- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mrs Dorothy Wall
- Location of story:
- Yate, South Gloucestershire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 February 2005
My parents were licensees of the Railway Hotel in Yate during the War and of course they were very busy because Parnalls had two lunch hours, one for the aircraft factory workers and one for the administrative workers. Parnalls had a canteen run by a gentleman who had been a catering officer for P and O cruise lines. Even so, there was only 45 minutes for the workers lunch break. so the hotel bar became very busy and there was also a market every week.
We had just closed, it must have been about 2 o'clock. The siren went off and immediately, before it had stopped, the bombs were dropping. It was a single aircraft. Some bombs dropped on the factory, but some dropped on a gunnery school which probably tested the gun turrets, a number of them were killed during the air-raid. In that first raid a number of factory workers were killed.The German aircraft came in so low that you could see the pilot, a large part of the factory was very badly damaged so they evacuated some departments and then scattered them where they could. The cider factory at Melksham was a dispersal point, one in the Keynsham area, Bath, Wickwar and also in Bristol. Coaches would pick the workers up every evening from Yate and take them to the different premises for the nightshifts and also dayshifts. Parts of the factory were still usable, the factory made gun turrets for bomber aircraft. On the next payday Parnalls set up a couple of tables in the car park and paid the wages from there.
The second time Parnalls was bombed, it was again by a lone plane, but by this time most of the production was elsewhere. The plane only had to follow the railway line to find the factory, which lay alongside the line at Yate. There were women working on the Production line at Parnalls all through the war.
Until the Second Front was opened there were always three or four long Red Cross carragies waiting in the siding at Yate until they were required.
Yate also had an engineering factory called Newmans and they made shell casings there; and there were women working there too, although it was realy far too heavy work for them.
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