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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

British Women At Work During World War I


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Fascinating photos

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Very good pictures but sad to see caption for number 7 is fake news.

The yellow colour affecting munitions workers was not caused by sulphur.

Toxic jaundice was caused by exposure to picric acid and TNT 

I think better research is needed.

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Mostly its single or small groupings of photographs showing British women engaged in farm and factory work.

The joy of this collection is to see many such photographs together all in the one place, showing  the variety of industrial work to which

female participation extended. The horror of war could  for many women be experienced at a munitions factory only just a short walk down the road from home.  And yet too, there were still many more jobs not shown here where women served in roles where there was a more direct participation in the shooting war itself. 

This was surely a peoples war and one where the rewards for such dedication and personal safety and sacrifice now, in hindsights, seemed  cruelly slim.




Edited by Bosun Bob
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some really great pics in there!!!

Thank you!



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Apart from the wonderful shots of women at work during such an important time, what a lost industrial age it evokes.  The scale of the machinery is mind boggling.  What do we actually make nowadays?

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Women in  munitions factories were often at risk  The  following is a report about the death of Ada Curtis:


Death of Ada Curtis in an Accident at White and Poppe NFF No 10


3rd July, 1917



Reporting the Accident


HM Filling Factory No 21

Holbrooks Lane




The Controller of Gun Ammunition Filling

28 Northumberland Avenue








I have the honour to report that shortly after-noon today an explosion of 6:6:4 composition occurred in there hatchway of a detonator filling room which resulted unfortunately in the death of Ada Curtis, an unmarried female operative.


The circumstances attending the accident are as under:


At 12:15 pm today I was informed by telephone that an explosion had occurred in

Corridor 107, Room F.


I proceeded immediately to the scene of the accident and on entering the room I found the operative , Ada Curtis, lying on the floor with her head towards the partition which divides the room from the passageway of the corridor and her feet just clear of the protecting shield surrounding the filling machine and pointing towards the hatchway. Dr Cripps

informed me that she was dead.


There was a quantity of broken glass and timber on the floor, but the filling machine itself, although covered with a litter of wood splinters and other debris, was apparently intact.


The hatchway was completely destroyed, portions of it having been blown both inwards into the room and outwards on to the gantry, along which the Explosive Carriers pass to feed the filling rooms of the corridor with 6:6:4 composition. From the condition of the room, and the injuries to the operative , it is evident that the explosion occurred within the hatchway. The exact cause of the explosion is uncertain but it was due (probably) to the door of the hatchway coming into violent contact with the papier-mâché pot containing approximately 4 ozs. of 6:6:4 composition. There were two other operatives in the room at the time the explosion occurred, who beyond shock, suffered no harm. Unfortunately these operatives  are unable to give any information which might be of assistance in determining the cause of the explosion as they both state that the deceased operative was standing behind the protective shield when the accident happened. The protective shield, which was undamaged by the explosion was an effective protection to the operatives mentioned above.


The deceased operative bears the reputation of having been a careful worker. She had been employed in the Filling Factory for a considerable time.


I understand that the inquest on the deceased operative will be held on Friday next, July the 6th, 1917 at 3 pm.


I have the honour to be Sir


Your obedient servant


(signed) J. B. BOSUSTOW


Lieut. DCLI and Senior D. B. O.

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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