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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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A London Clippie's Day

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Working Through War

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Mrs EJ Loftus
Location of story: 
London
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A9000901
Contributed on: 
31 January 2006

I was one of the first group of ladies to work on the buses as a clippie, and therefore needed a uniform. Instead of trousers we had to wear long split skirts which were very poor at stopping the extremely cold wind that was a constant feature of working on the open platform and stairs of the old London bus.

In the blackout we walked to work at 4.30am to bring a bus out at 5am to cover the railways after bombing. One day we were stopped at Marble Arch by the police — Oxford Street had glass everywhere and all the remaining shop windows were bulging ready to break.

Late shift could go on until 1am, and you had to walk home and if a raid was on and dive bombing, you had to lie in the gutter face down away from shop windows.

The buses were not kept in the big garage, but were out on the streets, so at 5 or 6am we had to find them. They were icy cold! We used to take people to work, have a few hours off, then take them home again. You were at work all day. I remember being on your bus and watching dawn break through each day.

One xmas I saved my coupons and had six chocs. I did not pass them around!

This story was added to the site by a volunteer on behalf of Mrs Loftus’ son Clive Weedon, who understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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