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Muriel Simkin

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Muriel Hughes was born in London on 29 July 1914. She was the eldest daughter of Thomas Griffiths Hughes, a haberdasher's assistant from Aberystwyth, and Elizabeth Ellen Hughes a domestic servant from Bethnal Green. They also had two other children, Jack Hughes and Stella Hughes.

Muriel was educated at Rams Episcopal Primary School and Hackney Parochial School and left school in 1928 at the age of fourteen. Her first job was working at Barlow's Metal Box Company for 5s 6d a week. She also worked as an examiner and finisher for Horne Brothers Tailoring in Hackney before marrying John Simkin, a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market on 26 August 1939 at West Hackney Church, Stoke Newington.

While on their honeymoon Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain was at war with Germany. When they returned John Simkin joined the Royal Artillery and she was conscripted to work at the Briggs munitions factory in Dagenham. Muriel Simkin left work in 1942 when she gave birth to her first child Patricia.

After the death of her husband in 1956, Muriel Simkin found work in a factory in Barking. Later she worked at the Electric Windings factory in Romford. She continued working until breaking her leg at the age of 70. Muriel Simkin now lives in retirement in Basildon, Essex.

Edited by Muriel Simkin

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Stella Hughes was born in London on 5th June, 1926. She is the daughter of Thomas Griffiths Hughes, a haberdasher's assistant from Aberystwyth, and Elizabeth Ellen Kershaw, a lady's maid from Bethnal Green. They had two other children, Muriel Hughes and Jack Hughes.

Stella attended Wellington Avenue School for Girls in Chingford and was thirteen years old when the Second World War broke out. During the Blitz Stella, like other children in London, only "attended school on Monday mornings in order to collect books and homework and this was returned to the school on Friday mornings (air raids permitting)".

In 1940, Stella, aged fourteen, began work as a machinist at Rego in Edmonton, making soldiers uniforms. She worked a 48 hour week as a three pence three farthings an hour. Stella also joined the Voluntary Nursing Service and nursed at Whipps Cross Hospital in the evenings and at weekends.

After the Rego factory was hit by a V2 Rocket Stella fund work at the Luxrum the light bulb factory. When the Rego factory reopened Stella returned to making officer's uniforms.

In 1943 Stella met George Hume, a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery S/L Regiment. He took part in the D-Day landings and the liberation of Paris. He also reached Germany and helped free those in Concentration Camps. After arriving back in England they married in 1947.

After the war Stella worked at Standard Telephones before joining George Hume in his business in Harlow. Stella Hughes retired in 1984.

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Jack Hughes was born in Clapton, London on 11th March, 1920. The eldest son of Thomas Griffiths Hughes, a haberdasher's assistant from Aberystwyth, and Elizabeth Ellen Hughes a lady's maid from Bethnal Green. The couple also had two other children, Muriel Hughes and Stella Hughes.

He went to school in Clapton and Stoke Newington before leaving at the age of fourteen to work as a warehouseman and trainee salesman in London.

In 1940 he was called up to join the British Army for military training. The following year he was sent to Egypt to take part in the Desert War.

He was at Tobruk but got pushed back to El Alamein where he was wounded in the arm and was hospitalized in Alexandria.

He returned to duty and took part in Operation Lightfoot and Operation Supercharge. He was also involved in the capture of Tunisia in on 11th May, 1943 and the war in Italy in 1944. He remained on duty until arriving back in Liverpool in August 1945.

After the war his brother-in-law, John Simkin, introduced him to my future wife, Eileen Kane, who he married on 28th June, 1947. They lived in Loughton before moving to Rayleigh in 1960. He worked as a commercial traveller until his retirement in 1985.

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