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munchkin

"In quest of a shell" article by Newlay Shell Factory no 1 ord

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munchkin

Hi All,

I am wondering if anyone who knows where there were munitions factories or Royal Ordanance Factories during the great war were. If possible if you know of any in or around your area, would it be possible for you to let me know please.

I will start it off with Sheffield.

Thanks

Glynn.

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HarryBettsMCDCM

Not Sheffield,but a Company{Possibly "Coopers"? in King's Lynn,Norfolk, which {until recent years made Roller Bearings} made Aerial Bombs in WW1.I would imagine that all Engineering Companies were made over to War Work in some format or other

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Guest

The largest in Britain opened during the war at Gretna on the Scottish border.

The site actually straddled the border and part of it fell within the are which became an ammunition depot in the 1930s.

Many of the better known Royal Ordnance Factories, such as Chorley in Lancashire were not built until the rearmament programme of the late 1930s started and wer enot in use in WWI, while other sites such as Woolwich had pretty well ceased production in WWII.

I can't help with Sheffield, as I do not know of any significant sites in Yorkshire involved with what I know a bit about, ammunition and explosives.

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Simon R

Would we count Filling Factories as munition factories?

If so, I must report that there was NOT a national filling factory at Midgely Farm, Otley 14-18; it is possible you may hear otherwise, but I am here to tell you that the site was considered by WO before passing it over and deciding on Barnbow, Leeds. Some authorities have claimed it was fully built, but if you actually go and look at the site and WO files, there is nothing there.

Don't suppose a list of where filling factories WEREN'T is much use to you, but I hope this post clears up your persistent and sleep-robbing doubts about the never-built Otley filling factory.

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HERITAGE PLUS
Terry_Reeves

The History of the Ministry of Munitions, available at the National Archive, covers most of the information for larger establishments. However, many firms had muntions contracts making component parts for fuses or machining empty shell for instance. Their normal product range may not neccessarily have be associated with muntions manufacture, but every possible piece of space and skill was utilised. Much depends on what part of munitions manufacture you are looking for. For instance is it National Filling Factories, National Shell Factories, National Projectile factories, or those that fell under the title "Controlled Establishments"where often only certain sections of a factory came under the Munitions of War Act?

Terry Reeves

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PBI Friday

Hi Glynn,

A topic that's close to my heart for a number of reasons. My Great Grandfather Joseph Waring Worked in the ammunitions industry as an engineer and crystallizer throughout WWI and during the clean up of munitions in France afterwards.

He was one of the senior engineers at the White Lund Munitions plant near Morecambe during the war. My Granny (aged 96 now and still going strong!!) Still remembers a big fire at White Lund, and having to be evacuated to the beach front promenade along with hundreds of other people.... She says it's still the best fireworks display she's ever seen during all her years!!!

Post War, my Great grandad was sent to France and worked at the huge ammunition disposal and reprocessing plant in Audruic. He was incharge of a large number of Chinese labourers who were employed in salvaging and breaking down/rendering safe much of the detritus that had been left on the battlefields. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pics of the work in process which I have from his time there.

Unfortunately GG Waring was killed at Audruic whilst doing his work... remember how we were always told as kids not to return to fireworks once the fuse had been lit? Well, it seems this advice wasnt around in the early 20's and he went back to a rather large pile of Howitzer shells that had been rigged to blow.... a brave man!!!

A further note of interest regarding your original query... Patricroft, Eccles (where I'm originally from), is home to the world's first integrated engineering works.... I believe this became an ROF either shortly before or at the outbreak of WWI..... The building is still there today (though now not an ROF) and is quite an impressive and interesting building. There is the remains of a small railway siding at Patricroft station which I have been told is where shells were loaded for transport by train down south and then over to France.

Hope this is of interest to you!!..... and sorry to ramble on!!!

David.

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Spud Trevor

Hello Glynn,

I know of two in Yorkshire.

There was the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Coy. Ltd at Thornbury in Bradford.

They jointly celebrated Victory and the manufacture of their millionth shell on December 20th 1918.

There was also National Ordnance Factory No 1 at Newlay near Horsforth on the outskirts of Leeds.

Both factories had in house magazines, which promoted camaraderie and helped boost morale, great for providing an insight into the work of the factories.

Hopefully of interest,

Regards,

Spud

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Moonraker

Ammonium nitrate was made at a factory at Stratton, north east of Swindon and initially was transported 300 yards by aerial ropeway to a munitions factory, where trains of ten railway wagons entered and left the compound about six times a day. A sketch plan based on the 1922 Ordnance Survey appears in T M Smith & G S Heathcliffe, "The Highworth Branch" (Wild Swan 1979).

The National Archives contain several files about the factory at Stratton. A brief history is in MUN 5/365/1122/22. MUN 7/47 includes much more detail; a paper of December 12, 1916 estimated construction costs at £150,000 and output at 1,000 tons a week. Labour troubles were expected, and it was suggested that it should be a "controlled factory" but this was rejected in March 1917 when there were 1,600 men on site, it being pointed out that "control" would make no difference in the event of a strike, with workers still malingering if they were prevented from leaving the site. MUN 7/47 also discusses staffing, accommodation, cost of coal, orders for goods and equipment and accounting.

A description dated March 1919 of the factory and equipment is given in MUN 5/367/1122.7/3. Except for a few cases of skilled labour, workers were recruited locally, and on November 11, 1918 there were 882 men (including around 350 discharged soldiers and 588 women, though the latter were deemed not very satisfactory or economical; they were not good time-keepers and stayed out for trivial reasons but "no doubt in a way served their purpose".

Workers' wages in February 1917 are recorded in MUN 3/459.

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munchkin

Well, what a lot of information for such a small question. I would like to thank you all. The information that you have all given will help me get started on finding all the munitions factories around the British Isles. Once again thanks to you all.

Glynn.

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reminscences

My great grandfather Arthur Collinson wrote an article called "In search of a shell" and was instrumental in writing "The shell magazine - an original souvenir by employees of the national Ordnance factory at Newlay" both approximately 1917. Does anyone have a copy of either or know where I might look? I am writing up his memoirs and would like to add these.

Thank you.

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ph0ebus

There appears to be one copy here:

The University of Tulsa
McFarlin Library

Tulsa, OK 74104 United States

From:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/shell-magazine-an-original-souvenir/oclc/226398785

I went to their website and found they indeed have a copy. Reference number info for this item in their catalog:

McF Special Coll. UF535.G7 S54 1917

Contact Info:

McFarlin Library
2933 E 6th Street
Tulsa, OK 74104
PH: 918-631-2873
FAX: 918-631-3791

-Daniel

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eairicbloodaxe

Hmmm....

Looking out of the window right now, if it wasn't dark I could see the Newlay site... it's only a few hundred yards from where I sit!

In fact, I used to live virtually on top of it. Apparently some of the underground storage/works still exist.

No idea on whereabouts of the book though!

Regards

Ian

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reminscences

Ph0ebus thank you so much for the link to the McFarlin library, I shall contact them.

eairicbloodaxe thanks for the posting, I might take a trip to Leeds one day and see the site for myself.

Marcus

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eairicbloodaxe

There's not much to see... it's a wood! And a (long demolished) railway station. The main factory site is now a housing estate.

Regards

Ian

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bigronhartley

There's always The Abbey Pub ! Singers Night on a Tuesday !!

Regards

Ron

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eairicbloodaxe

Hmmm...

I remember seeing some pics someone had taken inside of the remaining underground workings a while back, but now of course, I can't find them.

Here's a few links that may be of interest:

http://www.leodis.net/display.aspx?resourceIdentifier=200267_43297976&DISPLAY=FULL

http://www.leodis.net/display.aspx?resourceIdentifier=200267_71761722&DISPLAY=FULL

http://www.currack.myzen.co.uk/newlay/index_files/Page836.htm

Apparently the main factory was where Hunters Greave scout camp is now. Although I suspect that the dyeworks (now a housing estate) the putty works (derelict) and the station site (demolished) probably were also involved.

post-92174-0-91475900-1389534514_thumb.jpost-92174-0-93579500-1389534522_thumb.j

I'm ashamed to say that despite living only a few yards away for over 12 years, I never ventured in there to see!

Regards

Ian

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Sunnylew75

My great grandfather was an Engineer at Newlay, and we have quite a few photos of groups of people there. Three are definitely as part of victory celebrations, and the rest may well be the same.

Your gr grandfather may well be in one of them, and have known mine.

I'll attach copies of the photos below for you, and please PM me if you would like them in higher resolutions.

Let me know how you get on with finding a copy of the Shell Magazine, as I've hunted for images of one for a while myself without much luck.

The first photo was taken around June-July 1917. I have a version on a postcard with the postmark as July 15 1917, so it couldn't be any later than that.

The second photo was taken Nov 11 1918:

post-37504-0-35278000-1359085597_thumb.j
post-37504-0-85785200-1359084883_thumb.j
I'm having problems uploading more from work, but I'll send the rest tonight when I'm home.

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Sunnylew75

The first photo is March 1919, just before my Gr grandfather left Newlay.


The second photo is likely my Gr grandfather's own department, as he is seated front and centre. probably about 1918.

post-37504-0-89249500-1396179953_thumb.j

post-37504-0-97145300-1396180068_thumb.j

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Sunnylew75

Photo 3 may be higher level or office staff. A guess is 1918-9 for a date.

If you compare the clothing in this photo to the previous one, you will see that there are quite a few of the women seated in the centre of the first photo who are in the second, and are wearing the same outfits.

post-37504-0-64523400-1396180201_thumb.j

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Sunnylew75

The same group as the very first photo, probably June/July 1917. this one is an obvious out-take, the whole group laughing at something.

post-37504-0-25822800-1396180420_thumb.j

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reminscences

Dear Sergeant, many thanks for uploading these fine photographs, I am sure my Gr Grandfather Arthur Collinson will be on one of them. Possibly on the back row second in from the left on the final photo.

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reminscences

Here is an extract from my great grandfathers memoirs which talks about Newlay....I hope you find it interesting:

"I went to Newlay Shell Factory No 1 Ordnance Factory Leeds as Chief Progress Clerk at 45/ a week, but, after a few weeks at Armley Road found out my duties, Newlay got into production about August 1916 and then continued to turn out 9.2 howitzer shells until Nov 1918. By that time I had worked myself up until I was second in command of the clerical staff. Chief Cashier and Asst Secretary. Every Friday I handled £5,500 in wages. And I was in receipt of 5.5.0 a week.

Our first secretary, Mr Moxon was a very clever fellow and organised the books and records exceedingly well. But when he went to a bigger job in the Ministry of Munitions...I was asked to be the Asst Secretary because of my knowledge and experience, having been one of the first on the job. Alf Bentley became the secretary."

In my great grandfathers memoirs he talks about suggesting and producing a Newlay Souvenir Magazine...

" I suggested to Moxon and our then superintendent Bingham that we ought to produce a souvenir magazine that would be of a high standard and be kept as a memento of ‘days on shells’. We called all the factory heads together and got them interested. Called for articles, sketches, etc and appointed a committee of 3 to deal with them, my title was ‘Business Manager’ which meant I did all the donkey work – which I did – and enjoyed it. The editorial 3 passed their accepted contributions to me and I did a final re writing or furbishing as I deemed necessary.

One optimist sent in a ‘small’ contribution on a roll of wallpaper! Towards the publishing day I felt there was a shortage of lighter prose, so wrote a short story “In Quest of a Shell” after the style of Edgar Wallace. To my great surprise this was awarded the prize for the best prose. As the adjudicator (a sub-editor of the Yorks Post) put it “as I mentally pursued the missing shell I hoped the writer would not fail in the climax – and he did not!” I placed the printing, decided on paper, ink, everything. We disposed of 1000 copies at 1\- each and with the help of revenue from adverts, handed over £80 to the Prince of Wales (later ill-starred Edward VIII) Soldier’s Comforts Fund. Copies were sent to the King, the Cabinet, heads of Government, particularly Ministry of Munitions and other influential people. Somewhere among my efforts is a file containing letters of appreciation from the King’s secretary downwards, many of them being very eulogistic."

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Sunnylew75

Thanks Reminiscences,

There's such a paucity of information I can find about what went on at newly, that every piece adds a new dimension. Your Gr Grandfather's suggestion may be part of a general spirit of community that was becoming evident at that time.

I've been searching British Newspapers Archive for references to Armley and Newlay Munitions, and come up with an article from September (just a couple of months before the Shell magazine's release) which talks about a munitions girls football competition being formed.

The introductory match was held on Armley Cricket ground on the 8th of September, and on Dec 3 it is reported that the girls of Armley Shell Factory easily defeated Newlay Shell Factory 5-0 in the semi-final of a competition now called "The Needham Trophy".

I've found that most newspaper articles which mention munition girls generally revolve around them fighting, or stealing, and it may be that the magazine, and the sport were attempts to keep the girls out of mischief.

The section describing the first match itself gives an entertaining insight into general opinion about these matches when the began:

"The players allowed that they had some knowledge of the game, and frequent bumps and falls, and even kicks, did not in the least appear to lessen their zeal. Indeed, their ken determination to score at any price was at times laughable, as, for instance, when a girl, evidently forgetting that they had changed sides after then interval, iced the ball through her own goal."

By the way, as your hr-grandfather was in charge of pay, you might be interested in a copy of a pay advance my gr-grandfather received which is below. The Secretary who signed it is an A ?Bevilly?, and must have worked closely with Arthur.

post-37504-0-31949700-1396942974_thumb.j

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Sunnylew75

I've cropped out a copy of the man you think may be Arthur at full size from the scan.

post-37504-0-79330000-1396943530_thumb.j

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