Interview with Marian Hollier


Interview with Marian Hollier


Marion Hollier served as a wireless operator in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force from February 1944 to September 1946. Before the war she worked in a construction firm, The George Wimpey Company, which built aerodromes. She learned the Morse code in the Women’s Junior Air Corps. Tells of her father who served as a telegraphist in the First World War. Later on, she joined the Air Training Corps. She was trained at RAF Wilmslow, then Blackpool on the Morse code, before moving to RAF Ludford Magna, with 101 Squadron, and from there to RAF Wickenby with 626 and 12 Squadron. At RAF Wickenby her duties included radio transmitting and carrying out inspections on aircraft. While she was stationed at RAF Ludford Magna, she witnessed enemy aircraft strafing headquarters.




Temporal Coverage




00:38:19 audio recording


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AHollierM171016, PHollierM1701


DK: Right, I think we’re ok. So, this is David Kavanagh for the International Bomber Command Centre interviewing Mrs. Hollier on the 16th of October 2017. I’ll just put that down there and if I keep looking down, I’m just making sure it’s working. Yeah, we’re ok. Could I just ask you then what were you doing immediately before the war?
MH: I was in, it’s another funny thing, I was in the accounts department of the George Wimpey company who built most of the aerodromes, so of course, I knew everything about aerodromes all over the place but I did belong to the Women’s Junior Air Corps and in there I learnt Morse. And my father was a telegraphist in the First World War, so I suppose the radio bit hereditary, so I decided that I was about coming seventeen and a half I will join the RAF
DK: Did, was Morse something that came easy to you?
MH: Yes, so I, that’s what I joined the RAF, which we were sent to Wilmslow in Cheshire for the six weeks square bashing and injections and what have you and then went to Blackpool for three months on a radio course doing the Morse and then after three months we were sent to Compton Bassett in Wiltshire to finish the course. And from there I went to, oh dear, my mind’s gone
US: Ludford?
MH: Where did I go to first?
US: Ludford
MH: Ludford,
DK: Ludford Magna
MH: Ludford, sorry about that [laughs]
DK: [unclear]
MH: My mind’s gone.
DK: That’s right, we’re [unclear]
MH: But I wasn’t there at Ludford Magna all that long but one did have a scare there one night, I was busy taking a Morse message and my colleagues just dived underneath the benches there oh my god but I had to keep on doing the Morse and so finished and I said, [unclear] what’s wrong with you lot? The Germans had followed our aircraft in and strafed our headquarters.
DK: Oh, right
MH: So that was a bit of a scare
DK: So Ludford Magna then, whereabouts were you [unclear], were you in the control tower there or?
MH: No, no
DK: Right
MH: We had our headquarters in the main building
DK: Ah! Alright, ok. So, what would’ve been your role there? You are sitting there and you’re receiving messages or you’re transmitting them?
MH: Yes, receiving message for aircraft coming in and yes, and they strafed the headquarters, so that was scary and then I suppose I must have been there for about six months or so and I was transferred to Wickenby because Morse was coming to an end then so that wasn’t necessary so they put me into the wireless section, the radio section and that was doing the daily inspections on the Lancasters and that’s where I met my husband and there again we had a scare because the Germans who liked to come in after our aircraft and start bombing but this particular day some chaps said to my husband would you like to change shifts with me? So he said yes, I don’t mind because they used to have to go out, when the aircraft were coming in and going out they used to have a radar van that used to go round the airfield, so this chap said, oh, thanks, anyway the same thing happened, the Germans came in our aircraft and the bomb dump went up and this poor chap was killed, he had changed with Eric for this to go out somewhere, so that was scary.
DK: If I can just take you back to Ludford Magna, did you know anything about the squadron there, 101 Squadron?
MH: Yes
DK: Because they were special squadron, weren’t they, with radio countermeasures?
MH: Yes I don’t think I knew a lot about Ludford Magna
DK: No. They didn’t mention anything about what the squadron was doing
MH: No, no
DK: No. Ok, so, you’ve gone on to Wickenby then and you said that Morse wasn’t being used so much. You’re now transmitting by radio, is that what’s happened? You, at Wickenby
MH: Yes
DK: You are using radio now instead of Morse
MH: No, we’d be doing the daily inspections on the aircraft
DK: Ah, right, ok, right. So what would that involve then?
MH: Go onto the aircraft and testing the headphones and all the radio equipment, was it, 1154, 1155, I think they were [laughs] and
DK: So
MH: But of course, I wasn’t trained to do that so I only did menial jobs on the aircraft
DK: And that would be after the raid
MH: Yes
DK: Would these be the following morning, so you’d go out to the aircraft and then
MH: Yes, and do an inspection on them before they went off again, but I mean, they used to come in and go out and sometimes there was no chance that you could do an inspection on them
DK: And then so, what did the inspection sort of involve then? Did you take the radios out or are you inspecting?
MH: Yeah, just to see if they were working alright
DK: Yeah
MH: That sort of thing
DK: Yeah. And how long were you at Wickenby for then?
MH: From forty, I did write it down somewhere, can’t remember what I’ve done with it,
DK: [unclear]
MH: Don’t think that’s in there, I was there from about March ’44 until about September ’45 and then I got sent to Sturgate on 50 and 61 Squadron and that was just in looking after headsets and that sort of thing, nobody was interested in doing anything at the end of the war [laughs] and then, have you ever heard of Ralph Reader?
DK: I haven’t, no, no
MH: Well, he did gang shows for the forces and then at the end of the war he decided he would do a gang show involving all the people who were involved in the war, all the services, the fire people, the police, everything and it was going to be held in Royal Albert Hall and they were asking for people who lived near London if they would like to come and do it and so that we could work in the week and at weekends we could go home and that’s what happened with many because I lived in Middlesex
DK: Right
MH: So, and then we were based at Epping during the week and that went on for about three weeks so that was something interesting after the war and a lot of people don’t remember
DK: No
MH: Because if you weren’t involved you wouldn’t remember. And then I got sent to RAF [unclear] at Eastcote in Middlesex which was near my home, so we got billeted out and a friend of mine that I was at Wickenby with, she got sent to Eastcote and we were allowed to go home to my mother and father at the week, every week and they, we got billeted there
DK: Yeah. So how long were you in the Air Force for altogether?
MH: From beginning of February 1944 until November 1946, because I got married 194, September 1946, so I had to come out anyway
DK: You had to come out with, if you got married, did you?
MH: But I did enjoy my life in the RAF
DK: Just going back a little bit, you mentioned a bit earlier about the ground crew, did you see much of what the groundcrew did on, at Wickenby?
MH: No, not really, because you just stayed in your own section.
DK: Ah, right
MH: But, one thing is when I was at Wickenby, somebody came up and said to me, you’ve got to see one of the officers, so I said, what for? No, I can’t tell you, she says, you’ve gotta come with me, so I got to this office and said, [unclear] the officer, and he says, I understand your name is Taunt, T-A-U-N-T, so I said, yes, that’s right, it turned out he was a long distant cousin of mine. No, I didn’t know him, I didn’t know him at all and they owned the red bus company in Birmingham and his wife bred Bedlington terriers [laughs], that was funny. But a lot didn’t happen to me, not [unclear] exciting, did some exciting things [laughs]
DK: So what did it feel like then when you used to see the aircraft going off on the raids? How did that?
MH: Well, we all, if we were on duty we would be out there watching everything,
DK: You were, yes
MH: Yes, yes
DK: So can you recall what actually happened then as you watched the aircraft take off?
MH: No, not really, just hoping they would all come back.
DK: Did you use to wave to them?
MH: Yes, yes, yes, but when we went on this trip to Canberra, I got talking to two gentlemen there and they were looking at this aircraft so I said, you are looking very lovingly at that aircraft, yes, he said, we were on this squadron during the war, I said, oh yes, were you? Whereabouts? Oh, you wouldn’t know whereabouts, so I said, well, try me, so he said, well, we were in a place called Lincolnshire, I said, oh yes, and whereabouts in Lincolnshire? Oh, he says, that’s no good, we were only in a village, so I said, well, tell me the name of the village then, he said, Wickenby. And he was there in ’45 when I was there
DK: Yeah, And they were Australians, were they?
MH: They were Australians, yes
DK: Oh, right
MH: And he wrote a book of poems, his name is Jeff Magee and he wrote a book of poems and he sent us a book of poems and every year when we used to go back to Australia we used to meet up with him but he’s gone now
DK: Do you, can you recall what type of aircrew he was? Was he a pilot or?
MH: Oh, he was a pilot
DK: He was a pilot, yeah
MH: Yes, yes and his friend was a gunner
DK: Right
MH: And they both survived but it was amazing to go twelve thousand miles
DK: And bump into
MH: And to meet up with these two people
DK: You didn’t remember each other from Wickenby then?
MH: Sorry?
DK: You didn’t remember each other from Wickenby?
MH: Oh no, no, no, but it was funny that all this business of this chat, chat, chat to think that we were at Wickenby at the same time during the war or after the war I should say
DK: So were you actually with 626 Squadron or
MH: With 626 and 12
DK: And 12, alright, ok
MH: Yes, yes, we did both squadrons,
DK: Right
MH: The radio school did both then
DK: So the radio school there wasn’t allocated to one or either of the squadrons
MH: No
DK: You just did both squadrons on the base, yeah
MH: Both, yes
DK: So what was it like living on the base there, did you have much of a social life?
US: [unclear]
MH: I didn’t
US: I think you did, [unclear] the story you told me, I think you did
MH: [laughs] we
DK: [unclear]
MH: No, one thing that we did have was the Americans, they were, they [unclear] Scunthorpe
DK: Right
MH: And they used to send a truck down to take the WAAFs for dances
DK: Right
MH: But I didn’t go on one of them, no, I didn’t like Americans [laughs], my son-in-law is American
DK: Oh right
MH: No, they were up to no good [laughs]
DK: So did you manage to, apart from the Americans, did you manage to get off the base at all? Did you go to the pubs?
MH: Oh yes, I took my bicycle with me all over the place and it’s amazing now to think that from Wickenby or Ludford Magna to Louth was, is a long way but we used to cycle and then, when we had time off, when I was at Compton Basset, I lived, my grandmother lived in Berkshire, which is not all that far from Compton Bassett, with my mother’s home is round there, so I used to skive off and one day I did skive off and I left my bed, cause we used to have to make our bed everyday but this day I left the bed and put that bolster in the bed and skived off overnight and I got caught [laughs] and spent some days peeling potatoes in the canteen [laughs]
DK: So how, when you are on the base then and the aircraft have all gone off on their operations, did you wait for them to come back?
MH: Well, only if we are on duty because at Wickenby the WAAF section was on one side of the airfield
DK: Right
MH: So unless we were on duty, no
DK: So, the WAAF section then was quite someway
MH: Yes
DK: From the rest of the base?
MH: Yes
DK: Right
MH: Yes, cause when we see it now, you know the road that we come in, that right-hand side was where all the WAAF was
DK: Alright. That’s at Wickenby is that as you got to the control tower
MH: Yes
DK: So, you were on the right on the road there
MH: Yes, yesh
DK: Right. So how, when you did see them come back how did you feel about them as they all came back damaged aircraft and things?
MH: A bit tearful you’ve, because they, in the section we had a list of the aircraft that were going out and coming back and some of them didn’t come back, didn’t know what happened to them, dreadful. Their choice, flying
DK: So, how did you feel once it was all over then and the war came to an end?
MH: Elated, glad it was over. We, my husband and I, when he was my husband then, we skived off, got a train to Grantham, and cleared off home and came back a week later but we didn’t get any jankers for that [laughs]
DK: So there was a bit of a celebration then, was it, for the end of the war?
MH: Yes, yes
DK: Yeah. And how do you look back on your time now [unclear]?
MH: I loved it, yes, I loved being in the Air Force,
DK: And was that your main role then, just the radios?
MH: Yes, yes
DK: And can you still do the Morse now, if you [unclear]?
MH: I could do it, that’s where my Morse key that I had when I was at Ludford Magna is there
DK: Oh right, right
MH: And they hadn’t got one
DK: And it’s on display now
MH: It’s on display, yes, yes
DK: And you say you received messages then you would
MH: Yes, yes
DK: And what sort of messages were they?
MH: They were all in code
DK: Right, alright, ok
MH: Yes, but we didn’t do the code, we had to pass that on for somebody else to do
DK: So you wouldn’t really know what the message was
MH: No
DK: Right, ok, so
MH: When it was in code
DK: So it’s in code and then it’s deciphered elsewhere
MH: Yes
DK: Right. And if you transmit to them, was that in code as well?
MH: That in code
DK: So you pass the code
MH: Yes
DK: So the message you are sending out, you also [unclear]
MH: Yes, you wouldn’t know what the code was, no, no
DK: Did you sort of [unclear] that and wonder what you were saying or?
MH: No, I was young, wasn’t I? Seventeen and eighteen [laughs]
DK: So, once the Morse finished then, you were transmitting by radio? Presumably that wasn’t in code then
MH: Say that again
DK: Once Morse had finished, you said radios came in, you weren’t speaking in code then
MH: It was all in code, didn’t have anything in plain language
DK: Oh
MH: I didn’t
DK: Right
MH: No,
DK: Ok
MH: I liked the Morse code. When I came out and we moved to Horsham in West Sussex, I joined the Air Training Corps
DK: Right
MH: And taught them Morse, that happened for a little while, why I don’t know
DK: It’s not used very much now, is it? It’s not used today.
MH: No, well, they had what they called Morse lip reading and then, oh, what else did they have? There is the same as the aircraft, they change as well because they had a blister under the aircraft radar, and my husband one of the first people to go on a course for that
MH: Yes, that radar
DK: Yeah, H2S
MH: At Yatesbury
DK: Right. So, he was, he worked on the radar [unclear]
MH: Yes
DK: Yeah
MH: Yes, yes
DK: OK, well, I’m happy with that if you’re ok
MH: Not very interesting.
DK: It’s very interesting, if you ask me. You’ve got a photo here. Right, this is
MH: That’s Wickenby
DK: Right, this is just for the recording then, so
MH: That is a, on the back of this, that’s the radio section
DK: Alright. So, just for the recording here, we’ve got a picture of a Lancaster with
MH: Yes
DK: Are you in this?
MH: Somewhere [laughs], I think I’ve circled where my husband and I are [laughs]
DK: Oh, ok. So this is the signal station at RAF Wickenby, June 1945. So, assuming that sort of something taken for the end of the war, was it, a sort of souvenir?
MH: Well, I suppose so
DK: Yeah
MH: I can’t remember.
DK: So, it’s got the names of everybody on here, can’t see your circle
MH: So, how old’s your dad then?
DK: Oh, he’s ninety next year, be ninety next year
MH: A bit younger than me [laughs]
DK: Yeah. He would’ve, as I say, he would’ve caught the very last year of the war [unclear] he was called up
MH: Yes
DK: He was nineteen then, as I say, failed his medical to get in the Navy and ended up in the factories. I can’t see you here, see if you can point yourself out. Ah, right, ok, so you’re third one in from the left, front row. Ah!
MH: [laughs]
DK: Oh! That’s a wonderful photo there.
MH: What a change! Thank you
DK: So, just for the recording then, I got two photos here, that’s [unclear] good so and this is your husband
MH: Yes
DK: Yeah, and what was his name? What was his?
MH: Eric
DK: Eric, Eric. Yeah. So he was signals as well then. Yeah. Just for the recording here, I say, it’s a photo of a Lancaster from the signal section RAF Wickenby June 1945 and the aircraft is coded PH0, PHO, that’s for 12 Squadron and is that the squadron leaves the field? Is that the squadron right at the bottom there?
MH: Oh, that’s the, oh no, that’s the, that’s on the badge
DK: The crest, on the crest, so that’s the 4 Squadron crest
MH: I have been down to Brookwell, that’s where my mother’s home is, I’ve been down to Brize Norton and taken over the airfield by one of the workers there and had coffee in the officer’s mess
DK: Cause 101 squadron is still going, isn’t it?
MH: Yes, yes, yes, that’ll be, that’s a hundred years
DK: Yeah, I’m not too sure about 12 Squadron though, I don’t think, is 12 Squadron still going, do you know?
MH: No, 12 Squadron is, no, only 101
DK: Nor 626 either
MH: Uh, no
DK: No, no
MH: But I noticed that 61 Squadron was mentioned the other day. I can’t remember in connection with what. Because I thought to myself, oh, I was on 61, oh, something to do with that body that they found somewhere
DK: In Holland
MH: The aircraft that got lost
DK: Yeah
MH: That was 61 Squadron
DK: That was a wreck in Holland, wasn’t it?
MH: Yes
DK: Yes
MH: That was where I was in Sturgate was on 61 Squadron
DK: Right, alright. Cause I think they found the remains of one of the crew, don’t they?
MH: Yes
DK: Yeah
MH: Yes, yes, I think it was the pilot cause he’d told all the others to jump out, didn’t he, and he didn’t.
DK: Right, right, yeah. Ok, let’s, let’s stop that there. I’ll ask the question again. Did you ever get to fly in a Lancaster?
MH: No, I didn’t [laughs]
DK: And there was a reason for that. What’s the reason?
MH: Yes, uhm
DK: You did flights to Germany?
MH: Yes, they were sending flights over Germany and I said to my husband who was my boyfriend then, I’m going on one of those, he says, if you go on one of those, I won’t marry you [laughs], so I didn’t go on one. And we were married for fifty-eight years [laughs]
DK: Did he go on one of those trips?
MH: No, I didn’t, no
DK: He didn’t either
MH: No
DK: No
MH: No [laughs]. When, going back to Brize Norton, an uncle of mine was at Brize during the war when they had the Wellingtons pulling the Horsa Gliders
DK: Oh right
MH: And apparently, they had to hold onto the back end of the glider before it took off and he held on and he fell and got killed and that was at Brize Norton.
DK: Right. Yeah. So, have you had many family members that have been in the RAF?
MH: No
DK: Right
MH: Only me.
DK: Right.
MH: My brother went into the navy, my father was in the army
DK: You mentioned your son-in-law, is it, he’s at Coningsby?
MH: My son-in-law
DK: Yeah, alright, ok
MH: With his husband
DK: Right, and he was at RAF at Coningsby?
US: No, he was in the United States Air Force
DK: Oh!
US: He served in, during the Vietnam war
DK Oh my!
US: He was in, think he was in Laos
MH: He gets teased. If anything goes wrong, he says, I’ll stay in America again, he doesn’t mind [laughs]
DK: So, what did he do in the US Air Force?
US: He was on, as far as I know, cause he doesn’t talk about it a great deal, he was on the helicopters, in the back end of the helicopters with a machine gun
DK: Oh right!
US: To, cause they used to go and pick up the downed pilots.
DK: Right
US: And he was one of the people that, you know, was protecting the people that were
DK: Going and pick’em up
US: Going to pick’em up
DK: Oh right, cause someone I know, I’ve never met him, but he’s the son of somebody who fought in, who served in RAF Bomber Command, who was a pilot but he has since gone back to America, lived there and he served in Vietnam on the helicopters doing a very similar job. Yeah. So where did you meet him then?
US: RAF Bentwaters
DK: Right. So you were
US: I was civil servant, yes.
DK: Right
US: And he was still serving time, I mean he was, he was actually military place
DK: Right. Spent time in Vietnam, interesting
US: Well, I think again, it was a case of joining the Air Force before he was
DK: Drafted in, yeah
US: Before he was drafted
DK: Drafted into the army, yeah. Ah, well, right, just for the recording again, there’s this lovely photo of your wedding
MH: Honeymoon paid for by the RAF in the Isle of Wight [laughs]
DK: Ah, that’s very nice, I’ve just come back from the Isle of Wight funnily enough, I was [unclear]
MH: Freshwater [laughs]
DK: Freshwater, yes, we went there. Very handsome chap. I like the way the flairs are in color
MH: Yes, you didn’t get things in color in those days
DK: No, no
MH: They all had to be hand done afterwards
DK: Lovely photo. And did your husband stay in the RAF?
MH: No
DK: Alright
MH: He wanted to
DK: Alright
MH: He was an architect, but I said no, I didn’t want my children to be sent to boarding school in this sort of and keep on moving here, there and everywhere so he went back and then got his degree in architecture
DK: Ah right. Did he tell you much about what he was doing cause you mentioned he was working on the radar?
MH: No
DK: Alright, so he never really talked about that
MH: No, he wasn’t very talkative about other things, was he?
DK: Alright.
MH: He would be a good friend, cause he wouldn’t tell anyone anything [laughs]
DK: But you knew he was working on the H2S radar then, yeah
US: His wing
MH: was part of the section
DK: Right, yeah, yeah
US: We were talking to a lady cause my mother got invited to one of the memorial flight
DK: Right
US: And we were talking to the curator there and she said, you know, how interesting it is talking to people after the war, how some people are quite happy to talk about it and it doesn’t bother them and other people just
DK: Just don’t
US: Just don’t want to
DK: We’ve actually found that this was part of this project there’s a lot of people now who obviously, you know, got to a great age are only now talking about it so when you ask about how many, you know, are still surviving, a lot of these people haven’t mentioned it but we identify them and then for the first time they are talking about what happened, you know, for understandable reasons they haven’t spoken about it before. Sometimes the families haven’t been interested and sometimes they just obviously found it too difficult to talk about and you know, it’s sad and understandable but you know hopefully now we are capturing some of those stories before it’s, you know obviously it’s too late. Cause some people say, well, why didn’t you start this project twenty years ago when the memories were fresher? And perhaps we should’ve done and [unclear] we would’ve done but they didn’t want to talk about it twenty years ago
MH: I’ve still got my father’s diary that he went into the army in 1916, was eighteen in 1916, and I’ve still got his diary written in pencil and still readable
DK: Yeah
MH: Of his time in the army and I’m just wondering whether records in any of the Army things might cause that’s no good to me, nobody wants them
DK: Yeah, it might, you can’t, does it mention which regiment he was with? Because there’s regimental museums, they might be interested probably
MH: Yes, oh right, I think I didn’t give it, I gave you something, didn’t I?
US: I’ve got a few bits and pieces of [unclear]
MH: I think I’ve got a
DK: Because there’s
MH: A little disk upstairs somewhere
DK: Because there’s similar projects to the Bomber Command one where if there is research into this particular regiment like us they might want to copy it, you keep the original document but they, cause now you don’t really need to hand over the original document, they just make a copy of it electronically and the family gets to keep the documents, so it might be worth looking into
MH: It’s very interesting reading and exactly as you see in these pictures with all the margin, he had, a bullet went in his neck and he lived until he was seventy-nine, but he had mustard gas
DK: My grandfather on my mother’s side, he was gassed in the First World War, he lived to be ninety-nine but he was, I think it was phosgene gas that he was wounded and he collapsed and had a label on him and he said, oh, you’ve got a blighty wound, you know, you’re going home and then my grandfather on my father’s side as well and his brother so my great grand uncles all fought in the Western Front
MH: I like hearing about people’s experiences during the war because I’ve got a friend that lives on the estate, he’s coming up ninety-three, and he was in the Red Berets
DK: Alright, yeah
MH: What are they called?
DK: The commandos
MH: Yes
DK: Yeah, yeah
MH: Yes, and he can tell me a few stories
DK: Ah, right. But once again, there might be a project where his stories are being captured, cause I know old history’s now is really a big thing really
MH: And I keep meaning to try and go to Ypres because an uncle of mine got killed in the first week of the First World War and a couple of years ago friends that live at Brize Norton they found his grave
DK: Ah, right
MH: And but I haven’t managed to get there
DK: Hopefully, you’ll get to see it
MH: So
US: Did you, did you have any Polish people on your squadron?
MH: Can’t hear you
US: Did you have any Polish people on your squadrons?
MH: Yes, no, no
DK: Oh, right, ok
MH: Oh no, not allowed, at Faldingworth, have you heard of Faldingworth?
DK: Yes, yes, yeah
MH: That was part of the number 1 Group at Faldingworth and when I got transferred from Ludford Magna to Wickenby which isn’t that far, we stopped at Faldingworth so they said you gotta stay in the van, what do you mean I gotta stay in the van? WAAF are not allowed to get out on a Polish squadron
DK: Really?
MH: The men are always after them [laughs], but you could always get lipstick and nylons and this sort of thing
DK: From the Polish
MH: And silk stockings and, yes, we swear that they used to land somewhere and pick these things up [laughs]
DK: So you have no idea where they got this stuff from then? You’ve got no idea where the Polish were getting the nylon from?
MH: No, no, no, no
DK: So you never actually met any Poles then, no?
MH: But they were always very nice [laughs]
DK: Yeah
MH: But you weren’t allowed out of the van [laughs]. But I don’t know whether there were any women on that squadron at Faldingworth, I didn’t know much about it but I know it was all Polish fliers there
DK: Yeah. So, when you were allocated to a squadron or a base, you really kept within that, did you, you didn’t really mix with people from other squadrons
MH: Well, I think so, I did because it was still Lincolnshire when I went to Gainsborough
DK: Right
MH: To Sturgate so I just stayed in and of course they used to, when you went from, you finished your course and they said, where do you want to go? Everybody put near home, well, you never ever got near home it was miles away [laughs] cause I was in Middlesex
DK: Did you manage to get home much though while you
MH: No,
DK: Served, no
MH; No, no
DK: So, you weren’t granted leave for the weekend or
MH: No, not very often, might get seven days now and again, and you would get days off, but you would just stay locally, well unless you were like me and skived down to my relatives [laughs]
DK: Ok, well, I’ll stop that there but thanks very much for your time. Put that back on again, the radiation cells, so they were all
MH: They were valves
DK: Right. So, was part
MH: Nothing electric
DK: So, was part of your role then changing the valves?
MH: Yes, yes and on the aircraft it was the same
DK: Alright. And this might sound an odd question, but did you take the whole radios out? You had to pull them out presumably.
MH: It could’ve done but I didn’t because they were too heavy
DK: Right. Right
MH: But there will be a receiver, what’s the other thing?
DK: Transmitter
US: Transmitter
DK: Yeah. And then all the valves that you had, did you use to change the valves?
MH: Yes, yes
DK: And could you tell if the valves needed changing?
MH: Can’t remember, long time ago [laughs]
DK: But it was good technology because it worked
MH: Yes
DK: Yeah
US: I mean, my dad used to build his own radios, didn’t he? Papi used to build his own radios after the war
MH: Yes
DK: Yes, yeah
US: Locked in boxes
MH: He really wanted to stay in, no, I wasn’t going to have my children taken away from me [laughs], go to boarding school
DK: It’s understandable. Ok



David Kavanagh, “Interview with Marian Hollier,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 12, 2024,

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