members were gradually returning back from the services and the club minutes report more 'normal' events. There was good news in December 1945 for the club stewardess who was awarded 2 weeks paid holiday for the first time! However rationing was still a major problem for the club in Aug 1946 for example members were allowed only one single shot of whisky due to shortages and doubts were expressed if the children's Christmas party could go ahead (happily it did) and in Feb 1947 there was still a fuel shortage with no fires lit in the billiards room.
We also see first signs of women becoming more independent within the club - nationally during the war many traditional male roles were filled by women as
increasing numbers of men were called up for duty and this in turn brought about social changes. At the RAW club (as was typical with many organisations up and down the country) ladies still didn't have full membership status and in1946 we read of complaints being made that women had been spotted in the billiards room leading the committee to put up a notice declaring the room out of bounds to all females. It was not until January 1949 that ladies were allowed into the room and even then they had to remain seated. There appears to be a little resentment of lady members taking part in club activities because in Sept 1949 we read that five members had objected to ladies being invited on a club trip to visit a brewery - on this occasion the committee dismissed their complaint.
During these years there are regular mentions of people applying for membership - it is interesting to note the addresses of some of these . In Oct 1948 we learn that a Mr Burnett at 'no 15 Married Quarters RAF Shortstown' had applied and in Nov 1948 there is a Sgt Liddiard making application from 'The Food Factory RAF Shortstown'. It is assumed that the married quarters and the factory were all on the camp but it is puzzling to see the name 'RAF Shortstown' as today we certainly know the camp as RAF Cardington.
The minutes also illustrate how times have changed over the years - for instance cigarettes were given as prizes for competitions - 20 Players given each fortnight for the highest score or break in darts or snooker games and in November 1949 a raffle was held for the benefit of a member the grand prize being a rabbit! (Of course meat had been rationed in the war and was still in short supply for a long time after the war). Other entries tell us that life is beginning to settle down as there are increasingly more requests by members to use the club for events such as weddings and social occasions.
Source Beds and Luton Archive Services Z746/1/11-18
Sent in by our friend Trevor Monk -left shows a rule book for the RAW club (exact date unknown possibly 1960/70 ) and right his father's RAW Club membership card dated 1984.
Thank you Trevor!
* If you were a member of the RAW club please send in any photographs or memories you have for others to enjoy here.