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A young girl's work at Derby Ordnance Depot

by derbycsv

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Joan Muriel Hall
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Contributed on: 
29 August 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Lin Freeman of Radio Derby CSV on behalf of Joan Muriel Hall and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I was 19 years of age when War broke out and for four years worked at Derby Ordnance Stores Factory down Sinfin Lane, Derby along side of soldiers and ATS girls. One of the ‘Code words’ was ‘IADOM’ = ‘It all depends on me’. When some one of importance came to check up on things, all desks (I worked in the office) were lined up with a piece of string!

I married in 1942, June 27th. My husband was in the RAFVR and soon afterwards was posted to India for three years. In between that time I had to do shifts of two weeks days and two weeks nights. We had to practise putting gas masks on in case of emergency.

Once a month I had to report to the Fire Station in Jury Street. 6.0pm — 6.0am on call to take telephone messages. 6 hours on — 6 hours resting, before coming home to go off to work at the Ordnance Depot in the morning.

When the air raid sirens went we either went out in the Air Raid Shelter in the garden, or under the stairs at home. R/R got bombed on one occasion.

Rationing was in full swing, even queuing for 1lb sausages extra at the ‘CO OP Butchers’!

All windows were blacked out when the lights were on, especially during an air raid. Also smoke screens along the streets as I lived in the R/R district.

Clothes coupons, even for furniture, wallpaper etc and for petrol were required.

The ‘Depot’ was used for ‘Spare Parts’ and these were despatched from the Stores to the Units when wanted.

Sometimes as we came home through the main gates we were sent to a hut to be searched in case we had stolen anything of importance.

The ‘ATS girls’ were stationed up at the Normanton Barracks, and could be seen marching up and down Sinfin Lane daily.

On night shift we went to the canteen at 2.30am for one hour to get something hot to eat. Music would be played and one or two would get up for a dance.

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