Veteran Margaret Kenyon goes back in time to Derby Ordnance factory, now Rolls-Royce, where she worked in war
AN 88-YEAR-OLD woman who worked at a Derby factory during the Second World War has returned to the site for the first time.
Margaret Kenyon began working at Derby Ordnance factory, in Sinfin, in 1943 after joining the Women's Army.
Yesterday she was invited to the site, which is now the Rolls-Royce Aerospace centre, to see machinery she could have potentially helped produce in the 1940s.
She said: "It's such a fantastic place. The trip was very interesting and, even though I don't recognise it, being in Derby has brought back so many memories."
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Mrs Kenyon, who now lives in North Wales, signed up to the Women's Army in 1943 after tiring of her job at a Co-op store, in Liverpool.
"It was the ration books that I didn't like," she said.
"People would come in with 10 books at a time.
"I had a sense of adventure. My mum said that I'd never go into the Army but I did.
"I was only 17. She told me she didn't think I'd be able to cope eating cabbage and wearing khaki knickers but I was determined."
She was initially based at Hereford for six months where she was taught to drive but, after failing her test due to poor eyesight, she was moved to Derby and stationed at Normanton barracks.
"They were good years," she said. "I was one of those people who didn't mind being told what to do. The Army was no problem for me."
The veteran said her role at the ordnance depot involved looking for spare parts.
"Any part for anything from bicycles to tanks we had to find in the warehouse," she said.
"Once we found them they would be packed up and sent to wherever they needed to go. It was not very exciting."
Margaret met her late husband, Ashworth, who was also in the Army, at a Derby fish and chip shop.
"I remember the morning we were told the war had ended. We were in our pyjamas singing, dancing and shouting," She said. "Now that was a great day."
She married Ashworth in 1944 and, after his death in 1977, she emigrated to Canada where she lived until two years ago.
Her visit was part of the Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return 2 programme – a scheme to help veterans, spouses and carers visit places where they served during the war.
Call 0845 0000 121 or visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn for details.