AN AIRBASE has welcomed back a woman worked as an RAF driver during the Second World War, nearly 70 years after she survived a crash landing.

Joan Coppack had been a member of the Womens’ Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), working as a driver with the Thunderbird Squadron, a unit with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) during the war.

The squadron was formed at Dishforth, near Thirsk in 1942 and sent out Lancasters, Wellingtons and Halifax bombers to Germany.

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In 1943 it moved to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, where Mrs Coppack was first stationed. But she had a lucky escape when a stricken Halifax Bomber returning from a raid on Germany crashed into the Mechanical Transport Section where she was working that day.

The fitter she had been talking to in the building was killed and she was injured.

During the war a total of 649 WAAFs were killed as a result of air crashes, ground explosions or other incidents during World War II.

Now, 70 years after she joined the squadron, Mrs Coppack, from Bridlington, has made a return to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York, and was treated to a VIP visit.

She was treated to a tour of the station and was able to reminisce with current members of the Mechanical Transport unit, which is now operated at the Base by Babcock Aerospace.

After lunch in the warrant officers’ and sergeants’ mess she spoke with RAF servicewoman and civilian women who work on the station.