Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Airmen became shoemakers - 1963
In Dept 322 are two who were born in Poland, and were 50 years old, and started as Batamen, within a few days of each other. They are Wlodzimiersi Woskrensinski (top), toe laster, and Jan Rytter (below), who fits top foxing. Both are fast, steady and reliable workers, and both started, and still are, in the rubber factory.
Wlodzimiersi, - or Ted, as he is known to his fellow workers – was in the Polish Air Force for three years, and like many other men of the country of his birth, stayed in England after the war, and found a job. Some of them were engaged by British Bata, and have settled down happily. He was 50 on Friday.
“I started in 1948”, he said, “and soon felt that I should be happy. This feeling was justified and I really enjoy my work – if I did not I should not have stayed here! I do not recall all the operations I have done- but I do not think there many that I have not done.”
In making this remark, he was apparently referring to the time he was a key operator, which responsible position he attained after only a comparatively short period of service. For a man who had never done any shoemaking before he came to East Tilbury, this was outstanding.
“I worked in various departments,” he remarked, “on several designs and learned as I worked. I was always keen to do my best, and the facilities were excellent.
“I was impressed with the friendly atmosphere, the sense of companionship prevailing among the workers, and the practical way in which the floormanagers, and foremen, and experienced operators, shared their knowledge. “
Ted progressed as a learner in Dept 331, and mover to Dept 387. He soon became a key operator, and is now a toe laster – but he would be capable of doing, quite efficiently, almost any other job in the rubber factory.
Like several other young men who came to East Tilbury at that time, he found romance, as well as work. His wife, Irene, formerly in the Expresso Bar, is now an assistant in the Bata Estate Post Office.
He spends much of his off-work time in house decorating and gardening in his house in Queen Elizabeth Avenue, where he moved after living in the Bata Hotel.
Jan Rytter “did not want” anything about him published but the recording of a fiftieth birthday – in his case on Sunday – cannot be missed.
He started two days after Woskrensinski also in Dept 331, to which he returned after a period in Dept 334. In addition to fitting top foxing (his present job in Dept 332), he can do several other operations, is married, and has two children, aged 10 years, and 5 years.
He served in the Royal Air Force for eight years.
W WOSKRENSINSKI AND J RYTTER