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As told by two ladies, to Kay Collins in 2006
Wartime Memories & the First Aid Post

Court Estate & Bedford Road First Aid & Warden Post 1941

Back row l-r: Albert Watford, - Willoughby, Sid Parker
3rd row: Jo McCartney, Cyril Berridge, Peter Randle, Mr Simms ,Tony Wallis, ?, Harvey Munday, ?, George Cooper, Tom Chapman
2nd row: ?, ?, Ada Matthews, - Sawford, Edie Mills, Nellie Thompson (nee Stubbs), Mollie Randle, Dorothy Warrington, Dora Cobley, "Mick" Hearn, Kath (later Hind), Mrs Parker
Front row: ?, Mr Kinsey, Mrs Chappell, Mr Chappell, Mrs Kinsey (lived at the farm where we met) Bernard Hearn, Mollie McCartney

First Lady:

A searchlight battery was stationed along the road towards Newton. Girls went on fire watch when sirens were sounded.

Rushden Lodge had a barn which was used for meetings of First Aiders & Air raid wardens. I was one of the first aiders, and Mr Chappell was our teacher.

I went to Newton Bromswold to school and passed the 11 plus examination to go to the County High School at Wellingborough and had to ride my bike from Court Estate to the railway station. The train took me to Midland Road and I had to walk to the school, at least a mile. I left at 14 and started work in a shoe company's office. At 16 you had to sign up to do something towards the war effort - they made army boots so you could be exempt from going to serve but if you volunteered then the company would let you go.

After two days off ill, I went back to complaints of the work being behind – with that I decided to go and do something else. Then one by one the other girls left the office too, one to the ATS, one to the WRAF, one to the WRENS.

I volunteered to go nursing in 1940 - training was at Rugby for 6 months - then I went to a maternity home. Pay was £30 per year to start.

Then after I married, I wanted to stay at home to look after mother - but was told “no, you must go on nursing at either the Park Hospital or the Sanatorium” - all nurses were expected to remain in service for the duration of the war.

Second Lady:

I also passed the 11 plus but I chose to go to the Intermediate School in Hayway as I didn’t want to do that journey to Wellingborough. When I left at 14 I started work in the office at B Denton & Son. Mrs Hensman, affectionately called “Granny Hensman” (she had most beautiful handwriting), had told me I should go to see Mr Brown at Denton's as she had received word that they were looking for a girl. Every Friday I went with Mr Frank Brown, manager, to the bank in the morning to fetch the money, I sat in the car outside whilst he went inside - then opened the door for him to jump back in. In the afternoon soon after lunch I went (alone) on a bus to Kettering - to take the wages to small closing room they had there.

The Managing Director of Denton’s went to USA and brought back a pair of nylons for each of the girls in the office. The feet wore out - so I swapped 3 coupons for a pair of stockings with worn out legs - and used the feet to repair the nylon legs. We got some parachute silk - don’t know where it came from, but we used it to make undies - petticoats and panties.

We always had enough to eat during the war as father had a smallholding where he raised a pig and grew lots of vegetables. Sometimes we had what we called “101 pudding” - 100 pieces of potato to one piece of meat!

I worked at Denton’s until March 1946 - then I married an American and emigrated to the USA.

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