CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR MUNITIONS WORKERS RECOGNITION
Munitions workers, most of whom were women, were essential to the war effort during the First and Second World Wars and their dangerous work in factories produced the ammunition used by soldiers on the frontline. In total, there were 1.5 million women employed making munitions and Dumfries and Galloway was the base for a number of war time factories. While Armed Forces veterans, ‘Land Girls’ and ‘Bevin Boys’ have all been recognised for their contribution in war time, through special commemorative badges, no such official recognition has ever been awarded to the women who risked life and limb in the munitions factories.
One of the reasons munitions workers have never received formal recognition is because there is no comprehensive list of who worked in the factories. Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown, Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Armed Forces Champion Cllr Archie Dryburgh are asking for local people to get involved in the campaign by providing information about individuals in the region who worked in munitions factories.
The easiest way to get involved is by completing the online form on Russell Brown’s website by going towww.russellbrownmp.com and following the link from the homepage. Alternatively they can get in touch with Russell Brown’s office on 01387 247902 with the following details:
- Name of munitions’ worker
- National Insurance number (if known)
- Date of birth
- Details of when and where they worked
- When they worked
- Their current/previous contact details
Launching the campaign, Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said:
“Munitions workers – the majority of whom were women – played a vital part in the war effort and deserve to be recognised by our country. Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to these heroes on the Home Front, many of whom were seriously injured or even killed during their hard and dangerous work. I have been pressing Government Ministers to take action and I am pleased that we are making progress, albeit not at quickly as I would like. While there is general agreement about the need to formally recognise munitions workers, we are still discussing what form this should take. While my preference would be individual recognition in a similar way to Veterans Badges, there are questions about whether this is feasible because no comprehensive list of munitions workers exists. An alternative option is a local memorial or a planting of trees in a public display of recognition.
“This is where we need local people to get involved. Since there is no list of women who worked in munitions factories, our best sources of knowledge are the communities themselves. Many local people knew someone or had a relative who was in the munitions factories and I want to bring all this knowledge together. I am asking that local people get in touch with whatever information you have – we need the names of workers, where they worked and when they worked. The easiest way to do it is to go to my website at www.russellbrownmp.com and fill in the online form. Compiling this information is the first stage in our campaign to bring munitions workers long overdue recognition of the sacrifices they made during the Wars.”
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray added:
“Dumfriesshire has a proud wartime history and I know many local people have family who worked in the factories here. The job they had to do was noisy, dirty and dangerous, but they knew it was vital and I am in awe of their bravery. We rightly recognise the heroics of our troops during the First and Second World Wars, and now it’s time to do the same for those who put life and limb on the line to make sure the soldiers had the ammunition they needed on the frontline. “
Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Armed Forces Champion Cllr Archie Dryburgh added:
CONTACT – ANDREW MACKENZIE 07769206856
NOTES TO EDITORS
ATTACHED – Photo of Russell Brown and Elaine Murray with former munitions workers Margaret Shields and Elizabeth McClachrie and campaigners Colin and Jean Saunders. They are holding a copy of an old photograph from the munitions factory.
From left to right on the photo: Elaine Murray MSP, Russell Brown MP, Elizabeth McClachrie, Colin Saunders, Margaret Shields, Jean Saunders.