England

Memorial fund for WWII munitions workers

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Media captionIris Aplin and Mary Taylor worked at the factory when they were 18

A campaign has started to raise funds for a memorial for women who worked at munitions factories in World War II.

The campaign is being led by Stoke-on-Trent South Labour MP Rob Flello, whose constituency neighbours the site of one the factories.

The 20,000 workers at ROF Swynnerton became known as the Swynnerton Roses. Across the UK, about 1.5 million women worked in similar factories.

Mr Flello said "recognition was long overdue".

'Never recognised'

"Every day these women were putting their lives on the line for this country, producing the bullets and shells that were needed on the front-line," he said.

"We've recognised the Bevan Boys, the Land Girls and so forth but we've never recognised the munitions workers and it's about time we put that right."

In 2009, a tree was planted at the National Memorial Arboretum, near Alrewas in Staffordshire, in honour of the Swynnerton Roses.

Mr Flello said their work and the work of the other women required a more "significant memorial" within the arboretum.

Iris Aplin and Mary Taylor, who both worked at the Swynnerton factory, said their work should be remembered.

"Everybody accepted the work because there was a war on and we were intent on helping our troops to win it, but it should be recognised," said 90-year-old Mrs Aplin.

Mrs Taylor, also 90, said: "It was women at work which helped to win the war and because it was troops that were on the front-line, munitions workers have been overlooked."

The factory the women worked in remained open until 1958.

The site is now owned by the Army and is used as a training base.

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