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A Wartime Work Experience

by newcastle-staffs-lib

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12 March 2005

Staffordshire County Council libraries, on behalf of the author, have submitted this story. The author fully understands the rules and regulations of the People's War website.

My war story starts when I was sixteen and went to work for BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) factory in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The hours of work were extremely long: the day shift was 7am-7pm and the night shift 7pm-6am but I never heard anyone ever complain.
I used to get on the bus to go home (one mile) and fall fast asleep. My mate used to wake me up when it was time to get off the bus.
BSA were responsible for manufacturing 20mm cannons made solely for strengthening the armament on the Spitfire which then just had machine guns for firepower. We made thousands of these guns upto the end of 1943.
Then, out of the blue, an announcement was made that BSA would stop production at our factory and the firm would be replaced by Rolls Royce. In a very short while we were manufacturing Jet engines. We made these upto the end of 1945. Then another announcement! At that time some of the factories were offered to industrialists who had lost their own factories due to the war effort. An industrialist (i.e. Rists Wires + Cables) who were based at Lowestoft, but had been bombed out, selected our factory and took it over. At this point, I lost my job and got called up by the RAF.

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