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Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on Memories of a Scarf

Pam Taylor

I've just been reading through all the interesting stories being posted at the moment about Warwickshire people during the Second World War. They have reminded me of a story my mother told me. During this war she worked in "munitions" at the Rootes Factory along the London Road at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, cycling the 12 miles each way from Hillmorton. She did a "man's job" - turning a centre lathe to make bushes for aeroplane engines - heavy work and a long shift from 7.00 p.m. to 7.00 a.m., an hour off in the middle of the night for a meal.

Sometimes the whole of the shift was spent in the air raid shelter when there were raids over Coventry. She and her workmakes kept up their spirits by singing and telling stories, emerging after the raids were over to find burning hedgerows all around.

One particular night it was very cold in the shelter and a colleague lent her a scarf as she had forgotten hers. She cycled home wearing it and brought it back the following evening in order to return it to him. He didn't turn up that evening and she never saw him again.

About a week later, the news came that he had been killed in a raid.

Apparently, it was quite usual for people to use the vaults beneath Coventry Cathedral as a shelter - he had been there the night the Cathedral was destroyed. My mother kept this scarf for the rest of her life and I have it now. I would love to return it to her workmate's family but, alas, I have forgotten his name.

Incidentally, if anyone knows which type of plane the engines at Rootes were being made for, I would be very interested to know.

Written by Pam Taylor