WW1 Home Front - Chilwell VC Workers Brass Tally Token and Book "The Chilwell Story"
Scarce workers tally, numbered 4703, overstamped "The VC Factory" following the speech given in the House of Commons on the 8th July 1918 urging that the Factory should be awarded the Victoria Cross, one week after eight tons of explosive went up at the site which killed 134 workers and injured 250. The myth of Chilwell VC was born and caught the imagination of the workers and those who lived near by and who had been rocked by the terrible explosion.
Chilwell had been constructed in 1915 at Beeston near Nottingham as No 6 National Shell Filling Factory and was a key contributor to the war effort in the production of large calibre shells. At its peak in WW1 it employed 10,000 of which 4,000 were women. They milled Ammonium Nitrate and TNT and mixed it like flour to fill 4.5 - 15 inch shells. By September 1918, they were producing over 275,000 shells per week.
The book is hardback, 254 pages, the 2005 2nd Edition and is in good condition apart from some press marks to the centre top of the front and back boards. Otherwise as new. It covers the history of this ROF from 1915 to 1982, when it closed its doors. It came under the management of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC).
It appears that each worker employed at the National Filling Factory No.6 was issued with two checks at the start of their employment. One of these was the metallic type worker’s identification or works pass (as being offered for sale here) and the other was a similarly numbered uniface red fibre disc of 28 mm diameter. This latter was also pierced for suspension and numbered identically to the worker’s pass. Each worker was also allocated a changing room locker and locker key which was similarly numbered to their works pass. It is unclear what the red fibre disc was used for but it could have been used as a time check.
The secondary applied reverse legends found on many of the N.F.F. No.6 worker’s identification/passes must date to after the 9th July 1918 when , Mr. F. G. Kellaway MP, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions, was reported in “The Times” newspaper that, as the French had apparently given an honour to the Citadel of Verdun for its services to France, perhaps the factory at Chilwell should be awarded the Victoria Cross. Whilst this award does not appear to have been made, the site was subsequently known as “The V.C. Factory”.
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Comm StWi (69 & 70)