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Westwood Works 1903-2003

Westwood Works in World War 2

Memories of Westwood Works in World War 2

Below are pages from a book produced by Sir Ivor Baker at the end of World War 2:

1934: Preparing for War 1939?: Decontamination Squad 1940: Baker Perkins Volunteers 1941: Baker Perkins Home Guard 1941: German reconnaissance photograph of Westwood Works Translation of text on German reconnaissance photograph Background to the German reconnaissance photograph
1941: Home Guard Spotters Log 1942: Letter of thanks to Baker Perkins from Lord Gort, Malta Baker Perkins ARP lapel badge (no. 15) Date?: Testing a Mobile Bakery for the Naafi The Baker Perkins Roll of Honour

Westwood Works "under attack"

With reference to the German reconnaissance photographs shown above. Despite its undoubted importance to the war effort, Westwood Works did not sustain any significant damage from enemy action during WW2. There is one event, however, that is still talked about today - the day that a German raider "strafed the Drawing Office". This was one of the first bits of 'history' that was learnt when first joining the company and, as with similar accounts, the tale varies according to the teller but there is little doubt that it has a firm basis in fact: The available evidence suggest that the event took place no later than 1942.

Oral history is a rather inexact science but it has proved possible to arrive at a believable account of the happening. It would seem that the event, far from being a myth, actually occurred on 31st October 1940, at around 1.30 on a dull afternoon with low cloud. We have been unable to confirm that it was a Dornier bomber or if the aircraft was shot down on the outskirts of Peterborough as suggested. If anyone can add to this story we would be very pleased to hear from you.

Some other events that happened adjacent to the Works involving friendly aircraft include:

Jim Farrow tells us that during WW2, the Strong Room - in the basement of the 1914 Office Building - was also used as an air raid shelter for the employees in the adjacent office areas. It housed blankets and fire extinguishers.

Some Employees at Westwood during the early part of WW2

Florence (Graham) Morgan joined Baker Perkins in September 1938 at the age of 14. She worked in the Typing Pool before becoming a comptometer operator. Florence left the Company in 1942 but kept an address book containing details of those she worked with at the time.

If anyone has memories of any of those listed – or who is able to add to the list – please get in touch.

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