Doris Grant

Recollections of work as a typist for the Merchant Navy.

Working for the Merchant Navy

Although too young to be called up at the beginning of the war, Doris Grant was eventually sent to be a typist/operator for Merchant Navy offices in Berkley Square. The office took messages from the ships and decoded them before Doris and her colleagues typed up the requested number of copies. Nevertheless, Doris believes the work carried out by herself and her co-workers has never received enough recognition, ‘We had to work 9 hours a day, 7 days a week, 51 weeks of the year’.  

Air raids

On one occasion the offices took a big hit. Although the bomb did not explode, it left a gaping hole in the building with the blast killing 12 girls across the road. Doris recalls how the cruelty  of war was ever present, ‘I was lucky as I lived in outer London and could go home to a fairly quiet night, but most of the other girls lived in New Cross, Deptford etc - real ‘East Enders’. If they were late coming in we guessed what had happened’.


After surviving the V1 and V2 rockets, Doris heard a peculiar noise over the loud typewriters thinking it may have been a new bomb – but when she looked the window she saw hundreds of aircraft pulling gliders – at this point they all ran into the streets cheering as D-Day had arrived. Doris recalls: 'On D-Day we were allowed 2 hours of dinner & tried to make our way up Piccadilly to our favourite Milk Bar (the Moo bar), but it was impossible to get through the crowds hugging & kissing & crying’.

When Doris was eventually demobbed she began work for the Ministry of Transport, Food Research Laboratories.


Doris Grant
Doris Grant (40k)
To read more about Doris's wartime experiences in her own words please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 21/06/2012.