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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Lest we forget

Today is Armistice Day , on which we honour those who have fallen in war. We should never forget, too, the contribution made by those who helped the war effort at home. During WWII, many young women worked in the ordnance factories, such as the one at Risley, Warrington, making ammunition and bombs. The explosive powder they used turned the girls’ hair and skin yellow; they were sometimes nicknamed the ‘Canary Girls.’ The women wore special safety gloves; their faces were protected by a reinforced glass screen. It was tiring work wearing the heavy gloves; if the girls removed them, the heat from their hands could set off the explosive, and many lost fingers as a result.
You can still see the remains of Risley Royal Ordnance Factory at Birchwood Forest Park, now a nature reserve, with birds, dragonflies and wildflowers. It’s hard to believe this site was once home to frantic activity as the unsung heroines of Risley ‘did their bit’ to help the boys at the front.


Red Smudge (aka Alison) said...

Today I have been doing some research on the work my Gran did in the Royal Ordnance Factories in Renfrewshire. It is not only Armistice Day but her 89th birthday and I was trying to bring back some memories for her. I was so surprised to discover that somewhere where I had spent 12 years of my teenage life, and somewhere we had both walked through was related also. Risley Moss as we used to call it provides a wonderful link. As you say, lest we forget.

Sue Wilkes said...

Hi Alison, thank you for stopping by. I used to live near Risley Moss and we had some smashing walks there. I was lucky enough to interview some of the ladies who worked at Risley ROF for the January 1999 issue of 'Best of British' magazine. They had some amazing stories to tell.