Lancaster Bomber mechanic Nellie takes trip down memory lane at L’Hermitage

Jersey’s annual air display known as the ‘Jersey International Air Display’ is always enjoyed by islanders of all ages, but few will have enjoyed it more than 98-year-old Nellie this year. L’Hermitage care home resident Nellie made parts for the Lancaster Bombers during WWII, and memories rushed back when she saw one of the last remaining examples fly over the Jersey sky.

Born in Leeds, Nellie moved to Jersey with her husband, Herbert, in the early 1970s and worked in the kitchens at St George’s School on the island. But as a young woman she made parts for Lancaster bombers not long after war broke out.

“We had to go to work at the break of dawn, when it was still dark outside,” said Nellie, adding that it took two different buses to get to the factory. Every day, she would have to wear working clothes or overalls. “I looked like a man all day and was a lady in the evening,” Nellie explained.

One of her tasks was to fill capsules with cordite, a replacement for gun powder. Nellie’s youngest daughter, Cynthia, only realised what her mum did during the war many years after. She explained: “She used to talk about going to the factory and wearing protective suits, but we only realised the connection later on.

There was so much secrecy surrounding it that she never really said what she was working on.”

Nellie’s face lit up this year when she saw one of the last Lancaster bombers in the Jersey sky during the air display. “It was fantastic! It was a wonderful display,” she said. “I would have loved to be in the plane.”

In 1944, Nellie had her first daughter, Andrea. By that time, the war was coming to an end and construction of planes was ending. Nellie dedicated herself to raising her daughter, who was soon joined by a little sister, Cynthia.

Sadly Nellie, now a grandmother of six, was widowed in 1992 but continued living in her cottage until Summer 2017 when she decided it was time to move to L’Hermitage. Nellie is known at the home for breaking into song every now and then, many of them favourites from the war years.

Our two stunning care homes in Jersey, L’Hermitage and Beaumont Villa provide accommodation and care services to the highest levels. These distinguished nursing homes in Jersey are both set in prestigious locations within the grounds of L’Hermitage Gardens Retirement Village in St Peter and offer residents a truly wonderful quality of life.

If you would like to find out more about life at L’Hermitage and Beaumont Villa, or would like to arrange a visit, please contact us on 0808 223 5521 or manager.lhermitage@CaringHomes.org.

About the Jersey International Air Display
The skies above Jersey have enjoyed an annual air display for over 62 years, delighting and attracting many tens of thousands of local residents and visitors to enjoy one of the most eagerly anticipated events in Jersey’s summer programme of activities. Coupled with the fact that it is also arguably one of the finest free air shows in Europe. First staged in 1952 the ‘Battle of Britain Air Display’, has taken place every year, with the exception of 1954. Alongside the air display itself the event also boast two major static displays of aircraft, one at Jersey Airport and the other in Peoples’ Park, St Helier, adjacent to the ‘arena area’ along Victoria Avenue, which for many spectators is the favoured vantage point and also boats a dedicated commentary courtesy of BBC Radio Jersey. Read more…

L’Hermitage

Home Manager

Colette Bonner

Address

La Route de Beaumont,
St Peter,
Jersey,
JE3 7HH

Contact
0808 223 5521
View care home

Beaumont Villa

Home Manager

Colette Bonner

Address

La Route de Beaumont,
St Peter,
Jersey,
JE3 7HH

Contact
0808 223 5409
View care home

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