Edna Neilson, a tenant at Watling Court Extra Care Housing Scheme, shared her stories of her time spent working as a bomb inspector during World War Two.
Well-known amongst colleagues for her exceptional eyesight, Edna spent her teenage years inspecting faulty bombs for Vickers Armstrong in Newcastle. Recently, she was joined by the scheme’s hairdresser’s granddaughter, pupil, Ellie, who chose to do her school project on Edna’s exciting past.
She may have only 16-years-old at the time but Edna quickly became renowned amongst the other inspectors and superiors for her first-rate vision and meticulous attention to detail, as she inspected bomb after bomb, before they were shipped out to the war.
“There were times when I was putting more aside than I was passing,” Edna says, “my vision was excellent and I could see the smallest cracks on the bombs that others couldn’t see. The bosses would come and visit and they couldn’t see them either! But I couldn’t pass them if they weren’t perfect as they could kill thousands.
“I did absolutely love the job and I made sure I did it well, I was determined to do it to the best of my ability. There were lots of us ladies working there so there was always lots happening. On one occasion, I even met Princess Marina!
“We all knew lots of people who had gone off to fight in the war, fathers, brothers, cousins, and my father did his bit, he was too old to be a solider so he worked patrolling the streets, ensuring that everyone’s windows were blacked out. I can remember everyone’s joy when we were told it was all over. We were elated.”