No Time For Tears - In The A.T.S.

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by amberdog45, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Just finished this book written by Margaret Sherman (a journalist before enlisting) and can't recommend it enough if you want to understand the workings of the ATS role at Chilwell.

    The book had no index, so I've noted all the names mentioned per chapter and will add later to the thread. There are just a few photos I'll need to scan and add.

    The dust cover was in a poor state and I ended up removing it. Under it was written in ink, W/288664 Pte. Gladys Oxley, Chilwell, 30th May 1944.
  2. dbateson

    dbateson Junior Member

    I would be very interested to know if you come across a Private Margaret Denys-Burton (nickname Gypsy/Gipsy) who I know from her army records was posted to Chilwell 1941-1943. Thanks
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  3. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    In Chapter 10 called Convoy without Glamour, I noted at Depot Transport the author was introduced to veteran drivers, before they all went to sub-depots, Walters (a red head), Sergeant Burton (husband named John) & Minney (a married Scots).

    What was Margaret's husband's name?

    Bear in mind there were 4,000 personnel at one point.
  4. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Chapter 1 Enter the ATS

    Margaret Sherman arrived 29 May 1942 "following the example set by Tommy Atkins sister in 1939"

    Her training centre Platoon officer was Miss Weeks. Platoon Sergeant Fields (nick name Blossom). Corporal West (dark brown hair), Corporal MacGregor (black haired) & Lance Corporal Archer (nearly 30 years old).

    The author Margaret was previously a journalist in London and was assigned to Platoon 1, C company. Partner or husband was William.

    She had travelled by train with Heather Fendick.

    Heather had been in the VAD and her sister was in the WAAF. Her father was living in Essex. She went on to Ack Ack after NCO course.

    In their hut sharing the nearest beds were Molly Smith (20 years old) from Clapham, London. Mother had died in childbirth and Molly had been keeping house for her Gran before joining. Her father Pte. Smith was in the Regulars in Palestine W159299. Molly had lost her two front teeth during the Blitz. She got engaged a few weeks later to Alfred, a Dispatch Rider who was stationed a few miles away. She went on to an Ack Ack training centre.

    Joyce Mitchell (27) a red head from Hull had been a speech therapist. She'd been recruited to do a specialists job and was soon to be an officer. Went on to become a Personnel Selection Officer.

    Miss Williams (33) brown hair, from Nottingham had been a clerk for 15 years prior to service. Her nephew Jim was a Mate in the Merchant Navy.

    Peggy (over 30) went on to Messing then 'Octce'. Her George was in the Middle East, a young 40 something.

    Mary (over 30) had seen the world twice over and had returned from Africa to join up. She stayed on at the training camp.

    Jean Ellis, a red head from London wanted to be a cook because she was engaged to fighter pilot Arthur, but he died in the air on a Monday, 10 days after Margaret met Jean. Jean was discharged on medical grounds not long after Arthur died.
    (**there were 3 'Arthur's that died 8 June 1942, I'm assuming Jean's Arthur is the third option on CWGC Results)

    Chapter 2 - Drill - Among Other Things

    Chief Controller Mrs. Jean Knox visited the camp (Director ATS Major General)

    Mr. 'B' - Regimental Sergeant Major R.S.M.

    Chapter 3 - How To Be An Officer

    'D.B.' - a fellow NCO from the Training Centre. She was sent to a training centre in Scotland.

    Heather Fendick & Peggy were sent to A.A. Training Regiment.

    Margaret & Mary were sent to Central Ordnance Depot in Northern England.

    Chapter 4 - Arrival in Camp (Dec 1942)

    Thomson - Education Officer - Headquarters Company

    Priscilla - married an airman called Mark Smith

    Miss Ward - Company Commander.

    In the company office:- Mona - Payroll Corporal. Corporal Seymour - the girls leave/correspondence clerk. Fletcher - 18 year old office orderly.

    Margaret Sherman was made Company Commander of Platoon Two with Beth Preston.

    Chapter 5 - Housewives in Khaki

    Margaret's Batsman was Margaret Gordon - she had arrived when the camp was just built.

    Batsman Leadbeater and her sister Faith from the Channel Islands had joined ATS after evacuating. Their twin sisters were still on occupied Guernsey.

    Batsman Godson - had been on predictors in Ack Ack on a south coast station throughout the Blitz before Chilwell.

    Batsman Ferguson & Batsman Buck.

    Sergeant Hole (The Duchess) was in charge of Officers Mess and Angela, Lucia Brydie. Also Edith Crosby, a 21 year old Corporal & Emson, both had previously been parlour maids.

    Marie Long - husband was in the Intelligence Corps

    Val - tall, fair haired.

    Orderlies in the Mess - two called Ellen, both had been professional ballet dancers. Peggy. Glenis who had an 'Olde Tea Shoppy' and Mary, who had been a milliner.

    Chapter 6 - The Girls Behind The Tanks.

    The author went to work at Issues as day duty officer, where she meets :-

    Ruth Lane, fair haired, a newly appointed ATS officer.
    Munro - son in the Navy.
    Sergeant Harris.

    In store locations worked an Ontario woman called Mary Forman. Her father was in Canadian Army (Regulars) in England. Her sister was also in ATS.

    Binnie was in Margaret's platoon "1st class stores man and had been married to Bob by the camps Padre before he went overseas.

    In the Russian Parts Bay:-
    Graham - she used to work in a dress shop.
    Martin - had been a hairdresser.
    Johnson - had painted flowers on vases.

    Storehouse Accounts:
    Freda Deauville - husband was in north Africa.
    Ursula Hudson - 28 years old, a Lister Driver, but now driving a Yankee Doodle.

    Office :-
    Molly Mackley, ran a department with CSM Cloke, Sergeant Poole & 7 ATS clerks.

    Audrey Glanville & Marjorie Vieweg - both working on a Crusader. Both had been civil servants prior to their training with Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. A 5 month course and they could strip the electrical parts of 4 tanks per day.

    Fitters Pat & Sally were working on Matildas.

    Sergeant Ellis - a Lister driver and workshops fitter, an expert on inner tubes.

    Garthwaite - a Yorkshire girl and expert patcher.

    Lance Corporal Williams from British Guiana, retread tyres.

    'W' Company - girl called Shep was skilled in armature winding.
    Woollcott - had been studying at the Royal College of Music, London.

    Betty Murdoch & Anne Bradley, both from Glasgow were sealing Churchills (previously cigarette packers). Betty's brother was in the Eighth Army.

    Roberts, Arnold, Thornton & Forrest were working on Crusaders.

    Private Kingsley. Private Elford. Major Travers. Corporal Atkinson (husband in Navy and at one point contacted her from Ellis Island). Sergeant Hanley & Thomson, in Storehouse Accounts.

    Chapter 7 - Beyond The Cookhouse Door

    Cookhouses - 'A' Company Office - Private Violet Wade, became a Sergeant.

    100 cooks and orderlies, 24 hour shifts, fed 1,800 daily in 1939.

    Sergeant Major Hall (her story about the time after Dunkirk) "The soldiers were arriving in tram loads and we cooked for 5 days and nights without stopping. We gave them bacon & eggs & lashings of hot tea and when they'd finished they just fell asleep at the table" in Building 176.

    The largest men's cookhouse is named after the Brigadier.
    Sergeant 'Ginger' and serving were Joan, Annie, Babs, 'Blondie' & Lucy.

    Anne Mellars (expert pastry cook). Married her soldier before the war. Anne nearly died in childbirth and her son died when born. Her soldier was overseas.

    "Rolly-polly" Williams - her friend said of her "she used to sing lovely soprano, but working on them coke stoves, early on, altered her voice and that's why she sings like Paul Robeson".

    Sergeant Cook.
    Jennie - had boyfriend in Merchant Navy.
    Another Jennie worked in the main mess - husband in RAF.

    Princess Cookhouse - Hazel eyed Joyce Clark had brothers in RAF & Army and her boyfriend was in the Marines. She worked with Beryl Kinmont whose brother was POW in Germany since Battle for Greece.
    Gwendoline, Mabel Williams and Ivy.

    Messing Officer - Betty Tebbitt, lived in Cornwall.

    Salvage Girls - one called Ross.

    Camp Orderlies -'Little' Roy, a Scot, also called 'Curly' & 'Brownie' Kearns.
    'Blondie' Judd had been a cinema attendant and was dating an Ordnance soldier, living over the hill from Chilwell.

    Sergeant Dakin - had been a WW1 orderly in WAAC. She worked with Christine who had worked in Woolwich during Blitz.

    Education Officer Tommy gets her 3rd pip.

    Chapter 8 - Insight Into Signals

    Pat Langton - a new Signals officer, dark & pretty. As a Private had received messages for Home Units & BEF. Held every rank from Pte to Sergeant Major until chosen for commission.

    Winifred Clayton, in Lancashire food office before ATS.
    Doris Goude, a mill girl & laundry worker before service.
    Corporal Supervisor Evelyn Bishop.
    'Sausage Curls' Nancy Leek.
    Barbara Walsh, newly married.

    Teleprinter Operators:-
    Vera Plenty was in charge of teleprinters, married to Charles, a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery who had been involved in the defence of Malta.
    Nancy Le Page wore a Guernsey shoulder flash. Had been 17 when she left Guernsey with her 7 year old sister, left parents behind. She had been a junior teacher at the Guernsey Prep School. She went to Scotland first, then joined the ATS. Her boyfriend was serving in Iraq.

    Chapter 9 - On Being Assistant Adjutant

    The author was selected as Assistant Adjutant, but wanted to stay with 'D' Company, but sent to Group I.

    Beth Preston
    Keith Price, brought his band to Chilwell.
    Doreen Holiday, went on to be a special clerk in America.
    Fletcher & Green.

    'R' Company - Muir asked for extension of compassionate leave, Dispatch Rider husband was in hospital.
    Sergeant Major Jones.
    Captain Fisher.
    Regimental Sergeant Major Dagnall (Miss)
    Lance Corporal Patient

    Mrs. Coulee went into Reserves when her air force brother was killed, her mothers health was failing (a Quartermaster Sergeant, as was her husband)

    Junior Commander Massey.

    Lance Corporal Winifred Simpson, boyfriend in Merchant Navy, works in Group Post Office with Olive Lavin & Mary Spooner.

    Price, Paton #623045 & Jones came in looking for mail.

    Private Taylor was in the dog house when she was sent 3 crabs from Cornwall!

    Chapter 10 - Convoy Without Glamour

    Flavia, a senior Commander, received a plum coloured M.B.E. ribbon, award reported in The Times.

    Molly, a Catholic from Ireland was nearly the ATS's 2nd fatality.

    At Depot Transport - veteran drivers before they went to sub-depots were red head Walters (had been in both wars, mother of two, Colin in A.T.C. & David was registering with the Army). Sergeant Burton (husband John) and Minney, a married Scots.

    Corporal Graham was making up kits for 3 ton lorries (small, brown haired, ex hosiery worker).
    Betty Willett.
    Joan Corbett, peace time typist.
    Edith Coulson, was a welder.

    Subaltern Smalley - been through all the jobs from convoy driver to maintenance.
    Callidine, very young & brown eyed.
    Grayson, grey eyed.
    Elaine Fowler, newly married to Robert who had been overseas for 3 years, lost his right arm.
    Doris, husband a Commando, married when he was in Royal Engineers. He came back from Dunkirk, injured in Dieppe, lost a lot of blood/shrapnel wounds. He was transferred back to the R.E. Doris was responsible for 40 maintenance girls who were billeted in town.

    Curly, blonde Dispatch Rider Joan Richardson.

    Brownlow - working on a 6 ton engine. Her partner Eric hadn't made the victorious march into Bizerta, he was lying somewhere in the desert, later confirmed dead.

    Chapter 11 - We Call It Welfare

    Eve Allen - 6 years a missionary among the Maoris in New Zealand. Read a newspaper while travelling from Scotland to England and answered the call for "Padres for France". Eve's New Zealander came to England to be a bomber pilot. He ordered his crew to bail out and he went down with the plane and trapped gunner.

    Miss Alexander - YMCA leader.
    Metcalf - Group office clerk.
    Shep - from workshop.
    'D' C.S.M. Monk.

    Czech called Gerda (a housewife) from Prague. Nazis shot her husband and parents. She fled to England.

    Sergeant Irene Wade (a professional violinist at 16, had travelled European capitals, Singapore, Manilla & Alexandria.
    Margot Seiman.
    Johnson (ballet dancer & part time P.T. instructor)
    Mona 'D' Company Corporal
    Jennie, dark haired cook.
    Betty Vigrass 'A' Company Clerk.
    Stan Hall, previously a butcher.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  5. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Remaining names from Chapters 2 to 11 added to post #4.

    Hopefully somebody, some day might find their relative in the above post. Especially if like me, the MOD couldn't find their relatives ATS record.
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  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Well done on some good work Maria. As you say, this might come in handy for someone one of these days.
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  7. dbateson

    dbateson Junior Member

    Thanks for all the details you have added. Margaret Denys-Burton was not married and remained single until her death in 1955 (killed in a plane crash while working for BOAC).
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  8. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    That's a shame that's not her Dave. At least you got her service record, unlike my aunt. I'd recommend the book. It was interesting to read about all the vehicles they worked on and daily life in general.
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