Local Camouflage

Another story from Fergus Durrant including an interview with one of the local women involved in the camouflage unit…..

Much of what we know about the unit was recorded by the artists but many of the technical, practical (carpenters), admin and photographic staff were drawn from the local area. The Ministry of Works directed them to work at the unit.
The carpenters made the precise factory and ship models. The son of one of these remembers playing with the model cars and trucks that were brought home once they had no more use for them.
Many local women were employed and one of the best accounts of their time with the unit is from Barbara Buckley who still lives in Leamington.
She joined the unit in 1940/1 and she gives us a clear and vivid description of the photographic section, the rink and the artists themselves.
Knowing nothing about photography before she joined, she was taught how to process both black and white and colour film, load and service the Lecia cameras needed for the slide work and manage the considerable filling system.

Barbara Buckley at her desk in the photographic unit 1941


Here a montage picture by Barker Mills one of the Section heads who taught her:

And the ground floor plan of North Hall showing the photographic units place next to the rink (on right) where the factory camouflage took place:

The turntable and light gantry in the rink (image from National Archive):


Christopher Ironside (standing) and Johnny Walker working on a landscape in the rink (Now the site of the Loft Theatre)

Note from the national archive confirming Barbara’s memories of the rink layout:

But now sit back and enjoy this audio interview with Barbara Buckley from 2008 and her memories of the unit.

Next week, Naval camouflage in the Heart of England.




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