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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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A womans place in the home guard.

by hcwoodhouse

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Contributed by 
hcwoodhouse
People in story: 
Evelyn May Jones
Location of story: 
Burton On Trent, Staffordshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A6844449
Contributed on: 
10 November 2005

This photograph was taken after the disbanding parade of our Company. Three ladies are with them. I am the one in the middle of the three.

It doesn't seem to be generally known that women auxiliaries were enrolled to take on duties with the Home Guard to release men for training for more active duties.
I was enrolled into Burton Upon Trent Company and was trained as a phonogram operator and after passing the examination did a couple of hours every week and if necessary twice a week. There were five of us in our Company, two women were also drivers. We also took a first aid course and a map reading course.
We attended the weekend camp held in a deserted old hall but were not allowed to stay overnight. Someone had to drive us back home and bring us back the next morning. One Saturday night thick, dense fog came down and of course there was a "black-out" at night, you couldn't see your hand in front of you. We still had to be taken although there was a separate dormitory available. Propriety had to be observed at all times in those days which seems strange today. We had no uniform, just a badge. However, we all were sent a certificate which read as follows, "I have received the King's Command to express His Majesty's appreciation of the loyal service given voluntarily to her country in time of grievous danger by Evelyn May Jones as a Woman Home Guard Auxilary,
L.J.Grigg, Secretary of State for War.
The War Office
London"
I still have this certificate.

During the day time, I was doing my war work employed at the nearby Ordnance Depot, and was a member of the A.F.S there with quite a few other young volunteers. We were lucky as there was never a fire. I enjoyed the lectures and indoor practice, but not the practice outside on winter days.
We did have one very cold winter which I remember well. We were outside with the standpipe, hose and jet, snow banked up all around us; and some men were unloading lorries. They kept calling to us, whistling and laughing and the Fire Chief who was with us said "Take no notice of those men, you could laugh at them because they haven't the courage to do what you are doing." His words warmed our hearts but not our fingers and toes.
My husband was in the Air Force in North Africa, Sicily and Italy at the time and I would have done anything to help the War Effort.

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