Interview with Olive Crowther


Interview with Olive Crowther


Olive had two brothers and a sister. One of her brothers joined the army and the other was an air gunner on Lancasters. She left school at fourteen and went to work as a mender at Albion Mills. She then worked on Lancaster navigation panels in the AVRO factory at Yeadon when she was seventeen and stayed there for about five years. She sometimes had to climb into an aircraft to repair a panel. Olive had fun with the other girls at the factory, making up a song together about their work and leisure time and promenading in the park on a Sunday. She met her husband at a dance in Bradford. After the war Olive went back to work at Albion Mills.








00:49:55 audio recording


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit and




AM: Right. We’ll ignore, completely ignore that now. So, what I’d like to talk to you about first, my name’s Annie, and I’m Annie Moody. I’m from the International Bomber Command Centre and today I’m With Olive Crowther and Olive is going to talk to me about working in the Avro factory. But before we talk about the Avro factory can I ask you where were you born, Olive?
OC: [unclear]
AM: In?
OC: Bradford.
AM: Right. And what, what did your parents do? What did your, what sort of job did your, your father do?
OC: Well, my father was a director of haulage. His, his father —
AM: Right. Did you have —
OC: In Bradford.
AM: Ok.
OC: The, he sort of, he was only [pause]
AM: I’ll tell you what don't worry about that. Did you have any brothers and sisters?
OC: Yes.
AM: How many brothers and sisters?
OC: I had one girl. Two —
AM: Two boys.
OC: Two boys. Yes.
AM: So, two brothers and one sister.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah. And can you remember school? What school did you, where did you go to school?
OC: I went [unclear]
AM: Can you remember your school days? Did you enjoy school?
OC: Yes.
AM: You did. How old were you when you left?
OC: Fourteen.
AM: You left at fourteen.
OC: Yes.
AM: So, you would have been —
OC: That was going to work in [pause]
AM: When you left school then what sort of work did you go into?
OC: I went into textiles and I was a mender.
AM: A mender.
OC: Yes. And that was [pause] working on pieces of [unclear]
AM: Like material.
OC: Hmmn?
AM: Material.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: Different material.
AM: So was that where, I’m just trying to think what a mender did. So, as it was coming through the looms —
OC: Yes.
AM: You would mend where the threads had snapped.
OC: Yes.
AM: Right. But then I understand that you went in to the Avro factory. So, thinking about when the war started.
OC: Yes.
AM: What sort of thing, what did you do then? How did you end up working in the Avro factory?
OC: Well, I used to have to repair the, any [slits] any [pause] mending I suppose.
AM: Right.
OC: And there was quite a —
AM: [unclear] Tell me about the Avro factory. You went, you went to Yeadon to work in the Avro factory.
OC: Yes.
AM: Tell me what that was like. Can you remember your first day?
OC: Yes.
AM: What did that feel like? What was it like?
OC: It just felt as if I was there on my own doing the sewing and start at the beginning to do a plan and they were all really nice people I worked with and I really enjoyed it.
AM: Yeah.
OC: It was so different from what I had been doing except that I was working on pieces of wool and cotton and if it snapped or it needed repairing that's what I did.
AM: That's what you did as a mender.
OC: Yes.
AM: But when, when, after you worked as a mender, then you went to the Avro. So that’s before the Avro factory.
Other: Yeah.
AM: Yeah. But then, so probably at [pause] how old were you when you went to the Avro factory?
OC: I'd be about seventeen.
AM: About seventeen.
OC: Sixteen or so.
AM: Right. Ok. So that would be just the first year the war started.
OC: Yes
AM: Probably. Yeah. About 1940.
OC: Because I had to be about two or three years learning in the panel.
AM: The actual panels that you worked on.
OC: Yes.
AM: Because I've been reading that you worked on the, I think it was, was it the instrument panels? The navigation panels.
OC: Yes.
AM: Can you describe to me what you did? What you had to do?
OC: Well, I had to read [pause] I had a panel and had to neatly copy the panel and repair any of the pieces and feel for any breaks.
AM: So, we’re —
Other: I think she’s gone back —
AM: Yeah, we're back on the —
Other: Can I help her because I think I know —
AM: Absolutely.
Other: What she's trying to say.
AM: Yeah.
Other: Mum, you know at Avro when you were doing the navigator’s panels did you have like a circuit and instructions. Is that what you told me?
OC: Yes.
Other: At Avro.
OC: Yes.
Other: Can you describe to Annie how you made, what you did with the panels?
OC: Well, when I was feeling a piece I was actually working on I had to repair —
Other: Hang on. Are you at Albion Mills now?
[recording paused]
OC: In the —
Other: Avro.
AM: At Avro.
OC: Yes.
AM: AV Roe.
OC: Yes, that’s it. Yes. And I had to do a certain amount of work in front of a [pause] well, she was a nurse as I can remember. It was seeing what we can do and I enjoyed doing it.
AM: Yeah.
OC: It was interesting to me. It was entirely different but you know it was —
AM: Very different to working in the mill.
OC: Oh, it was. It was a machine I worked on and had to find all these things that needed repairing or just neat. And that's mainly —
AM: Can you remember what it, what it, when you worked at AV Roe once they’d showed you what you were doing can you remember what you actually had to do with your hands? What were you, you were working on a circuit board. So were you working with wires.
OC: Yes.
AM: Were you doing any soldering or anything like that?
OC: No. I wasn’t.
AM: No.
OC: That was a different —
AM: Right.
OC: I might have had to do a little bit of soldering but they were girls who did nothing but soldering.
AM: Right.
OC: And —
AM: So, so did you come before the soldering? But what did you do? Did you have to put wires into place?
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: And sort of get things ready to repair them and then we go on to this, the panel and make the wires —
AM: Right.
OC: To fit in. And that was the interesting job.
AM: OK. So were they, what were, were they different coloured wires and —
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: They were. I know green was, and red, they were important.
AM: Ok.
OC: And you could, when you were good at it you could see that, just what needed doing.
AM: Did you get really quick?
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: Yes. The first time I did a panel I didn't realise what I could do. I thought, well, I've done this and I’ve not looked at the panel. I sort of did it and sort of remembered even before I started it.
AM: Right.
OC: Because I used to enjoy it.
AM: So, they showed you what to do but then you got quick.
OC: That’s it.
AM: At just doing it by yourself.
OC: Yes. It was, you just looked at the panel and you could remember.
AM: Yes. Where all the bits went.
OC: Yes.
AM: So were you doing that all day?
OC: Yes.
AM: How many panels might you do in a day?
OC: Two or three.
AM: Two or three panels a day.
OC: Yes.
AM: And then —
OC: You see there was, there was a navigator beside it and then there was a pilot panel and from the two panels you could memorise it all. And it got that you could nearly do that there and —
Other: Instructions.
AM: The instructions.
OC: Yes.
AM: You could just do it from memory.
OC: Yes. You could.
AM: Yeah. So how big with the panels? If you want. Show me how big they were.
OC: It’s about, about as big as that.
AM: As big as a piece of paper like that.
OC: Yes.
AM: About that big?
OC: Yes.
AM: Or bigger than that?
OC: Yeah.
AM: About that big.
OC: It’s about that.
AM: Yeah. So, we’re talking about a panel that’s about A4 size. I’m trying to understand where the wires came from and where you actually put them. So, if that was the panel.
OC: Yes.
AM: Where would you be putting the wires. Can you point for me?
OC: Yes.
AM: So, some of them would go in the top corner.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: And then —
AM: You can’t. Oh, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
OC: Well, it’s a long time.
AM: So, Gary, Gary is going to tell us what he thinks you did and you tell him whether he’s right or not.
GR: So, so in the cockpit of a Lancaster.
OC: Yes.
GR: There was an engineer, and a pilot next to him and then you had the navigator and they both had their instrument panels and there would be gauges and everything else. And what Olive would have been doing in the factory is making them panels. So you’d have a gauge which might show air pressure or whatever and obviously the wires that came out the back. So you’ve got your gauge and the wires into the panel doing things with that. And both the panels would be two or three foot wide with lots of different gauges on about the engines. So, they have to be made and that, if I remember rightly at Yeadon what you were doing was making the panels and then they would be sent off and fitted in to the cockpits of Lancasters.
AM: Does that sound right, Olive?
OC: Yes.
AM: It does.
GR: Yeah.
Other: That’s what you always said you did, wasn’t it, mum? You made the navigator’s panels.
GR: Yeah.
Other: Of the Lancaster bombers.
GR: Yeah.
AM: Did you ever, did you ever actually see a Lancaster at that time?
OC: Yes.
AM: You did. I know you’ve seen one since. You’ve seen the one at East Kirkby haven’t you?
OC: The first time I went on the [pause] what did you call it? [pause] The panel.
AM: The first time you —
OC: I went up on the, climbed up.
AM: Oh, right.
OC: Yes.
AM: So you climbed up in to a Lancaster.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: To the, and there were the same girls who went every day and did the things on the panel which they repaired. We all had our own little —
GR: You all had your different jobs, didn't you?
OC: That’s it.
GR: You had one specific job.
OC: On the panel.
GR: And the other girls were doing different things.
OC: Yes.
GR: So did you actually ever get a chance to go inside a Lancaster?
OC: Yes.
GR: Yeah.
OC: If it needed something doing and I was working on.
GR: You were responsible for. They would —
OC: Yes.
GR: They would take you again.
AM: So, they’d take you. You would climb up into it.
OC: Yes.
AM: And actually see the panel in the plane.
OC: Yes.
Other: Wow.
AM: Wow.
Other: At Yeadon.
AM: At Yeadon.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah? Wonderful. Did you enjoy it?
OC: I did.
AM: Yeah. Did you like going in the plane?
OC: I didn't like the plane part because [unclear] and climbing up. I’m not good at climbing.
AM: Well, no. And they’re big aren’t they? It’s a —
OC: Yes.
AM: So, you’d probably go up metal steps to climb in.
OC: Yes.
AM: And then you would have to get right down through it to the front. Can you remember that bit? Because you would have to climb over —
GR: The main spar.
AM: Over the main spar it was called to get right down to the front where the pilot sat.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah. Do you remember that bit?
OC: Yes. I do. Because some of them told me that they’d go to certain places.
AM: Right. Tell me about what sort of things you got up to with the girls in the factory. Did you have fun with the other girls?
OC: Yes.
AM: What sort of things did you do?
OC: Well, we used to [pause]
AM: Did you go dancing?
OC: Oh, yes.
AM: Yeah.
OC: Yes. I liked dancing.
AM: In Leeds?
GR: Olive, can you remember how long were your shifts? You know when you was working did you, did you used to work eight hours in a day or twelve hours in a day? How, you know a normal day how long would you be at work for?
OC: About twelve hours.
GR: About a twelve hour shift.
OC: Yes.
GR: Yeah. And how many shifts a week? Was it seven days a week or did you get a day off?
OC: Well, in a weekend.
GR: Yeah.
OC: We, we used to do a bit more.
GR: Right.
OC: Yes.
GR: Yeah.
OC: We did work. Night work.
GR: You did nights as well.
OC: Yeah.
GR: Right.
OC: Certain times.
GR: Right. And did you work at AV Roe’s for the whole of the war? Was you there five years?
OC: I would be.
GR: Yeah. So, and as Annie was saying obviously you made friends there. You had other girls who you were friendly with.
OC: Yes.
GR: And I presume you went —
OC: From when I first went and started.
GR: Yeah.
OC: [unclear] You know. I worked with two or three girls who lived in Bradford and then we used to get the bus to go to the Avro.
GR: To the factory. Yeah.
OC: But we came from all over.
GR: Yeah.
OC: By bus. Used to travel a long way.
AM: A long way. How many girls worked there? Can you remember? Would there be hundreds?
OC: They were in sections. And I was in and the electrical part.
AM: Yeah. In the electrical section.
OC: And the, yes. And I sort of make a plan. You've got to make your own way of making the —
AM: I'm interested to know what the, what sort of fun you got up to.
OC: Oh, yeah.
AM: I bet you did. What sort of things did you get up to?
OC: Well, making this song.
Oh, are you going to sing me this song?
OC: Yes, I will do.
AM: Go on. Sing the song.
OC: We are the Avro Girls helping to win the war. Helping out the boys who are —
Other: Fighting.
OC: Fighting for their King and country. We work twelve hours a day. Sunday as well. We will never fail you boys. three cheers for the Avro Girls.’
AM: Wonderful.
GR: And did you meet any of the boys?
OC: No. I didn’t anyway. No. Didn’t. You see I was only a schoolgirl.
AM: I suppose so. But you were nearly twenty by the —
OC: Yeah.
AM: You’d be nearly twenty by the end of the war.
OC: Yes.
AM: Where did you meet your husband? Did you meet your husband after the war? Yeah.
OC: At a dance.
AM: Dancing, you see. I knew I was right.
Other: Tell Annie and Gary about your dancing mum. You loved dancing.
GR: Where did you go dancing in Bradford?
OC: In the town.
GR: In the town.
OC: Yes.
GR: Can you remember what the places were called? Was there a Ritz in Bradford? No.
OC: No.
Other: The Connaught rooms?
OC: Yes [unclear]
GR: Yeah. Plenty of soldiers home on leave.
OC: We didn’t have a lot of time, you know.
GR: Yes.
OC: Because we were working full days. We were all ready for bed with all this working.
AM: Were you still living at home with your, you were still living at home with your parents.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah. So you went back home every night.
OC: Yes.
AM: And you got to the factory on a bus. Yeah.
OC: Yeah.
AM: You went on the bus.
OC: It was a travel bus.
AM: Yeah.
OC: Went [pause] you didn't go a long way away. It was just to pick us up.
AM: Just to pick you up and take you there.
OC: Yes.
AM: What was the food like? Did you go to a canteen for your lunch?
OC: Yes, we did do. No. We took sandwiches.
AM: Oh, you took sandwiches.
OC: Yes.
Other: Mum, you remember when you told me about promenading in the park?
OC: Ahum.
Other: Was that during the war?
OC: Yes.
Other: Tell Annie and Gary about that. Tell them what you told me the other week when I asked you what time would you promenade and what did you say? [pause] 3 o'clock you said.
OC: Oh yes. We met up about 3 o'clock. Around about that. And then we just walked around the park and see boys which we thought we'd like.
AM: And what were the boys doing? Watching? They were watching you promenading around.
OC: That’s it. We came around a second time.
AM: That’s reminded me of something else. What sort of clothes did you wear in the factory? What sort, when you were at Avro, when you were doing your panels what close sort of clothes were you in? Were you in overalls or trousers?
OC: If you wanted to.
AM: Right.
OC: But I didn't, I just wore an overall.
AM: Ok.
OC: And you could go out straight away and I never got dirty.
AM: No.
OC: Working on the electrical thing.
AM: Because it was all doing it with your fingers, wasn't it? So —
OC: And I think there might be something else because there is a factory very near to Avro so you know you could, once you’d learned something you could go and get, I've never done it because I had Phillip and he's such a friend.
AM: Right.
OC: Went to school because that would be five then. So I still kept on working.
AM: You still kept working afterwards.
OC: Yeah. Yeah. Because they wanted workers there.
AM: Have you got some more questions? Some more things.
GR: You know your brothers and sisters? Were they involved during the war?
OC: Well, they were a lot older than me.
GR: Yeah.
OC: So, they did work.
GR: Yeah.
Other: What was Maurice? What was Uncle Maurice? Wasn’t he in Africa?
OC: He was —
Other: An officer wasn’t he?
OC: He went —
GR: So, your brother Maurice was —
AM: In the Army.
GR: In the Army.
OC: In the Army.
GR: Yeah.
OC: With —
Other: Was it Rommel?
GR: He was in North Africa.
Other: Yeah. I think he was with Rommel. Do you remember that?
GR: Yeah.
Other 2: Montgomery.
Other: Montgomery.
GR: Yeah. Your brother was probably a Desert Rat under Montgomery.
OC: Yes.
GR: 7th Army Division so, and any other brothers and sisters?
Other: Yes. There’s another brother.
GR: Another brother. Yeah. Can you remember where your other brothers were during the war?
Other: What did George do, mum?
Other 2: He was actually on the Lancaster bombers as a middle gunner.
Other: Oh, was he?
Other 2: If I remember rightly.
Other: Yeah.
Other 2: That’s what he said didn’t he?
Other: George.
AM: So, one of your brothers actually flew in a Lancaster then.
OC: Yes.
AM: In Bomber Command as a gunner.
OC: Yes. He could have been.
AM: As a gunner.
GR: Yeah.
AM: Right.
OC: [Unclear] Away from home.
AM: Yes. Yeah.
GR: Did he, did he survive the war?
OC: He did didn’t he?
Other 2: Yes.
Other: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I never met him.
GR: No.
Other: Did you meet George?
Other 2: I was really young. I can’t remember really.
Other: Yeah.
AM: Any other stories we should be asking your mum?
OC: I know what you meant.
Other: Let's just think. I think you've covered a lot actually. The dancing. She was big on the dancing. But yeah, the point is they were working twelve hours a day as it says in the song. I think it was six days a week.
GR: Yeah.
Other: Six days a week mum? Did you get one day off?
OC: There was always a Sunday in it.
Other: You’d always work on a Sunday.
OC: Yes.
GR: I seem to remember that the factories they were definitely twelve hour shifts. So, you’d be either —
Other: Yeah.
GR: Working days or you’d be doing night shifts.
OC: Yeah.
GR: And it probably was six shifts a week.
Other: Yeah.
OC: Yes.
GR: And they probably let you out on a Sunday.
AM: To promenade.
Other: Yeah.
GR: So that was when you were promenading. Yeah. So —
Other: In Peel Park.
GR: Yeah.
Other: In the best dress.
AM: Oh lovely.
Other: Yeah.
GR: Yeah.
Other: Yeah. And what, do you remember when I asked you last week when we were in that park and you just suddenly started to remember about those promenades. Was Wynn there with you? Did Wynn promenade?
OC: Yes.
Other: She did. And I said to you how long did you promenade for? And can you remember what you said? I'll ask you again how long did you promenade for?
OC: Just about an hour or so.
Other: That's not what you said [laughs] last time.
AM: Watching the boys.
Other: Yeah.
AM: Watching the boys watching the girls.
OC: It was the girls watching.
AM: Well, that's what I mean. You’re all watching each other.
OC: Yeah.
AM: But then then after the war you carried on working in a factory.
OC: Yeah.
AM: Yeah.
Other: Didn’t you go back to Albion Mills after the war?
OC: I did for a while.
Other: Straight after the war. What happened when the war finished? What did you do?
OC: Do you know I can't remember.
AM: No.
Other: You once told me you went back to Albion Mills which was where you were before at Greengates.
OC: [unclear] so much about it.
AM: It's a long time ago, Olive.
Other: It is. It is.
AM: Where did you meet your husband?
OC: At a dance.
AM: At a dance.
GR: Yeah.
AM: Yeah. That dancing has got a lot to answer for.
OC: Yeah [laughs]
Other: Wasn’t it the Kings Hall, mum? The Kings Hall in Bradford. Where you met my dad. The Kings Hall.
OC: No. I didn’t go to that.
GR: [unclear] The Kings Hall in Bradford.
Other: That's where you met my dad wasn’t it? At the Kings Hall.
OC: No.
Other: Where was it then?
OC: New Victoria.
AM: The New Victoria.
GR: The New Vic.
AM: And what, what was he like? Did he ask you to dance?
OC: Yes.
AM: Was it love at first sight or did it take longer than that?
OC: No. We got married.
AM: Well, yeah. And then, have you got, how many children? You've got two children. Yeah. Who are with us today. Olive, can you think of any other stories that I’ve missed? Any other stories about Avro or the war that I’ve missed.
OC: Well, there were all sorts.
AM: Well, tell me.
Other: Now's your chance.
AM: Now's your chance to tell me about them.
Other: Tell us things you've never told us before about Avro.
OC: It was all about working. I seemed to be working every day.
AM: Well, you did work everyday. Can you remember how much you got paid?
OC: [unclear]
AM: A few pounds.
OC: Yes.
AM: Did you have to give the money to your mum? Or could you keep some?
OC: Yes.
AM: You kept some of your wages.
OC: Yes.
AM: For clothes. For promenading in the park.
OC: That’s it.
AM: I bet you got up to all sorts. Yeah. Were there any men working at the factory?
OC: Yeah.
AM: Because sometimes there were older men and young boys in the factory weren't there?
OC: There would be some but we were not doing heavy working with men.
AM: Did you play tricks on them?
OC: Oh yeah.
AM: Oh, go on. Tell me some of the tricks you used to play. What sort of tricks did you play on them?
OC: All sorts.
AM: I know but what?
GR: Not telling.
Other: Come on. Tell us. You won’t get in to trouble now.
OC: No. I don’t think so.
AM: I've heard lots of stories about girls in Avro factories.
Other: Yeah.
GR: Did you have any boyfriends while you worked in the factory?
OC: I can't remember any particular one. Only [pause] I don't know.
AM: Just lots. Just lots of them.
GR: Just a few.
OC: I mean I think I did more —
AM: Dancing and things.
OC: Yeah.
Other: Tell Annie and Gary about that lovely green dress. That was your favourite dress, wasn't it?
OC: Yes. I used to [laughs] I’d got quite a few dresses. We did. And this particular day I’d been to the dance and the young man I danced with after a while he said to me, ‘Is that the only dress you’ve got?’ I was aghast.
AM: What was it like? Your green dress?
OC: It was all in one.
AM: Yeah.
OC: I can’t remember the —
AM: Did it have sleeves or did you have, and did you have a bare neckline or was it right up to your neck?
OC: I haven’t brought the dress have I?
AM: You can’t. But it was green. We know it was green.
Other: Can you remember where you got it from or did you make it?
OC: Richard’s.
Other: Richard’s? Was that a shop in Bradford?
OC: Yeah.
Other: Oh.
OC: Richards. A bunch of people went to Richard.
Other: This was during the war?
OC: Yes. But it had only just finished.
AM: It’s just gone.
Other: Yeah.
AM: Did you make some of your own dresses? Did you make your dresses as well?
OC: Occasionally.
AM: Yeah.
OC: But I wouldn’t like to keep —
AM: No. You'd rather just buy them.
OC: Yes.
AM: Yeah. I don't blame you.
OC: Happy.
AM: I still want to hear about some of these tricks you got up to.
Other: We all do.
OC: I think they do more now.
AM: Oh, I bet they do.
OC: Yes.
AM: I've heard about the Avro girls.
OC: Have you?
AM: Oh, I have. When because the, there would be some boys at the factory but much older men.
OC: Yes.
AM: And some conscientious objectors.
Other: Oh gosh.
OC: Some had to go.
AM: So, the young boys would then have to join the Army.
OC: Yes.
AM: A way through. Yeah. And I’ve heard stories about playing tricks on them. I can't remember any of them. Can you?
Other: Did you used to play tricks on them, mum? You and your friends.
OC: Yes.
Other: Did you? What did you do?
OC: Well, we’d do something to their panels.
Other: Oh, my goodness.
OC: Nothing serious.
Other: [laughs] Nothing serious.
OC: We used to say, they used to be talking about the men, you know. Saying what we’d like to go and what they’d like to do.
AM: I don't think you're gonna tell us much more are you? Keeping it close to your chest.
GR: I’m sure you had a good five years. Working and enjoying.
AM: Can I ask you another? One more. Another question. So you were near Leeds. Do you actually remember being bombed? Do you remember any bombs coming down?
OC: Just one.
AM: Yeah.
OC: It was a Friday night. Can you remember?
Other: No. I wasn't there.
OC: You were in at one time.
Other: Are we talking about the bombs at Avro?
AM: The bomb at Avro in the war.
GR: Did the factory ever get bombed?
OC: I think they were trying to find it.
GR: Yeah.
OC: But never found it.
GR: No.
Other: And what did they put on the roof to —
OC: Oh, animals [laughs] cows.
Other: Cows.
OC: But they were all —
Other: Plastic cows.
AM: Oh, plastic cows.
OC: Yeah.
AM: To make it look like a field.
OC: Yes.
Other: And grass.
OC: Seemed they didn’t bother with that.
AM: Right. But you remember one bombing.
Other: Yeah.
AM: A bomb coming down on a Friday.
OC: At Laisterdyke.
Other: Laisterdyke.
Other 2: Yeah. They had a big railway there, didn’t they?
Other: Oh yes. There was a station wasn’t there?
Other 2: A big railway network.
Other: Yeah. Yeah.
Other 2: That was what they were after.
Other: That was closed in the 60s. I wonder if they bombed that then.
Other 2: They did. Or tried to.
Other: Gosh. Oh right. And where were you when that happened?
OC: I was at home.
Other: You were at home. Right. Yeah, because you lived near Laisterdyke.
OC: Yes, we did.
Other: Yeah. Did you hear it?
OC: Yes.
Other: What did you hear?
OC: Banging. You know, bombing.
Other: Really. Gosh. How long did it go on for?
OC: Do you remember, Geoff?
Other: No.
Other 2: No. We don’t.
Other: We don’t remember. How long did the bombing go on for? Was it an hour?
OC: Perhaps it was [unclear]
Other: Yeah. Did you have a bunker?
OC: Yeah. We all had.
Other: In the garden.
OC: Yeah.
Other: So, were you in the bunker at that point?
OC: I don’t think so. We didn’t want to go in to the bunker.
AM: Was it cold and uncomfortable?
Other: Was it?
AM: Yeah. You’d rather stay in the house.
OC: Yeah.
AM: As long as they didn’t come to near.
Other: Yeah.
AM: You've got a twinkle in your eye. I still say there is more to this than meets the eye. [laughs] I'm going to switch my recorder off and I bet you start telling me stories.
[recording paused]
AM: Did you do anything like that? Let’s move that out of the way. Oh, have you dropped your blanket? Here we are. Here we are. There we are.
OC: [unclear] But that was after the war.
AM: After the war. Oh right. Syrup of figs was the laxative of choice.
OC: And gin.
Other: Gin?
AM: And gin? You drank gin.
OC: Yeah.
AM: Not for the same purpose though. You like a tipple then.
OC: Yes.
AM: Did you smoke?
OC: Yes.
AM: You smoked as well.
OC: I didn’t.
AM: You didn’t smoke.
GR: No.
AM: No.
OC: Neither of my sisters did.
AM: They didn’t smoke either.
OC: No.
AM: Because lots of people did, didn’t they?
OC: Oh, they did.
GR: Yeah.
AM: Yeah.
OC: What was I going to say?
AM: I don’t know. What were you going to say?
OC: I can’t remember.
AM: Does she keep nudging you to remind you?
Other: You were going to tell us what you got up to. What little tricks you got up to in Avro.
OC: Well, I didn't do a lot of tricks.
Other: Did the other girls?
OC: Some did.
Other: What did they do?
OC: Some came from Blackpool and they came on the train and they used just got to this train and used to stay [unclear] I need to think [pause] they were always —
Other: They were always what?
OC: Hmmn?
Other: They were always —? [pause] Did they come from Blackpool to work?
OC: No. They were nights out.
Other: Oh right. Ok.
AM: There were a lot of soldiers in Blackpool. There were lots of airmen in Blackpool because a lot of them did their training in Blackpool.
OC: Yes, because I met one.
Other: Oh. In Blackpool?
OC: Yes.
Other: Oh, did you? Where was that?
Other: At a dance?
OC: Yes.
Other: Oh. And what was his name?
OC: Hmmn?
Other: What was he called?
OC: Eric.
Other: Eric. How often did you see Eric? A few times?
OC: Hmmn?
Other: A few times?
OC: Yes.
Other: And what happened to Eric?
OC: I just told him to go.
Other: You did. Why? Had enough?
OC: Yeah.
Other: Oh dear. Poor Eric.
OC: [singing] We are the Avro Girls helping to win the war, helping out the boys who are fighting for their King and country. We work twelve hours a day, Sunday as well. We will never fail you boys. Three cheers for the Avro Girls.



Annie Moody, “Interview with Olive Crowther,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 21, 2024,

Item Relations

This item has no relations.