BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

13 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

You are browsing in:

Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
People in story: 
Jean Barlow (nee Langsford)
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
09 June 2005

When war started, I was working in the drawing office at Lucas, Great King St. I was soon called up for part-time duties as a firewoman at Central Fire Station, working in the evening and at weekends. Sometimes when there had been long air raids, we had to work all night and go straight to our day jobs in our uniforms. I continued with my Fire Duties throughout the wasr and was promoted to Leading Firewoman.

When it was my turn to be called up for a full time war job, I was sent to Wednesbury Technical College to train as a metallurgist. I enjoyed this as chemistry had been my favourite subject at school but after I qualified, I was dissapointed to be sent to Bakelite - a plastics laboratory. There were compensations, however! The spare parachute silk which was left over from the manufacturing process came in very useful for making undies, and heavier material made small table cloths which we embroidered.

On the social front, at Bakelite, we organised dances to raise money to send, cigarettes, chocolate and toiletries to badly burnt airman, who because for the experimental plastic surgery they received, were known as Dr. McIndoes Guinea Pigs. After the war, I stayed on at Bakelite, leaving in 1947.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

London Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy