Jacqueline Caminer

Silk stockings

Jacqueline Caminer talks about silk stockings and soldiers.


Jacqueline Caminer recalls her time in an amateur theatrical group in Camden Town.

A wartime wedding

Jacqueline Caminer talks about her wartime wedding and honeymoon to Wales.

Recollections of life on the Home Front as a young woman.

Silk stockings

At the outbreak of war Jacqueline was 17 years old and living with her parents in Edgware. Jacqueline’s father worked at a silk stocking factory in Elstree. When work broke out the factory began to manufacture stockings exclusively for women in the services. Jacqueline recalls how sought-after silk stockings were at the time:

‘I was at a little dance for the soldiers, and I was being talked to a lot by this soldier and I was about seventeen. I thought well...this is magnificent, you know. He was talking to me and we sat down... He said, ‘Your father works for the stocking factory doesn’t he?’ I said ‘Yes...he’s the man in charge of it actually’. He said ‘Oh, I suppose you can get silk stockings?’ I said ‘Well, no. Not silk stockings’, so we talked on and I thought this was interesting and he said, ‘I’d like to get some stockings for my wife’, end of story... It was a painful thing.'

Under surveillance

‘We notice, Miss Lewis, that you go out every night on the tube, why do you do that?'

In the early part of the war Jacqueline worked as a telephonist in an office at Green Park belonging to the Army. At this time she was also a member of the Communist Party and involved in an amateur theatrical group performing in Camden Town. But her activities outside of work appear to have been monitored:

‘I was invited to go to the house of the man in our road who...must have been on a war time job investigating what the people in his road were doing. He came out and I had to go to his house, ‘We notice, Miss Lewis, that you go out every night on the tube, why do you do that?... So I said ‘I’m going in to perform for the soldiers that come in every night and local people and we entertain’.’  

War work

Jacqueline was eventually called up and began work for the Army as a telephonist in Cheltenham. Although she enjoyed her initial billet with two soldiers, the situation was not considered appropriate:

‘I was put in digs with a woman who took in people who were planted on her, there were two soldiers and myself. After about a fortnight somebody came along and said you’re not supposed to live two sexes in the same house. So I was dished out and put in a Quaker home, where we had to be in a six o’clock at night, it...was more fun being with the soldiers.’


Interview with Jacqueline Caminer
Interview with Jacqueline Caminer (134k)
To read the full transcript of Jacqueline's interview please press the above link.

Silk stockings
Silk stockings (45k)
Transcript of audio clip with Jacqueline Caminer.

Theatricals (30k)
Transcript of iaudio clip with Jacqueline Caminer.

A wartime wedding
A wartime wedding (33k)
Transcript of audio clip with Jacqueline Caminer.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 28/02/2012.