In 1936 Josephine was working in Edinburgh as an apprentice to a dress designer, her dream job, but that career came to an abrupt end in 1939, with the threat of war.
Her fiance, Tom, signed up to join the RAF in April 1939 and left Edinburgh to begin his training at Air Gunnery School. Josephine began work in an aircraft factory later that same year.
The following is an extract from her journal:
Late October 1939
’I am called up for war work on Manchester bomber tailplanes - later to become Lancaster bomber work - to be carried out at the old Scottish Motor Traction bus station, which was requisitioned, enlarged and equipped as an aircraft factory.
I am assigned to clerical work in the planning department - I don't mind the day shift, but loathe the night shift going out at night in the blackout and coming home in the early morning in the blackout. However I love the Friday early morning break, 4am, when we have ghastly Entertainments National Service Association ( ENSA) concerts. Everyone cheered them to the rafters for their nerve and awfulness!
Mum's younger brother [Josephine's uncle] was too old for military service, but young enough for long-distance driving of the tailplanes down to the main factory of A.V. Roe in Manchester for the total assembly: wing-spans made in Wales; tail-plane, ailerons, flaps and guns made in Scotland; nose cones and fuselage made in England - God help us all if the jigsaw didn't fit, but by a miracle it always did.
The aim was one bomber a month and to this day I can never understand how a cross-section of people from different jobs learned so quickly, simply because we knew our lives depended on it.’