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munchkin

Munitions Factories

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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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Bombshell

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

I know this is an old thread but is there a name for any of the in-house journals? I am studying the in-house journal The Bombshell for my MRes at Sheffield Hallam University.

Any information would be greatly appreciated,

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dink_and_pip

I know of 2 but not from Sheffield!

Georgetown Gazette (my avatar) and Cardonald News

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Bombshell

I know of 2 but not from Sheffield!

Georgetown Gazette (my avatar) and Cardonald News

That's excellent news dink and pip. Do you have any information on them such as surviving copies?

Many thanks Don!

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tgrubb

Hi Glynn

Have you seen this recent Historic England report on the First World War National Factories: http://research.historicengland.org.uk/Report.aspx?i=15388&ru=%2fResults.aspx%3fp%3d1%26n%3d10%26t%3dfactories%26ns%3d1

We have the National Shell Filling Factory No.5 here in Gloucestershire.

Cheers

Tim

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