Mini Ostler worked at Westland in the 1930's and then again during WW2

Mini Ostler was 103 years old when she recorded this interview

Mini lives at Upper Odcombe near Yeovil and recalls how she would cycle across the airfield to get into work

Interviewer – You lived in Higher Odcombe, how did you get down to the factory?

Mini – On a push bike. You turn in by Preston School, cross the airfield what is now, cross the field, on a push bike. Get off when you get down where they park them, tuck it under a shed between two pieces of wood, the wheel, and hope you were going to find it there all right when you left work.

Interviewer – What time did you start work. What time did the shift start?

Mini – About 6 o’clock or half-past seven to half-past six probably. Sometimes we’d catch a bus, well we had to walk from Higher Odcombe right down to Peterson’s Corner and get on Hutchings’s bus with a load of men what did go to work there as well. Well, he drove right into the main gate and you’d get off and go in whatever direction you had to get to, like you do today. Some did lose their way and some didn’t but I did never lose my way anywhere. I think, well, I passed here so I must be on the right way now don’t

(Daughter Millie) – Yes, you do, mum’s never driven but she drives a car.

Mini – I did for my husband. If we were going from here to Scotland he’d make a list of road numbers before we leave and say keep your eye on that and that’s what I used to do.

Daughter (Millie) – if you started work at half-past six, what time did you finish work?

Mini – Five o’clock I suppose, half-past. We had to clock out, always had to clock in, clock out.

Interviewer – Can you remember the clocking in machine? What was it like? Can you remember what it was like?

Mini – What it was like? On a wall, with slots in and cards on it. Well, like they are today, I suppose. I haven’t seen a clocking in machine late years.

Daughter – but you did have a big clock on it didn’t you?

Mini – A big clock, well it clocked the time didn’t it, the same when you clocked out.

Interviewer – What happened if you were late getting to work? What happened, did you get your pay docked?

Mini – Oh, it was lose a quarter of an hour.

Interviewer – You got pay docked for a quarter of an hour?

Mini – Quarter of an hour, or fifteen minutes I should say I suppose, but we lost a quarter.

Interviewer – How many days a week did you work? Did you work six days, five days. How many days did you work in a week?

Oh, same as you do now.

Interviewer – You got weekends off did you?

Well, you finished work Friday dinner time, Saturday dinner time. Saturdays I suppose. Take your bike and go back-up across. This is years ago. They wouldn’t do it today.


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