Tributes after Sheffield Woman of Steel Harriet dies, aged 97

Harriet Jones.Harriet Jones.
Harriet Jones.
One of Sheffield’s last remaining Women of Steel who worked making armaments for Firth Brown Steels in the Second World War has died, aged 97.

Harriet Jones, from Swallownest, died in hospital on Saturday, October 12 after a short illness, her daughter Brenda Stancill said.

Harriet was one of thousands of women who worked in traditionally male dominated industries during the Second World War, helping keep the factories going while men were sent to the front line.

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Sheffield Woman of Steel dies aged 93
Harriet with her medal and the Women of Steel statue.Harriet with her medal and the Women of Steel statue.
Harriet with her medal and the Women of Steel statue.

More than 70 years later, the Women of Steel as they became known were honoured by the city with a statue on Barker’s Pool in Sheffield city centre commemorating their contribution to the war effort.

Brenda, aged 73, of Aughton, said her mum didn’t talk about her wartime experiences much, but was nevertheless very proud to be honoured alongside the other Woman of Steel later in life.

“Mum was a woman of few words and she never talked about her wartime experiences” said Brenda.

“She did say there was a really good spirit among the girls and that some of the men didn’t like them there though.”

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Harriet with her husband Jack in 1974.Harriet with her husband Jack in 1974.
Harriet with her husband Jack in 1974.

“She was a brilliant mother, never raised her voice or had a cross word. She was fantastic.

“And she was very proud to get the medal and when she saw the other women. I was very proud as well.”

During the war, Harriet used to walk from Swallownest to Handsworth, before getting the tram into the city and repeating the journey in reverse after a day’s work at Firth Browns.

After the war, Harriet - whose maiden name was Tracey - had five daughters, Ann, Brenda, Jackie, Sandra and Lynn.

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She also went on to have 10 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, and was an active member of the Royal British Legion.

Sadly, Harriet’s husband Jack died at the age of 53 in 1974, leaving her on her own for the last 45 years of her life.

“She has always had a big family around her though,” added Jackie, aged 68.

“The Woman of Steel award came totally out of the blue. She was blown away by it and very, very pleased.”

“We will be giving her a good send off. 97 is a very good age.”

A service of remembrance for Harriet will take place at Herringthorpe Crematorium on Thursday, October 31 at 11.45am. All are welcome.

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