Irene Ryan (nee Ball)
Irene's memories of her Mother, Rosa Ball, who was a crane driver during the war years
Irene Ryan talks to Ollie Taylor about her memories of her Mother, Rosa Ball. Rosa worked on a 40 ton crane at Fielding & Platt during the war years. It was a very hard life and Rosa had to get up early in the morning to have Irene and her brother (Irene was only three at the time) ready to take them to their Grandmother and Aunt respectively, who looked after them during the day, and then go off to work. She didn’t return home until around 6 p.m. and was very tired at the end of the day.
Irene remembers that her mum wore a blue boiler suit and headscarf when she went to work and said it was strange to see her dressed in trousers as women in those days usually wore skirts or dresses. The shoes her mum wore were likely to have been black lace-ups.
Alfred Ball, Irene’s father, also worked at Fielding & Platt for a while. He was a carpenter so probably worked in the Pattern Shop. He had TB and had to spend quite a lot of time at Standish Hospital and sadly died at the at age of 47.
Rosa had a hard life and worked at the Toy Factory and as a cinema usherette as well as driving a crane at F&P during the war. She had three children so needed to support them. She passed away at the age of 73.
Irene is now 73 years of age herself, and was very proud to see the photo of her mother when it appeared in the local paper and this prompted her to get in touch with Gloucestershire Archives and share her memories with us.
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