A VETERAN of the Second World War who helped win the Battle of Britain was in Hendon today to raise the profile of women who served during the conflict.

Eileen Younghusband, 90, was at the RAF Museum signing copies of her book One Woman’s War that tells of her time in the so-called filter rooms of RAF Fighter Command, at locations including Bentley Priory in Stanmore.

Young women attached to fighter command stations would work day and night underground monitoring approaching aircraft from radar reports, noting their position and height. The decision to send fighter planes to intercept the enemy was based entirely on the women’s information.

Mrs Younghusband, who is originally from Winchmore Hill, said: “We were making life or death decisions.

“It is time to recognise the valuable contributions of the women in the filter rooms, because without their success in Britain’s darkest hour we would not have won the Battle of Britain.”

Mrs Younghusband volunteered to join the Women's Auxiliary Air Force at the age of 18. While in the filter room she saw the enemy heading for Normandy on D-Day and received the code warning of Hitler’s first V2 rocket as it approached London.

When Prime Minister Winston Churchill was returning from a meeting with President Roosevelt in the US, the pilot forgot to put up the secret signal that showed whether the aircraft was friend or foe. The pilot remembered just as Mrs Younghusband went to plot the plane.

As the war was ending in 1945, Mrs Younghusband was sent on a secret mission into occupied territory to prevent German V2s attacking Belgium. She used mobile radars to help prevent attacks on Antwerp by calculating where the rockets came from.

As a fluent French speaker, she was ordered in the last stages of the war to act as an interpreter at Fort Breendonk, a newly-liberated concentration camp in Belgium, known as The Camp of Silence and of Death. She also acted as a guide, showing visiting allied forces the full horrors of the camp.

Mrs Younghusband was forbidden to talk with anyone about her time in the filter rooms by the Official Secrets Act for 30 years after the war.

She added: “Us women were the lynch pin of the radar system. The conditions were overcrowded and sweaty and time and speed was always of the essence.”

“It is a relief to now be able to talk of our experiences, rather than the perceived glamorous side portrayed.”

After the war Mrs Younghusband had a son and worked in the hotel and catering industry. She gained an Open University degree at the age of 87.

One Woman’s War has been endorsed by Churchill’s granddaughter, Emma Soames, and the Forces’ Sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn.