ROF Newport, filing bench, 1940s
War Work advertisement, 1940s
ROF Newport, Ruby Loftus screwing a breech ring, 1941/42
South Wales Argus headline, April 1943
The Home Front
A Gun Girl
|"While women can't be firing the guns, we're putting everything we've got into making them!"|
Night Shift script by Arthur Calder-Marshall, 1941
|Ruby Loftus was one of thousands of women who volunteered or were conscripted to work in armaments and munitions factories across Britain.
|During the Depression of the 1930s, the Loftus family - like many others - left South Wales to look for work in London. After war began, they returned to Newport late in 1940.
|She began work in the new Number 11 Royal Ordnance Factory in Newport when she was 19. Before the war she had been a shop assistant but after training at the Factory, she became an outstanding lathe operator.
|Ruby was one of a handful of women who performed precision engineering operations which had previously only been carried out by highly skilled craftsmen.
|She became widely recognized after she was chosen by Dame Laura Knight as the subject of a painting which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1943 and voted Picture of the Year.
|"In days gone by it was considered that this work could only be carried out successfully by skilled labour; but now, with the introduction of necessary tools, jigs and fixtures, it was possible to produce material with intelligent woman labour."
South Wales Argus newspaper, November 1940
|Many of these photographs appear in the book Wartime Newport: the Gun Factory (ISBN 0-9519136-0-3) which was published by Newport Museum and Art Gallery in 2006.
Copyright: Newport Museum & Art Gallery Newport South Wales NP20 1PA