Not many women get to celebrate their 90th birthday with a string of parties and a ride in a jeep normally reserved for royalty, but former WAAF Eileen Younghusband certainly deserves special attention.

Eileen, who lives at Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan, has written an extrordinary account of the vital work she and other young women carried out in the filter room during World War Two.

One Woman’s War is both a unique historic document and a testament to the courage and spirit these forgotten wartime women showed in a time of great conflict. Their efforts have gone unnoticed for so long because they has to sign the Official Secrets Act, but now Eileen wants to set the record straight.

"The whole team has never been recognised," she tells me. "All you ever see is the operations room girls pushing the counters about with long rakes. But we were the ones pouring over the data and in an instant mathmatically sorting it out to identify planes as friend or foe.

“Our calculations not only told the pilots in their Spitfires and Hurricanes where to find the enemy. We also determined where air raid warnings would be sounded and where rescue boats would be sent to pick up downed Allied airmen. Truly these were life and death decisions.

"All the girls had boyfriends, brothers or cousins in the RAF. We knew every one on an operation and 500 planes would go out and 420 come back. Then we'd wait for stragglers and maybe one would crash or go missing. These women never got hysterical, they never stopped or cried. They went on doing their job with discipline and dedication."

Born Eileen Le Croisette in Islington, she moved to Winchmore Hill at the age of five and attended Winchmore Hill Primary School.

A keen linguist and mathematician, she was further inspired by her headmaster Thomas B Everard at Southgate County Grammar School in Palmers Green.

"He was a fellow of music and a Cambridge graduate and encouraged us in lots of ways. He read a quotation read every morning and I had great fun finding our the context of these quotes in the library."

In addition to English, maths and science, Eileen learned bookkeeping, economics, commerce, shorthand, typing and languages. An 'all rounder' she played hockey and was a sprinter for the school and enjoyed swimming, acting and singing. Her class won the Enfield Eisteddfod.

After finishing school, Eileen travelled to France to work as an au pair but she had to leave in a hurry when the Munich Crisis broke out in 1938.

"I had to make my way back to Paris by myself. The train was full of Jewish refugees escaping from Germany. We didn't know what was happening, in those days we didn't even talk about each others beliefs, we just worked together."

Believing the situation in Europe to be stable, Eileen went to visit friends in Germany and had an insight into the horrors to come:

“I caught glimpses of the sinister side of the Nazi regime. People were in uniform; there was no smiling. They did the Hitler salute whenever they met each other."

When war finally came, Eileen joined the WAAF. She was just 19. After training at the home of radar, RAF Bawdsey, she went first to 9 Group, RAF Barton Hall and finally to the Fighter Command headquarters at RAF Bentley Priory in Stanmore.

Like many young people at the time, Eileen's tale is one of love and loss. A charity party she was running brought her to the home of Jimmy Younghusband, who owned a riding stables on Stanmore Common and frequently provided horses for Denham Film Studios. Jimmy graciously loaned her three ponies and she met and fell in love with his son, Peter.

"My father-in-law was very famous he taught Elizabeth Taylor to ride for National Velvet. He was quite a character. I have a wonderful oil painting of Jimmy on the horse he bought from Robert Donat, called Bobby, which was the great favourite of all the clients."

Eileen's book is full of encounters with celebrities like film star Rex Harrison and comedian Kenneth Horne, who was also stationed at Stanmore. Her narrative appears matter-of-fact but you can feel the pain behind the words, especially when she recounts her time at Breendonk concentration camp in Holland where she was posted after the war.

Eileen was able to adjust after the war but many people she knew could not cope with the return to civilian life.

"Fortunately I went into the hotel business and got joint management with my husband so I was able to assert myself. Some people I know committed suicide because life was so dull after the war.

Living with that high tension all the time the bottom drops out of your world when you're doing nothing of any importance. I had challenges; if you take them out of your life you notice it."

One Woman's War by Eileen Younghusband is published by Candy Jar Books, price £15.99. For every book sold online a £1 donation will be made to Help for Heroes. Details: