Born on 3rd March 1921 Bette would have been 19 years old when she started work for Shorts in 1940. At that time, young unmarried women were conscripted into war work or the Services. Bette’s job was cladding the rear fuselage of Sunderlands. Firstly, a sheet of aluminium was cut to size on a guillotine, marked out and drilled for the rivet holes. It was then shaped on a ‘former’ to provide the taper towards the tail. The metal was then clamped to the frames and fixing holes were marked and drilled ready for assembly. The last stage comprised anodising and anti-corrosion paint.
As the girls became more proficient some of the men were released to join the armed services and the presence of the girls caused much resentment.
All the assembly work was checked for accuracy before being passed for installation. Bette never had any of her worked rejected.
Esplanade Works, ROCHESTER 1940
Esplanade Works ROCHESTER 1940