University of Oxford
2 files

Reserved occupations and women at work

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:20 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Not everyone went to fight in the war. Some men stayed behind to do highly skilled work or specially trained jobs.

My Grandad was a metalworker and was on the reserved occupation list. He was not allowed to join the forces and had to stay behind and work. Many men did have to go and fight in foreign countries. This meant there were a lot of jobs in factories and warehouses, farms, etc that were filled by women. My Grandma worked in a factory that made ammunition. Because of shortages of lots of items the Government introduced rationing of metal, fuels and food amongst other things.

People had to improvise and find ways of getting enough to eat, to warm the house, wash clothes and get things for home. Grandma Harvey was able to get a shell casing from the factory and Grandad Harvey used his lathe with some nuts and bolts to form a poker. This became their fireside set when the only way of heating the house was the main coal fire. Because it was made so well it was never replaced and when they passed away my Mum put it in her loft. As we now have a wood burner at home I was given it with the promise to never sell our piece of family and ww2 history.


Item list and details

A poker set made from a ww2 shell casing.

Person the story/items relate to

Arthur and Anne Harvey

Person who shared the story/items

Alfie McCool

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

They were my Grandparents.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID