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Sue Light

Munitions Workers Died of Poisoning

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Sue Light

The previous topic on munitions workers reminded me that I have a list of women who died of poisoning attributable to their war work (from IWM). So I've typed it out in case it might be of use to anyone. A sad list really - these are definitely a forgotten group - the Maggies, Annies and Lizzies, with working-class addresses. Spread countrywide, I bet a lot of members here live near at least one of them. The list was poorly typed and I've tried to correct some of the place-names, but a few are probably still wrong - where on earth is 'Tagenham, Kent'? Dagenham?

NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF WORKERS WHO HAVE DIED OF POISONING DUE TO THEIR WORK DURING THE WAR

Sarah Sheridan - 384 Dobbie’s Loan, Glasgow

Mrs. Agnes Wilson - 100 Brienside Street, Glasgow

Marion Russell - 2 Auchentorlie Street, Partick, Glasgow

Alice Post - Greensheet, Tagenham [Teynham], Kent

Nellie Clark - 45 Emma Street, Silvertown, London, E.

W. B. Marsh - 50 Manchester Street, Notting Hill, London, W.

Anne Seirs - 20 Arthur Street, Silvertown, London, E.

Lottie Mead - 20, Wornington Road, Westbourne Park, London, W.

Mrs. Gibson - 6 Kingsway, Ponders End, London, N.

Annie Newsome - 117 Abbot’s Road, Southall, Middlesex

Florrie Chandler - 3, Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, London, N.

Sybil Smith - 43 Northumberland House, Dartrey Road, Chelsea.

Louisa Preston - 69 Burlington Road, Fulham.

Edith Dillon - 23 Falcon Road, Clapham Junction, London, S.W.

Annie Perry - 51 Myrtle Road, Hounslow, Middlesex.

E. Macey - 6, Waggon Lane, Tottenham, N.

Mabel Allen - King Street, Southall, Middlesex

V. Whidgett - 58 Westgate Road, Faversham, Kent.

Margaret Roscoe - 85 Ladies’ Lane, Hindley, nr. Wigan.

Sarah Cooper - 8 Picton Road, Wavertree, Cheshire.

Agnes Deane - 30 Edensor Terrace, Everton.

Elizabeth Walsh 430 Stanley Road, Bootle, Lancs.

M. A. Johnson - Staincross Common, Barnsley.

Sarah E. Bland - 2 Windmill Street, Lancaster.

Margaret Silcock - 1 Wright’s Yard, Wigan.

Letitia Henderson - 9 Bond Street, Lancaster.

Annie Bell - 8 Bond Street, Lancaster.

Bertha McIntosh - 30 Stonecross Lane, Lowton, Wigan.

Louisa Street - 1 Ducie Grove, Manchester.

Maggie Flynn - 6 Earl Street, Burnley.

Marie Haverty - Urpeth Mill House, Beamish, Durham.

Florence Gleave - 20 Shipbrook Street, Northwich.

Sarah Butterworth - 16 Meadow Street, Northwich.

Annie Evelyn Barron - Horsforth Avenue, Bridlington.

Emily Brannon - 6 Pear Street, Sussex Street, Nottingham.

Florence Kate Carter - 222 Sherwood Street, Nottingham.

Elsie Hilton - 27 Hemlock Avenue, Long Eaton.

Lily Maud Leaver - 119 High Street, Abertridwr.

Marion Constance Lotinga - 2 The Woodlands, Pengrove Road, Hereford.

Edith Perkins - 20 Fowler Street, Draycott.

Mary Sheppard - 57 Newcastle Street, Huthwaite, Notts.

Mrs. Gertrude Schofield - 51 Bennett Street, Long Eaton.

Lizzie Jones - 58 Bigyn Road, Llanelly.

Gladys Pritchard - 144 Scyborfach Street, Swansea.

Kate Hill - Phoenix Dry Dock, Swansea.

Esther Devonald - 32 Baglan Street, Swansea.

Lily Veness - 2 Moss Cottages, Guildford Road, Farnborough.

Annie Metcalf - 75 Princes Street, Northam, Southampton

Edith Haley - 4 Ramsden Mill, Golcar, Huddersfield

Ann Leonard - 31 North Bank Road, Batley.

Bridgett Jubb - 55 Accommodation Court, York Road, Leeds.

Annie Holmes - 11 Stoneyrock Grove, Stoneyrock Lane, Leeds.

Elizabeth Farrar - 7 Azalea Street, Beckett Street, Leeds.

Emily Eastide - 79 Richardson Lane, Stanningley, Leeds.

Sarah Peaker - 52 Chapel Street, Halton, nr. Leeds.

Elsie Bates Racca Green, Knottingley.

Mary Ann Kelly - 124 Church Street, Hunslet.

Margaret Cameron - 11 Avanston Avenue, Kirkstall Road, Leeds.

Mary L. Turner - 16 Denwell Lane, Pontefract.

Florence Portman - 6 Co-operative Street, Normanton.

Sue

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MACRAE

Sue great job on this bit of research and yes I live 400yards from Marion Russell - 2 Auchentorlie Street, Partick, Glasgow.

Danny

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Jim Strawbridge

Added to which, because they generally came from the poorest of society many lie in unmarked graves because their families couldn't afford the headstone.

Alice Post was from Teynham, Kent.

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Sue Light

Thanks Jim, I've edited 'Teynham.' No medals, no commemoration, no honours bestowed similar to the thousands of RRC/ARRC awards to those involved in looking after the sick. Comparing their work to that of the WAAC waitresses, clerks etc., who never went overseas, they certainly put their lives on the line for little recognition. At least they were fairly well paid at the time, if that's any consolation.

Sue

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Roger Thompson

Hi Sue,

Thanks for your list, I live within 1/2 a mile of where Ann Leonard's address at North Bank Road, Batley, I'll follow up on her, quite a few of the Leeds street have been demolished.

Cheers Roger.

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John Gilinsky

Thanks Sue. These women irregardless of how and why they died, that is if they contributed to their own deaths by carelessness, improper training by superiors or fellow workers, etc... contributed collectively to the very rapid growth and serious recognition of industrial medicine, occupational health and protective worker legislation on the plus side. On the negative side,despite the individual family and perosnal tragedies that their (or indeed anyone's life) premature ending of their lives caused,is the superficial acceptance of acceptable home front casualties as "normal." This is all part of the 'total war' concept in which anyone and everyone is both involved whether they want to be or not in a state enterprise of mass killing and assisting others in mass killing. The aspect of the 'good pay' also has both positive and negative aspects, with such positive aspects as: raising ostensibly the standard of living for the poorest of the poor, politicizing the poor so that they become better acquainted with the broader world, stimulating higher if narrower (say technically oriented) vocational and accompanying educational aspirations, empowering women generally to broaden their horizons beyond the home, etc.... Negative aspects were a definite increse in inflation, labour strife, raising false hopes of a "shangra-lai" type post-war existence, omnipotent state interventions in family and personal lives, etc...

May I suggest Sue and others that a monument be erected in Great Britain to ALL women and/or perhaps ALL munition workers who were killed or died as a direct result of their war time munitions work? This would commemorate the home front of WWI, the huge impact of British industry in sustaining the war effort, etc....

John

Toronto

Canada

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Jim Strawbridge

May I suggest Sue and others that a monument be erected in Great Britain to ALL women and/or perhaps ALL munition workers who were killed or died as a direct result of their war time munitions work? This would commemorate the home front of WWI, the huge impact of British industry in sustaining the war effort, etc....

John

Toronto

Canada

John, I guess that the panels in York Minster are considered their memorial over here. If you don't know, York Minster is a very important church/cathedral in the north of England in Yorkshire. At the inside rear of the minster is a row of ornate cupboards dedicated to the various organisations where there were female WW1 casualties. Opening the door of each cupboard are listed all the known females at the time who had died on service. This includes overseas women including Canadian women in the CAMC. It also includes munition workers. Ocassionally new names are added as late entries.

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Myrtle

Just a small correction to an address.

Lottie Mead lived at 20, Wornington Road. Part of the road is still there but the houses have been replaced.

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Sue Light

Just a small correction to an address.

Lottie Mead lived at 20, Wornington Road. Part of the road is still there but the houses have been replaced.

Thanks - corrected :)

Sue

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trooper23

There does seem to be significant numberhere

Showing my ignorance here but what exat\ctly poisoned them? was it one compound or multiple different agents?

Jerry

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Sue Light

It was Trinitrotoluol poisoning (TNT)causing liver damage and aplastic anaemia.

Sue

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dfaulder

John, I guess that the panels in York Minster are considered their memorial over here. If you don't know, York Minster is a very important church/cathedral in the north of England in Yorkshire. At the inside rear of the minster is a row of ornate cupboards dedicated to the various organisations where there were female WW1 casualties. Opening the door of each cupboard are listed all the known females at the time who had died on service. This includes overseas women including Canadian women in the CAMC. It also includes munition workers. Occasionally new names are added as late entries.

See Jim's post on the Mrs Mabel Dearmer topic #53

See also p7 of York Minster Fact sheets The Principal Windows

David

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janecavell

Thank you, Sue, for posting that list.

I've come across a report of a munition worker's death. As her death seems to have been caused by lung disease I don't think it sounds like the type of poisoning you mention. I hope it is OK to post the details here anyway.

From this 'In memoriam' notice, published in the Witney Gazette on 14 Feb. 1920, it is clear her family attributed her death to her war work:

CUMMINGS—In loving remembrance of Bertha, the dearly loved (fourth) daughter of Mrs. T. Cummings, Cote Farm, who sacrificed her life for her country February 10th, 1919.

From her loved ones [plus verse, not copied]

This led me to the Witney Gazette of 1 March 1919, which contained a report of the death and burial of Bertha Cummings:

... Miss Cummings volunteered for munition work at the outbreak of war. Two-and-a-half years ago she contracted pleurisy, whilst at work, and after some months she returned to munitions. After a time phthisis supervened, and after being attended by a Coventry doctor for some time she came home in June, in a serious state of health. Hopes were entertained of her recovery, but however over the last few weeks she rapidly grew worse, and ended fatally on the 10th inst....

Bertha Cummings was buried at the burial ground at the Baptist chapel in Cote (or Coate), Oxfordshire, on 15 February 1919. She was 26 years old.

Phthisis was TB, wasn't it? Could the munitions work have aggravated it?

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Carmania

The IWM also has lists of women munitions workers who died due to fatal accidents and those who died due to explosions, although unfortunately the latter does not have addresses. I also came across the following list of additional names of women who died of poisoning:

Mary West - 19 Bourne Rd, Bexley

Ethel Hawkins - 12 Fairfield Villas, Crayford

Alice Cotsford - 40 Bosworth St, Kensal Road, W London

Ellen Smith - 10 St Johns Rd, Faversham

Alice Williams - 85 Gladstone Ave, Wood Green

Dorothy Willis - 17 Lower Park Rd, Southgate

Mrs Abbott - 5 Holmesdale Rd, Avenue Rd, New Southgate

Maggie Jones - 16 Skipton St, Morecambe

Helen Gavin - 785 Springburn Rd, Glasgow

Emily Judd - Winchfield, Hampshire

Florence Lomas - 4 Morecambe St, Morecambe

Aled

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John Gilinsky

Thanks David for your post earlier and the reference to the York Minster window fact sheets from the cathedral's website. Thanks also to those who are posting additional names. I still believe not having actually seen the wooden carved cupboards to the presumably individual companies' employees who worked in Munitions and died as a result etc...in York Minster Cathedral that an open air large monument to these women (and others) should be built and is long overdue. I don't think approaching say the 10 or 20 largest of these firm's current businesses that survive today or equivalent would be viewed askance. Indeed such companies or corporations would be very proud of their employees' and their own corporate invovlements in such national and patriotic work. Now we just need someone who lives in the UK to organize, lobby and advocate on these WWI munition workers' behalfs. Eh, what about all those big trade unions in Great Britain (as well as their employers the companies themselves). Surely they would also be interested? This sounds like a great (er...I did suggest it didn't I? :lol:)idea that is very very long overdue.

John

Toronto

CANADA

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Roger Thompson

Hi there Sue,

Today I visited Batley Library to see if I could find anything out about the death of Ann Leonard, unfortunatly I could not find anything in print.

Next I looked up the Burial register for Batley Cemetery(31 North Bank Road is just over the cemetery wall) and obtained her burial details,

Died 21/7/1916, buried 24/7/1916 consecrated ground plot number G436, I popped along to find it, found it how sad, the headstone is laid down and broken, further to this its even sadder she died 19 days after her brother who was killed in action 2/7/1916 on The Somme.

Their mother and father are buried in there as well.

I will keep looking in the paper as my eyes where getting tired by then I might have missed it.

Cheers Roger.

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Sue Light

Roger

Perhaps the death of a young woman was not seen as particularly newsworthy when so much space was taken up with stories of the soldiers who had died overseas. I know that in our local newspapers even reports of the deaths of soldiers decreased in number as the war progressed. But at least she has now had a visitor, and been remembered here.

Regards --- Sue

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Jane Roberts

Sue

As Roger mentioned Ann Leonard was the brother of Edward Leonard. Edward is on the memorial I am researching at St Mary of the Angels Batley. And both Ann and Edward are remembered on the memorial at St John's Church, Carlinghow, Batley. A couple of articles from the Batley News relating to Ann are as follows:

Batley News - Saturday 22 July 1916

Heavy Blow for Carlinghow Family

Son Missing and Daughter Dead

Mr and Mrs Leonard of North Bank Road, Carlinghow, Batley, have suffered a double blow. Their daughter Annie died yesterday from (it is suspected) picric acid poisoning, and last night a wire was received to the effect that their son, Private Edward Leonard, who was in the heavy fighting on July 2nd, had not been seen since. Private Leonard, who was in the West Yorkshires, was a single man, and before joining the Army acted as confidential clerk to Messrs Bodenheim and Carlebach, rag merchants, Dewsbury.

Miss Annie Leonard, who was 24 years of age, went into the National Shell Factory at Garforth some time ago, but returned home on June 25th, complaining of sickness. Her face was very yellow, as if she had been working amongst picric acid, and on Wednesday Dr Fox was called in. A specialist was also consulted, but the young lady grew rapidly worse and died yesterday.

An inquest will be held next week.

AND

Batley News – Saturday July 29 1916

Son and Daughter Gone

Sympathy for a Batley Family

From Mr and Mrs Leonard of North Bank Road, Carlinghow, Batley, whose daughter Annie died from toxic poisoning on the same day that their son was reported “missing in France” we have received the following letter:-

Mr and Mrs Leonard and family desire to take this opportunity to offer their deepest thanks, and express our most heartfelt gratitude to neighbours, friends and relations for their kindness and consideration, and most of all for the help and sympathy extended to us in this our hour of double trouble. We also send our thanks and sincere gratitude to the compatriots of our late daughter Annie working in the Barnbow Munition Factory, for the way in which they have shown their love for one who was only amongst them for such a brief time.

We earnestly desire our neighbours, who have shown such a love as is seldom found even in one’s own family, to accept these brief words of appreciation, in as much as it is impossible to express our deep feelings at such unassuming love, help and friendship shown by all. We therefore ask all to again accept our thanks.”

The inquest on Miss Leonard has been heard this week with closed doors.

Regards

Jane

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Roger Thompson

Hi Jane,

Thanks very much for that,you have saved me a great deal of squinting to read it when found,how is your research going on with regards St Mary's.

Hi Sue,

Thats as comprehensive as you can get.

Cheers Roger.

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margaretcameron

Hi Sue

We are very keen to know where you came across the list of munitions workers and addresses as Margaret Cameron is Michael’s grandmother. We know that she did die from her work at Barnbow, but for a long time thought that she was one of the women who died in the 1916 explosion. However, her death is listed in September 1917. We believe that she was buried in a cemetery where Leeds university now stands. Margaret lost her eldest son (John) in WW1 who was (circa) 29 years. She left a husband John and several children. Her youngest, Emily (Michael’s mother) was 7 at the time. Michael has never seen a photograph of his grandmother. If anyone reading this knew the Cameron family or has an old photograph of Margaret we would love to see one. We have seen the wonderful Leodis website, but, of course, do not know if Margaret is in one of the Barnbow pictures.

Margaret lived at Evanston Ave at the time (not Avanston), the end street in the Cardigans off Kirkstall Road (Leeds 4). Emily (married Ernest Gaunt) and she and her family lived in the Cardigans. Michael born in Cardigan Row, has been in Australia since 1969.

For those who are interested, on my website we have a poem dedicated to Margaret Cameron and John. It is called ‘A Barnbow Canary and her son’. The website is: http//:sites.google.com/site/chrissiemichaelsorg

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Seany

Truly a forgotten group. Florence Gleave and Sarah Butterworth lived just up the road in Northwich. The streets and houses are still there, I'll follow them up a bit.

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johnreed

Here is the Roll of Honour of those who died in the explosions at Barnbow No 1 Filling Factory in Leeds.

John

post-1365-078171600 1287311895.jpg

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truthergw

Munitions workers engaged in shell filling acquired the nickname " canaries" because of the yellowing of their skin.This was attributed to picric acid, a constituent of the explosive. The subject has been covered on the forum. Chronic poisoning was a hazard of several industrial processes. Phossy jaw amomg match workers, lead poisoning in painters of toy soldiers, mercury poisoning among hat makers and so on. At the time it was more or less accepted as inevitable for workers in that industry. Quite a few years were to elapse before legislation was introduced to improve working practices and conditions.

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Fychan

We have a May Prosser listed on our war memorial in Govilon, Monmouthshire. We believe a civilian (we presume) women on a war memorial is quite unusual ? It is believed she died as a result of her work with munitions but we can find no evidence of the cause, timing or location. Does anyone have advice on where to locate information please.

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Jim Strawbridge

I have a comprehensive list of WW1 serving female casualties and May Prosser isn't amongst them.

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