Search is on for Wakefield unsung D-Day heroes

​Date: 09/06/2014
PR: 4588

Museum staff in Wakefield are trying to trace a former factory girl who along with her colleagues played a vital if unsung role in the D-Day Normandy landings.

Some of the landing craft used on June 6th 1944 were built in Wakefield by joinery and shopfitters Drake and Warters Ltd.

The company employed 800 women to help them meet the order and a British Pathe newsreel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx7nnS6KY6Q ) shows the factory and features some of the workers.

One of the girls included in the newsreel was Peggy Taylor, a former cinema usherette.

As the world marks the 70th anniversary of the landings, Wakefield Museums are keen to know if Peggy or any of her family still live in the Wakefield district. Anyone who believes they know Peggy can contact museums@wakefield.gov.uk

Another of the firm's employees was George Kellett, who served during World War 1. Throughout 2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the war, Wakefield Museum has been tweeting entries from his 1918 diary @WW1_Diary.

At the time the landing craft were being produced at Drake and Warters, Mr Kellett would have been about 50-years-old.

A trusted and longstanding employee, he was mentioned in a Wakefield Express article of April 1950 celebrating the company's silver jubilee.

Mr Kellett and five colleagues were presented with silver tankards for their long service and the article noted: "The firm's employees are proud of their efforts in the Second World War. These included the building of 72 invasion craft in as many weeks."

Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: "It is fascinating to learn of the part so many Wakefield people played in the lead up to the D-Day landings. Their contribution was so important and it is right that the museum is helping to preserve their stories."