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15 October 2014
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The Aycliffe Angels

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Irene Trundle (nee Hall)
Location of story: 
Aycliffe/Heightington, County Durham
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
09 May 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War web site by Steven Turner a Peoples War Story gatherer with the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Action Desk. It was submitted at Duxford Museum during their VE celebrations on behalf of Mrs Irene Trundle and has been added to the site with her permission.She fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

The name "The Aycliffe Angels" originates from a German Radio broadcast about the factory made by Lord Haw Haw, during the war.

"I worked in a Small Arms Factory, checking ammunition. I did this throughout the war. I worked at the Aycliffe/Heightington Factory, those were the two sections. It was part of Woolwich Arsenal. Most of the employees were women, thousands worked there. I think the Bouncing Bombs were made at the Heightington works. The people in that part of the factory were making the bombs. You could tell who worked there because their skin would be tinted yellow.

In the Small Arms factory we did a fortnight on the dayshift and then a fortnight of nights. I used to leave home at 6am and catch one of the special trains that only went to the factory. Other trains came from Sunderland and Hartlepool. We had to change into our overalls and wear a hairnet. Our job involved packing the bullets into tins, then we put them into these wooden crates which we then sealed, vanished and labelled. We never knew where they were going.
We did twelve-hour shifts and we used to make the most of the weekend between the switch from days to nights. We went to dances if we weren’t too tired and I met my husband at a dance in Shildon, he went off to Italy and we married when he came back. We’ve been married 60 years this year.

It was a sad time, we did the best we could, we survived. A lot of people forget the munitions workers so I wanted to tell our story."

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Working Through War Category
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