Portsmouth at war: When women filled men's shoes | Nostalgia

I have included all these wartime pictures for a special reason. For six days of the week commencing May 4, I will be writing about the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 4:26 pm
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 11:04 am
These two women became the first in England to take the wheel of a double-decker bus. Picture: The News archive

These two photographs of First Aid Patrol (FAP) men and women were sent in by an unknown reader. There was no name or address on the short note she/he attached to the pictures.

Now, there must be dozens of such photographs gathering dust in drawers, attics or under stairs not having seen the light of day for many years. I would very much like to see them.

Please don’t send them to The News office but contact me on (023) 9243 5936 (evenings are best), and, if I may, I will visit you. Apart from the initial call It will not cost you as I will ring you back.

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More men and a woman from the FAP. Was the woman a dancer who appeared locally?

I will not have to take the photographs away from the house because I can photograph them and reproduce them, sometimes better than the originals.

You may not think them of interest but please let me be the judge of that. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

• The acronym FAP stood for First Aid Patrol/Post in the Second World War and, in the second picture we see some Portsmouth men, plus a woman, standing outside a brick-built air raid shelter.

The woman appears to be perhaps, in show-business, with her starry hat and short skirt. Perhaps she might have been a dancer appearing in a local show? Do you recognise any of them?

FAP stood for First Aid Patrol and these men and women did sterling service during the war.

• I have little information about either photograph apart from a note which tells me the sender’s father is in both pictures and that he survived a land mine explosion in Laburnum Grove, North End.

The picture is not the best but perhaps you might know someone? Please contact me on the above number.

• With the majority of men called up for military service it was up to the women of the city to take the reins of jobs usually occupied by them.

Apart from serving as Wrens and in the ATS and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force some drove tractors on farms as members of the Woman’s Land Army. They acted as ARP telephonists, petrol pump attendants and worked in the Southern Railway sheds at Eastleigh.

The two women in the first picture were from Portsmouth and were the first two in England to take the wheel of a double-decker bus.

On the left is Mrs EV Hunt. She's beside alongside Mrs KE Devine. They certainly look smart in their new uniforms.

Unfortunately that is all the information I have. Perhaps you are a grandchild of one of these women who can tell me more.