- Contributed by
- Neath Port Talbot Heritage Group
- People in story:
- Eunice Williams
- Location of story:
- Bridgend and Pontardawe, South Wales
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 August 2004
This story was told to Christine Pearce of Neath Port Talbot Libraries by Mrs. Eunice Williams and added to the site with her permission.
Work in the Munitions Factory
I worked at J.C. Davies Drapers and Outfitters in Pontardawe for 5 years. When we were 18 we had to join up but my friend didn’t want to leave home, so we went to work in the Munitions Factory in Bridgend. The work involved shift work, in the mornings we left about 5 a.m. to catch a bus to Neath, from there we caught the train to Bridgend. There weren’t any lights on the train, it was dark everywhere. We worked 8 hour shifts, mornings, afternoons or nights. I didn’t like the night shift. The shops in the arsenal were covered by a grass hump so that they couldn’t be seen from the air. My job was to examine high-explosive fuses. One Sunday afternoon a workman called to the shop next door, the detonators were stored in a wooden box with little wooden sections for each one. They should have been in the safe but when he struck with the hammer, there was an explosion and the whole shop blew up ------ 3 people were killed.
On arriving in work we had to change and wear protective clothing but the yellow powder seeped through and even our underclothes were yellow.
I later married and moved to Birmingham with my husband and got a job in a small arms factory as a result of my experience in Bridgend.
I also remember flares being dropped on Gellionen mountain, everywhere was lit up and we could see the incendiary bombs being dropped. My brother and I had been woken up. I put a coat over my nightie and we watched the events in the night. The St. John’s Ambulance building (opposite the Fire Station) was hit and the frame of the door started burning. Fortunately there were sandbags outside and fire buckets with sand, so the building was saved.
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.