The RAF Association was sad to learn of the recent passing of Irene Kemp, aged 101. In 1941 Irene joined the RAF as a plotter and was stationed in Swansea. Her sweetheart Philip served on Lancaster bombers and in 1942 was shot down and captured. The only member of the crew to survive, he spent the next three years as a prisoner of war. When he was repatriated in 1945, Irene was given a week’s leave and told by her Commanding Officer: “If you get married next week there is no need to return to duty”, which is exactly how she was demobbed. Irene was married in a borrowed dress on 5 May 1945, with everyone’s sugar rations being used for the cake. Post-war, Irene and her husband had two daughters, and Irene worked at a local estate agent.

Irene kemp on her wedding day in 1945

Her active involvement with local groups and charities helped the local community and provided Irene with many friends for life. Retiring to Spain with her husband in 1998, Irene soon joined the Association’s North Costa Blanca Branch which, for her 100th birthday, gave her a presentation bouquet of flowers. Irene Kemp leaves behind two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She will be sadly missed by her family and the friends she and Philip made in their adopted Spain.  

Irene Kemp in her RAF uniform