Many people will have heard of the 'Idle Women', the volunteer women who worked on canal boats on the Grand Union Canal during the Second World War. Much less known are the few women who worked on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal – they were known by the boatmen as 'Judies' – towards the end of the War. Because the scheme was so late, and the greater difculties for women working on wide boats, it did not have the impact of the Grand Union scheme, although traffic ledgers show the 'master' of Edith as Miss Anderson; and of the Weasel a Mrs Greenwood. At least twelve women did work the boats at some stage, but it seems only Nancy Ridgway, and her mate, Margaret Thomas, stayed for any length of time.
These are Nancy's memories of that time, initially written for her children and grandchildren.