VE Day 2020: The people powering the nation during WW2
As we mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, we reflect on the sterling efforts energy workers have always put into keeping the nation’s gas and electricity moving to where it’s needed, no matter what challenges they’re facing.
With this year marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), we’re sharing some fascinating wartime images from the National Grid archives.
Kerry Moores, who manages the archive explains: “Our predecessors in the companies that later became National Grid worked hard through the war to keep power flowing. With significant numbers of employees away in the armed forces, we also saw a shift towards more women taking on traditionally male roles.”
Here are three of our favourite photos from the archive.
With so many men away fighting, women took on new roles on the ‘home front’, including stepping in to help run the power network. Here we can see employees of the North Thames Gas Light and Coke Co. wearing gas masks. A caption on the rear of the image explains that this was part of a weekly drill ‘in preparation against air attack’.
Here, again, we have a group of women taking on jobs at a gas works in London, which traditionally might have been carried out by men.
This photo shows women acting as bricklayers and labourers, replacing men who had been called up for active service. A note with the image highlights how Mrs Lucas on the left had seven children, of whom six had been evacuated. Her husband was in the R.A.F.