Marion Jones' quest leads to fascinating history book

Hereford Times: Marion Jones, 94, has written a book about her experiences working for the Timber Corps during the Second World War.Picture: James Maggs. Marion Jones, 94, has written a book about her experiences working for the Timber Corps during the Second World War.Picture: James Maggs.

AGED 94, Marion Jones has done more than most – and she doesn’t intend on stopping just yet.

In the last five years she has written a book and over the last 10 years has traced four parts of her family history back hundreds of years, taking regular bus trips from her Hereford home to The Hive library in Worcester.

Marion has lived in the city for the past 40 years, but grew up in Cumbria, and three years after the Second World War broke out she was whisked away to join the Women’s Timber Corps – a British civilian organisation created during the Second World War to work in forestry, replacing men who had left to join the armed forces

It is these experiences, that began when she was 22, that she has written a book about.

She said: “I wanted to write Proud to be a Timber Girl because a few years ago the government decided to honour all the volunteers for their war service. We all gathered in the Cathedral where we were given badges, and I realised I was the only one there who had served with the Timber Corps – and no one else seemed to know a lot about it.

“I was first stationed in Wales and we would spend most of the day chopping down the trees. It was hard work but I enjoyed it.

“I volunteered until 1946 and when the war was over I was offered the chance to do timber surveying in Germany for a year, but I was recently married and didn’t go. I’ve often wondered how that would have been.”

But writing and researching for the book has only taken up some of Marion’s time.

The rest of her free time is spent visiting family in York, Cumbria and Wales, and she has spent years researching her family history.

“I’ve always loved history and as I was born in Cumbria and married a Welshman and I researched my parents history and my mother and father-in-law's history, and with one line I got back as far as 1565.

“I spent time travelling between places and in the library and on the computer, and it has been wonderful but frustrating at times. You can be researching one thing and then hit a blank, and then suddenly another door will open up on to something else.

“I won’t say much else because they’re family secrets, but I’ve not uncovered any murders or anything like that. I did find out that my grandfather was the first Bridge Master when the Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894.”

Marion also finds time to go to church and music groups frequently and has no plans to stop yet.

“I’ll always find the next thing to occupy myself with,” she said, “and I won’t use my time idly.”

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