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ORAL HISTORY - JOAN COX - FRIDAY 20 MARCH 1998.

Joan Cox (born 1920) worked at Pedigree Poultry Farm adjacent to the HQ Site, under the manager of an Irish woman called Miss Quinlan, during the early part of the war when she was single and was Joan Taylor. She married Christmas Day 1941 and lost her first child whilst still at the poultry farm. During 1943 when she was expecting her second child she worked in the packing and addressing sheds on Site 1 for a few months until it was time to have her baby. That was her spell at 70MU.

Her husband, Hubert Jack Cox but known as Jack was born 1908 and died aged 78 in 1986. At the outbreak of war he tried to join up in the Armed Forces but was rejected on medical grounds, so he became a civilian driver for the Army at Salisbury Plain. One of the jobs Mrs Cox recalls was that Jack used to collect the prisoners of war from the docks at Southampton and bring them by lorry to Salisbury. He served about 2 years with the Army but as this required time to be spent away from home he left. Joan Cox cannot recall exactly the period he spent at Woodcote but somewhere around 1941 when he changed jobs he became a civilian driver for the RAF. He was sent on a 2-week course at Blackpool, presumably connected with the RAF and driving, and spent all his free time at Blackpool Tower listening to Reginald Dixon playing the organ there. In the fullness of time was awarded a Diploma by the 'Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' for the years 1949; 1950; 1951; and 1952. He had to have a number of years clean driving before he could apply for a diploma and then took the test every year. He served a total of 11 years with 70MU and as the last diploma is dated 1952 then I presume he finished then and went on to other new employment. He was also awarded a silver RAF good drivers badge.

His duties as a driver included driving the Queen Mary articulated trailers, most types of RAF lorries and the RAF daily works bus. He was not one of those drivers who had journeys that took him away from home for a few days, and was home most nights as he did the short runs. One of his jobs was to get up extra early on the days when it snowed and attach the snow plough to his lorry and drive around all the roads used as routes to the base for lorries and buses and free them of snow. He had one of the few lorries that could make it up Whitchurch Hill when it was covered in snow - a just requirement if operating the snowplough. When he was on the civilian bus run he covered the Whitchurch and Pangbourne runs - the other two drivers covering the Woodcote area and Reading areas.

Joan Cox recalls that there was a civilian nurse on the HQ Site, situated in an office next to the Pay Office. If any civilian were ill on site she would dispense care and if necessary call in the District Nurse or the local Doctor.

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