Mini Ostler worked at Westlands during WW2 and remembers when the factory was bombed
Interviewer: The factory was bombed in the war. Can you remember?
Mini: Well, I thought that was the P9 going over. That was a Westlands plane, the P9. I wasn’t working on that because I had Megan then. I had her stood as a little girl on the window sill. I picked her up and said watch there’s a P9 going over, look-up! Little’un looked-up and I said oh Christ, no, and I snatched her down because I seen this door open and that was a German bomber. When he bombed Westlands, and if he’d aimed correctly, he would have bombed, pitched right on the canteen, and he would have wiped out Westlands, that’s for sure that day. Because he killed a lot of people that bomb did and for a long time you could see pieces of like the road then, or the track that was outside the canteen like, as though the bomb went and took up a big chunk and …
Daughter (Millie): Well, it went through the shed didn’t it? Didn’t it go through the workshop? Went through one door and out the other?
Mini: No, I don’t think so
Daughter (Millie): One did, didn’t it and it landed at the main gate at the top of Seaton Road
Mini: Well, that’s the one that dropped outside the canteen. He dropped two or three, he dropped his load, because that’s where Jimmy Palmer’s father was dead, outside the main gate. My friend was killed in Westland Road or, her friend was, and her children, but my friend weren’t. A friend of mine was killed in the car park. He didn’t touch any shops as far as I know, not that day.
Daughter: No, what we know about is one bomb went through open doors. It flew through one end and went out the other and that’s the one that hit the main gate and they never found the man that was there, just a boot. It took two houses out at the top of the road, whereas, Westland’s other entrance off Seaton Road, it took two houses out at the top of there, totally.
Had he gone and touched the canteen he would have had hundreds of workers were in the canteen, they were on break.
Interviewer: Where were you at that time, that day?
Mini: Home in Rex Road, where I live now.
Interviewer: So you weren’t working? You were lucky that you were not there
Mini: Yes, I was home then. My husband wasn’t, he was in bed and I went up and woke he up. I said you’d better get up because he was on the fire. If anything happened he was the one who had to be there. I said they’ve bombed Westlands or bombed near it. I don’t know what part but I said there’s bound to be a fire in a minute. So he hurriedly got out of bed and dressed and went onto Westlands. That was Alex.
But I was home, in the house I’m in now.