Florence Daniels

Florence worked at Courtaulds Mill, Halstead making parachute material during the war; her husband was in the Navy.

Florence Daniels (née Pilgrim) was interviewed on 17 May 2013 by her grandson, Darren Stone, who lives in Great Easton.



Summary below:

Florence was born in March 1922, so was 17 years old when war broke out; she lived with her family at Little Yeldham then.   She heard about the start of war on the radio; amusing story about early local war fright!

Florence worked at Courtaulds Mill in Halstead during the war making parachute fabric on looms; they had to do one large ‘spool’ per day.  The parachutes were made of Nylon, not silk.

Vivid memories of air raids; remembers running to friend’s house nearby when the air raids were on.

Moved to Great Dunmow after husband de-mobbed from the Navy post war.

Lived near Ridgewell Airfield (USAAF 381st BG flying B17 Flying Fortresses); locals took to American servicemen who were friendly to locals. Aircraft crashes in local area.

Talks about:  land settlement houses/families; the blackout; Home Guard; rationing; extra allotments to grow food.

Great anecdote about a trip to Holland-on-Sea.  There was very little food available, but they managed to get some ‘Whale meat sausages’ from a butcher!  They tasted so bad they were thrown away!

At the end of the war, husband Harry Frederick Daniels was de-mobbed from Navy Service.  Florence remembers him talking about taking soldiers to Gold Beach for the D-day landings, and bringing British prisoners back from the Far East in very poor condition.