Leeds nostalgia: Leeds female brickies from the war

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In May 1943, with the Second World War in full swing, the RAF was flying over Rome, dropping leaflets urging them to surrender and closer to home bus workers were staging stoppages in protests over pay and conditions.

Still, people still had to get on with things at home as well as abroad.

One group of workers who seemed quite happy with their lot, however, were around a dozen women, all of whom had taken on jobs as bricklayers’ mates.

Nine were on hand when the Yorkshire Evening Post reporter visited them on May 17 - named in the article as Violet, Peggy, Margaret, Eileen, Minnie, Molly, Audrey, Hannah and Annie.

Their previous jobs included hairdresser, factory worker, a wrapper in a soap factory and shop assistants. Each had taken the place of a man who went into the Army and, by all accounts, they were measuring up pretty well.

Hannah, 19, said they all enjoyed the work because it was outdoors and always offered something new but she added: “We have all put weight on since we started. That shows hard work does no harm.” She said most of the girls had put on at least a stone in weight.

In other news, the Army had to be drafted in to provide a temporary bus service in Dewsbury after bus workers decided to go on strike.

The stoppage began on May 14 and affected Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Leeds, although Leeds workers returned to work. There was some indignation over the fact workers in Dewsbury voted to continue the strike with a majority of only seven.

The bus company mainly affected by the strike, Hanson and Sons Ltd, which operated services in Huddersfield and Leeds, managed to run a skeleton service.