Kingston Aviation
Cyril Herridge
Transcript: 5
‘Staying at the bench’ – carrying on working during air raids
So if they got the early warning presumably they would then, and after they had hauled this barrel up the observation platform, presumably then they would be taking some sort of action within the factory.

Well, I can only say probably so, ’cause I am talking about boys, my father never used to talk about it.  All I knew about air raids was the men in the factory were given the option of going to air raid shelters or carrying on with war production.  And in their lapels they all had a badge, and if they wore the badge, and I can’t remember which way round it was, at the time, they were entitled to go to the air raid shelters without being challenged by management.  And those that chose to stay at their bench and work through an air raid were also allowed to do so.

So they had, so at some point they’ve been given the option of, presumably it was an option, of being able to go to the air raid shelter or to stay at their benches, to stay at their stations during air raid shelters


Oh right, so presumably

And that was quite openly talked about by families, say, “Oh, well I actually stay at the bench”.  You could hear your dad saying it. Needless to say and it, I don’t know if it is fair to tell you this bit, but needless to say, all of the men that stayed at their station, knew those that didn’t, and they used to think less of them.  I can only say in conversation as a boy listening. I can see that attitude. Of course that was a choice.

I mean it was quite, do you know if your father was one that stayed at his bench


So he did

He was, well I must back track on this one, he was such a task master for that sort of thing. I suppose being an ex-regular soldier and artillery man it must have been in his blood, I don’t know.  Oh yes he stayed all the time, he could name those that stayed and those that didn’t.

So there was a definite, there was a definite, and presumably there was a division, shall we say,

Yes, that’s a fair word

A division between people who, between the people who did stay at their stations during the raids and those who had opted not to do that

Yes, and that was normal understanding.  All of us that lived near the factory knew that.  And the unbiased would say well they have got the choice if they want to take cover they do.