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Student's search for WWII women

October 21 2015

warwomen

A STUDENT is searching for the stories of Welsh women who played a part in World War II.

Lauren Jones, currently studying for a degree in History at Glyndŵr University Wrexham, wants to hear from ladies who worked in munitions factories - particularly at Marchwiel - as well as former land girls, members of ATS services, nurses, WRVS volunteers and anyone who experienced life in north east Wales from 1939-1945.

Lauren (pictured right), from Bacup in Lancashire, says women’s part in British history is “largely forgotten” and is keen to interview females whose spirit helped gain victory more than 70 years ago.

The results will form part of her third-year dissertation, but she is equally keen to throw a spotlight on the achievements of women in the war.

“A lot of them risked their lives, including those in North Wales, but they are largely forgotten like most women in history,” said the 20 year-old.

“There were obviously many brave and heroic men fighting in the war but the women were doing awful things as well, like working long hours in munitions factories and putting themselves at risk of being bombed in navigating strikes on planes by gunmen.

“In some areas the female population was practically running things, but a lot of that has gone unspoken, or is not made enough of.”

Lauren added: “I’m looking specifically for women from north east Wales with a story to tell.

“I’ve been to libraries and spoken to several organisations but it has been difficult to find ladies from that era, particularly from the Women’s Voluntary Service – I would love to hear from them.

“I will be asking which jobs they took on and why they chose them; what they did after and before the war, how it affected their employment during that time and how things changed for them.

“I believe in equal rights for everybody, I’m very keen on that and want to really garner more information on what for me is an unrepresented group in British history.”

According to reports following World War II, allowing women to take on jobs previously unavailable to them raised their self-esteem as it gave them a platform to carry out their full potential and do their part.

During this period, society had specific ideals for the jobs in which both women and men participated in. When women began to enter into the masculine workforce and munitions industries previously dominated by men, women’s segregation began to diminish, and a survey by the Ministry of Labour revealed the percentage of women in industrial jobs went from 19.75% to 27% from 1938-1945.

However, it was very tough for women to spend their days in factories, and then come home to their domestic chores and care-giving, and as a result, many were unable to hold their jobs in the workplace.

Dr Kathryn Ellis, a lecturer in History at Glyndŵr University Wrexham and Lauren’s dissertation supervisor, said the choice of theme is a reflection of the vast array of topics covered by students on the popular degree, which is number one in Wales for student satisfaction, according to the Complete University Guide.

“Lauren’s project is a fascinating one and should make a real contribution to this neglected area of study,” added Dr Ellis.

“Our students often focus on a regional theme and projects such as this one really helps to encourage a better understanding of socio-cultural developments.”

Any willing volunteers can contact Lauren by email, laurenjonesbrgs@hotmail.co.uk

For more information on History at Glyndŵr University Wrexham, visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk

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