World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Frances Todd 

A NAAFI Girl's Story

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Frances Annie Todd
Location of story: Various
Unit name: ATS-EFI
Background to story: Army

 Frances Todd

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Frances Todd.

I left Sheffield at the age of 18, 1941 for Sandhurst to train in the NAAFI. I later served at Arborfield Camp, Reading, Beamshott, Ludshott, Headley Green and Grayshott. I worked mostly with Canadian troops who had volunteered to serve overseas. Women were now allowed overseas.

In the September after D-Day, I trained in Dalkeith as ATS, then went back to Dulwich, London for posting. We were now ATS-EFI (for security reasons). If we had been taken by the Germans and were in NAAFI uniform, we would have been considered ‘displaced persons’. In ATS uniform, we would have been taken Prisoners of War.

I was posted to France; landed at Aramanches after sailing on a large troop ship, from where, we did not know.

We waited for transport to Bayoux where we were billeted in a very large house. Then we opened NAAFI in Nissen huts; we were later sent to Brussels; there we opened the Montgomery Club where troops had a 48 hour pass and could use the facilities of the club, and have a meal which was served in a lovely restaurant atmosphere by Belgian waitresses.

I was there as a type of hostess to see that everything was OK. Any complaints, we dealt with. Later, we went to stay in Enschede in Holland, awaiting a further posting. We arrived in Berlin, staying in Spandau Barracks (we opened a new club, similar to the one in Brussels). It was the Arsenal in Berlin Centre.

I was demobbed in 1947.

I worked very long hours. There were very few NAAFI girls, probably 6 NAAFI girls among hundreds of troops.

Over the last few years, I’ve belonged to the Normandy Veterans and Market Gardeners, and I appeared to be the only girl member there.