"They were short here in Royal Albert" Staffing during the Second World War Highvolume Play Pause Stop

Frank Cochrane in 1989, sitting by the Lancaster Canal.
Nigel Ingham
Recorded at a Lancaster College of Adult Education reminiscence group on March 11th 1988, Frank Cochrane (with Arthur Bamford and James Leach) recalls the shortage of staff at the Royal Albert Institution during the Second World War. Here is talking about residents being able to visit the institution's cinema. As well as staff working days without a break, Frank says that as a resident he would take on staffing duties.


Frank:  He (Arthur) was in, he was in a ward called Number 10 in them days. Norman was an’ all. Used to go every Tuesday them two.

NI: Do you remember that Arthur.

Arthur: Yeah

NI: Going on Tuesdays? What did you see when you went?

Arthur: Cowboys.

Frank:  There was many, many a time when they couldn’t send a staff with them and Mrs Wareing (Matron) used to come and ask me to take them to pictures. A lot of them wouldn’t believe that.

James: They used to go on their own didn’t they Frank?

NI … Who would you take Frank? Who would you take to the pictures?

Frank: Norman and them… All Number 10 lads.

James: Used to go on their own didn’t they, some of them?

Frank: One or two of them did – yes.

James: One or two went on their own. Yeah.

Frank: But all Number Ten they used to go with somebody.

NI When was that?

Frank: During war when they was a lot of the staff called up… Eeh they were short here in Royal Albert in them days. They were terribly short. There was many, many a time when they used to work three weeks without a day off. Many a, many a time, because they couldn’t put anybody in the ward, in their place, you see. They was that short… There was trouble about being short. And er about twelve months before war finished they started sending some from Moor (Hospital) because I mean to say there was a lot of them working without a day off, as long as three weeks. And there was many a time when it come their holidays, due for holidays, they couldn’t have it because they couldn’t get anybody.

NI So did that change after the war?

Frank: It changed after the war, yes.

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