We shall remember them: Book Excerpt – MY WORLD WAR II. A Wren’s Story by Vera Jahans

Being on the top floor, we were also exposed to air raids and doodlebugs but I couldn’t leave the board.  The Commander would send the teleprinter girl down to the basement during raids, but he instructed me to stay at my post, to always wear my tin helmet and if it got very noisy to get under the board for a bit.  If it got very busy, the Commander would send for a matlow in Royal Albert Dock to come over to KG5 to give me a break for half an hour.  Our board was manned for 24 hours.  There were 4 of us and we took it in turns to have weekend breaks.

There were also, girl boat crew members, termed ships messengers, who would deliver messages to the ships to tell them the next destination of their boats.  Part of my “Board” worked for Dock Turco which controlled the arrival of the boats and when they could go across the channel ferrying troops and supplies for the D Day Army.

As mentioned earlier, we were also known as Port Radar.  The radar equipment on top of the boats were very vulnerable to attacks from the German aircraft and army and the view from my window at KG5 was excellent for watching craft return from across the channel often with their radar antennae shot to bits.  My board had 3 or 4 private wires (PWS).  Telephone engineers would climb up ladders and tap on my window for me to open and let them take a wire through to attach to my board.  Then crew on the ship could ring for whatever was needed so that the ship would be ready for the next crossing.

There were a number of switch boards around and we would chat to each other to pass the time.  One matelow had a great voice and would sing “When the blue of the night meets the gold of the day”.  Sadly the Albert Dock had a direct hit and I believe he was killed.

http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B075DGR1HC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: