Working long and tiring hours (a night shift lasting from 5pm until 7.30 the next morning) munitions girls had little time to relax and have fun but when they did they would go on dates with boyfriends, visit Walney to see the sea (many of the girls coming from cities like Manchester had never seen the sea before) and also play football! Munitions football teams started springing up across the country and Barrow was no different. A Vickers team of 11 was created and played often throughout the war years going up against various teams from across the modern county.
Although being the 'home front' there was some military activity in Furness, particularly on Walney island where there was two military encampment, one known as Hilpsford Fort and one as Fort Walney. The Fort Walney site was operational from 1881 right through the First and Second World Wars. It was improved three years previously to the First World War in 1911 as a better coastal defence. The fort was manned by the Lancashire and Cheshire Royal Garrison Artillery which no doubt would have consisted of some men from the local towns and villages, like Barrow. The fort would have sat in a patch of land that is now half way up Walney golf course, around the current coastguard tower (which once was part of the fort complex). Interestingly if you look at aerial views from today of where the fort was you can still see the faint markings of where the walls used to be. Also note you can see the markings from Medieval ridge and furrow farming around the site too!
|Left: Fort Walney from the Air 1940 | Right: Aerial view of where Fort Walney was today courtesy of Google Maps.|
|Aerial view from Google Maps|
showing the trench layout.
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