25/01/2004 Mrs Winifred Margaret Morss
Pollards Aircraft Ferry Lane Walthamstow London E17
When I first reported to the above factory I was in one of the first batch of women to be employed there on Aircraft Production (M.A.P) during WWII. Later on there were over 80 women working by the side of the men. I was also one of the last to leave when the factory returned to its original work after the War.
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the work, and the whole factory comradeship which was of course part of the times we lived through. All the shared experiences war time brought. It was an education in itself. Even the bad. When I first started work, it was with several other women under the tuition of DICK HEDGES – an old CARPENTER-JOINER who called us his “young ladies”. His job was to instruct us in assembling “FORMERS” in jigs. These were small wood and glue parts which were then assembled into complete fairings which were covered in MADDAPELIN – a fine EGYPTIAN cotton cloth – and doped! The main frame of the aircraft was of course like a skeleton of LONGERON. The fairings were bolted on – but carried no weight.
Pollards Aircraft only made the two middle parts of the body – G2 and G3 – other parts were made elsewhere. Even whilst I was at Pollards, the Albemarle suffered many modifications. Sometimes we all despaired of the PLANE ever actually being used – however, now I know it was.
I also did some work on the HORSA. I still remember the haste with which we had to glue and tack the SKIN onto the frame because the BETEL GLUE only had a short life and the SKIN had to be fixed whilst the glue was setting.
The same “GLUE” rule also of course applied to the ALBEMARLE. When making the small formers, we had to wipe off all the surplus glue and I remember making a small metal tool used as a scraper to facilitate this (The M.A.P were quite impressed)
The aircraft did at first carry a BOMB FLOOR but this was discontinued as the plane gradually became a GLIDER-tower.
The women became expert at the work and very often teams of one woman and one youth (usually a boy) could assemble a complete G2 and G3 section of the plane with no other aid.
Mrs Winifred Margaret Morss
A special thanks to Les and Winifred Margaret MORSS
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