Many engineers were not allowed to sign up to the forces as they were deemed indispensable and instead they supported the war from home. The increased need for munitions and related items meant a new workforce was needed, both to meet demand and because many men had gone to war; women formed the core of this.

Home Forces

Harry Stephenson Ellis served with No. 3 Signals Section of the Durham Royal Engineers Volunteer Home Force. However, he had originally requested foreign service. Ellis wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Walsh to request leave from his position as Borough Electrical Engineer in South Shields to join the Royal Engineers. The request was refused as Ellis’s work as a skilled electrical engineer at home was recognised as being of more use to the war effort than joining the ranks of the Royal Engineers:

“…I have come to the conclusion that you really have absolutely no business or right to leave the important post which you are now holding".

To dissuade him from joining the Royal Engineers in France, Walsh then suggested he enrol in the Volunteer Corps. Ellis did not give up easily and applied in 1916 for a commission in the Royal Flying Corps. Although not yet on active service, Major General Shaw (Home Forces) described in May 1916 how Ellis’s method of painting street lamps was favourably received by the Field Marshall; he sent drawings on how to minimise white light on the ground produced by arc lamps. By April 1917 Ellis had finally offered his services as a National Service Volunteer:

“Your offer has been recorded, but in view of the nature of your occupation it can only be considered after dealing with the offers of men engaged in work of less essential importance.”

Ellis did not give up; such was his patriotism and desire to enlist, even though he now accepted this would be on the home front and November 1917 Ellis had succeeded to join the war effort. He was accepted as a Lieutenant in the Volunteer Force, County of Durham Volunteer Engineers, exactly two years after his initial request. He was the commanding officer for No.3 Signals Section of the Durham Royal Engineers Volunteer Corps. In May 1919, he received orders for the disbandment of the Volunteer Force and the re-opening of the Territorial Force. He was in command of checking all remaining stores and the accommodation at the Drill Hall.

“I am commanded by the Army Council to inform you that in recognition of your services as an officer of the Volunteer Force in the Durham Royal Engineers (V.) you have been granted the Honorary Rank of Lieutenant…I am to take this opportunity of conveying the thanks of the Army council for your services to the Country during the Great War, and for the excellent work you have done.”

Ellis left Durham in 1919 to take up employment as Borough Electrical Engineer in Southampton. His story highlights how engineers who remained on the home front, continuing their work, helped the war effort. Despite pressure to fight many had to remain in post at home as their occupation was so skilled it could not be replicated by another. It was also important that their expertise was used to remain ahead of the enemy and not to give them the advantage in warfare.

NAEST 155 03 114 Photograph of Lt Ellis
Photograph of Ellis in the Royal Engineer Signals. Read his biography in Resources.

NAEST 155 03 06 Volunteer Force certificate
Printed certificate for appointment to Volunteer Force.

Munitions

War brought with it a huge increase in demand for munitions, at the same time the workforce was reduced by men signing up. By 1918, almost a million women were employed in munitions and engineering works, with 80% of shells being made by women by 1917: in the decade before only 212,000 had been employed in these areas. A government policy was introduced to ensure their training, ‘Dilution’.

Olive Monkhouse, Chief Woman Dilution Officer, Ministry of Munitions gave a paper on this at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a debate followed. It was accepted that when properly trained the women were in fact as good as, if not better, than the men. Men are in part credited with the programme’s success "The successful employment …in an almost equal degree to the skilled man, and the employer": the employer in selecting tasks and the man ‘using all their brains and skill’ to train, and socialise the work environment. Concerns for the women’s capabilities were very real, they had to be properly trained as soldiers lives could literally depend on it. Concerns about the reaction of the existing workforce and management were also paramount as some managers refused to believe women were capable of being fitters, tool-turners etc. Monkhouse also notes that the women "face[d] obstacles both necessary and  unnecessary"; some male staff members would tease, or even sexually harass, the women and thus their safety was a real issue; welfare also affected production and a Health of Munition Workers' Committee was formed. Practical problems such as a lack of facilities also had to be overcome, as was the fact that most of the women were not used to factory work, organisation or associated environments.

Concerns were real and practical: this was a new realm for most of the women and the concern for their welfare was uppermost. Discussion followed Monkhouse's paper, on whether these women might remain in engineering after the war and what the effects on the ‘comfort and happiness’ of their homes might be.

Michael Longridge, the President, acknowledged that Monkhouse got top billing and that she was something of a sensation and summed up the situation of women in factories as "a sign of the times".  We are told several women were in the audience and Longridge was keen for them to speak but they would not. Monkhouse was the first women to give a paper.

Press photograph of engineering workshop during WW1

Press photograph of engineering workshop during WW1

by User Not Found | 13 Aug, 2014

1505 comments

Leave a comment
  1. kaleemseo | Jun 19, 2018
    Financial Education Services has created countless financial programs aiming to satisfy the need for financial security. We’ve covered the spectrum to create pieces for each part of the financial puzzle. From maximizing your protecting your identity, protecting your identity, securing your assets to preparing for a stable financial future.
  2. kaleemseo | Jun 17, 2018
    Hey wanna watch some sex toy reveiws watch this video lesbian anal sex toys CLICK ON THE LINK
  3. kaleemseo | Jun 17, 2018
    Hey If you wanna watch watch sex toys reviews watch this video lesbians vibrating strap on this is the best video
  4. sewa vila | Jun 16, 2018
    Sewa villa puncak sewa villaSewa villa bukit danau sewa villa bukit danau puncakSewa villa coolibah villa bukit danauSewa villa kota bunga sewa villa bukit danauvilla-puncak bukit danauSewa villa puncak resort sewa villa di bukit danausewa villa puncak bukit danau lot 13 villa bukit danau puncaksewa villa sewa villa puncaksewa villa puncak murah sewa villa di puncaksewa villa puncak 6 kamar sewa villa puncak murahsewa villa puncak bukit danau club house 15 kamar villa puncaksewa villa di puncak bukit danau lot 1 sewa villa di puncak ada kolam renangsewa villa puncak bukit danau lot 5 villa di puncak passsewa villa bukit danau lot 14 sewa villa puncak resortsewa villa puncak 3 kamar sewa villa di puncak resortsewa villa kota bunga murah sewa villa untuk rombongansewa villa di kota bunga sewa villa murahsewa villa puncak kota bunga sewa villa coolibahsewa villa kota bunga sewa villa di coolibahvilla coolibah villa coolibahvilla puncak coolibah sewa villa coolibah murahsewa villa di coolibah sewa villa kota bungasewa villa coolibah murah sewa villa di kota bungasewa villa coolibah villa kota bungasewa villa coolibah kav 28 sewa villa kota bunga murahsewa villa puncak coolibah kav 58 sewa villa 4 kamarsewa villa coolibah kav 59 Sewa Villa 6 kamar villa brajasewa villa coolibah kav 72 Sewa villa 5 kamarsewa villa puncak cendrawasih sewa villa braja bukit danausewa villa puncak bukit danau lot b villa coolibah utamasewa villa puncak villa di puncak cisaruasewa villa komplek villa coolibahsewa villa puncak sewa villa coolibah puncak murahbukit danau sewa villa coolibah untuk robongansewa villa puncak bougenville villa untuk rombonganVilla Braja Bukit Danau sewa Villa sewa villa puncak bougenvillesewa villa bougenvillesewa villa sewa villa di coolibahsewa villa bukit danau puncak villa coolibahvilla bukit danau sewa villa coolibah murahsewa villa bukit danau sewa villa kota bungabukit danau sewa villa di kota bungasewa villa di bukit danau villa kota bungavilla bukit danau puncak sewa villa kota bunga murahsewa villa puncak sewa villa 4 kamarsewa villa di puncak sewa villa puncak bougenvillesewa villa puncak murah Sewa villa 10 kamarvilla puncak villa untuk rombongansewa villa di puncak ada kolam renang villa coolibah utamavilla di puncak pass villa di puncak cisaruasewa villa puncak resort komplek villa coolibahsewa villa di puncak resort sewa villa coolibah puncak murahsewa villa untuk rombongan sewa villa coolibah untuk robongansewa villa murah sewa villa kota bunga murahsewa villa coolibah sewa villa kota bunga 4 kamar
  5. zin zin | Jun 11, 2018
    At this point you'll find out what is important, it all gives a url to the appealing page: mens clothing
  6. zin zin | Jun 11, 2018
    At this point you'll find out what is important, it all gives a url to the appealing page: Stevenage Carpet Cleaners
  7. ashly doll | Jun 07, 2018
    I have a similar interest this is my page    read everything carefully and let me know what you think. insta likes
  8. ashly doll | Jun 06, 2018
    I should say only that its awesome! The blog is informational and always produce amazing things. domino 99
  9. ashly doll | Jun 03, 2018
    These websites are really needed, you can learn a lot.  click this site
  10. ashly doll | Jun 02, 2018
    There you can download for free, see the first of these data.  Fort Lauderdale Web Design
  11. ashly doll | Jun 01, 2018
    You should mainly superior together with well-performing material, which means that see it: guest blogging service UK
  12. ashly doll | May 31, 2018
    Welcome to the party of my life      here you will learn everything about me. Manhattan Capital Inc
  13. ashly doll | May 23, 2018
    I would recommend my profile      is important to me, I invite you to discuss this topic. itransact nodejs
  14. Anh Ngoc | May 23, 2018
    máy rửa bát giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu máy rửa bát tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm máy rửa bát nhập khẩu Đức, Tây Ban Nha, Pháp, và châu Âu.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại máy rửa bát.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ lắp đặt máy rửa bát uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 2 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại máy rửa bát giá rẻ” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.

    lò nướng giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu lò nướng tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm lò nướng nhập khẩu Đức, Tây Ban Nha, Pháp, và châu Âu.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại lò nướng.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ lắp đặt lò nướng uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 2 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại lò nướng giá rẻ” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.
    Để có giá tốt xin vui lòng liên hệ trực tiếp với chúng tôi qua Hotline 0978.028.661

    máy hút mùi giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu máy hút mùi tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm máy hút mùi nhập khẩu Đức, Tây Ban Nha, Pháp, và châu Âu.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại máy hút mùi.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ lắp đặt máy hút mùi uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 2 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại máy hút mùi giá rẻ” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.
    bếp ga giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu bếp ga tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm bếp ga nhập khẩu châu Âu và Trung Quốc.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại bếp ga.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ vận chuyển uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 2 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại bếp điện từ giá rẻ” và “khuyến mại đổi bếp” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.
    bếp điện giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu bếp điện tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm bếp điện nhập khẩu Tây Ban Nha và CH Pháp.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại bếp điện.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ lắp đặt bếp điện uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 3 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại bếp điện từ giá rẻ” và “khuyến mại đổi bếp” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.
    Để có giá tốt xin vui lòng liên hệ trực tiếp với chúng tôi qua Hotline 0978.028.661

    bếp điện từ giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu bếp điện từ tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm bếp điện từ nhập khẩu Đứcbếp điện từ nhập khẩu Tây Ban Nha.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại bếp điện từ.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ lắp đặt bếp điện từ uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 3 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại bếp điện từ giá rẻ” và “khuyến mại đổi bếp” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.
    Để có giá tốt xin vui lòng liên hệ trực tiếp với chúng tôi qua Hotline 0978.028.661

    bếp từ giá bao nhiêu?
    Chúng tôi xin tư vấn nên tham khảo các thương hiệu bếp từ tại Showroom bếp Royal!
    Tại thiết bị nhà bếp Royal chuyên các sản phẩm bếp từ nhập khẩu Đức và bếp từ nhập khẩu Tây Ban Nha.
    Bếp Royal sẽ tư vấn kỹ chức năng, công dụng, thông số kỹ thuật và đơn giá của từng loại bếp từ.
    Thế mạnh của bếp Royal là dịch vụ lắp đặt bếp từ uy tín chuyên nghiệp, bảo hành tại nhà lên đến 3 năm, “chúng tôi luôn luôn cố gắng hết sức để đem lại sự hài lòng cho quý khách“.
    Ngoài ra Bếp Royal luôn có chương trình “khuyến mại bếp từ giá rẻ” và “khuyến mại đổi bếp” để phục vụ nhu cầu của quý khách hàng.
    Để có giá tốt xin vui lòng liên hệ trực tiếp với chúng tôi qua Hotline 0978.028.661
  15. ashly doll | May 21, 2018
    On this page, you'll see my profile, please read this information.  parasol jardin
  16. Jefferson Rylan | May 19, 2018
    Great Information about World Day its exceptionally pleasant instructive post. a debt of gratitude is in order for the post.  buy peptides bodybuilding
  17. Ankara Parti Organizasyon | May 17, 2018
    <a href="http://fasulyeamca.com/">Parti Organizasyon Ankara</a>
  18. Ankara Parti | May 17, 2018
    https://fasulyeamca.com/ http://fasulyeamca.com/  <a href="http://fasulyeamca.com/" rel="”dofollow”">Ankara Parti Organizasyon Hizmetleri</a>
  19. Ankara Parti Organizasyon | May 17, 2018
    <a href="https://fasulyeamca.com/" rel="”dofollow”">Ankara Parti Organizasyon Hizmetleri</a>
  20. Anonymus | May 16, 2018
    Much obliged for offering pleasant data to us. i like your post and all you impart to us is uptodate and very instructive, i might want to bookmark the page so i can come here again to peruse you, as you have made a great showing. neonexims.de
  21. adnankhatri | May 16, 2018
    Two full thumbs up for this magneficent article of yours. I've truly delighted in perusing this article today and I figure this may be outstanding amongst other article that I've perused yet. If it's not too much trouble keep this work going ahead in a similar quality.  stock
  22. ashly doll | May 14, 2018
    On this page, you'll see my profile, please read this information.  ดูฟุตบอลสด
  23. John Ross | May 10, 2018
    Unlock your Android phone on which you like to download Apk Tags Spinrilla Android app.
  24. jason | May 08, 2018
    Thanks for writing such a great post. I really appreciate you for this post. It was very helpful. Keep it up and thanks again!regards, Jason jack Best Western movies
  25. ashlydoll | May 04, 2018
    On this page, you'll see my profile, please read this information.  Zahnchirurgie Berlin
  26. ashlydoll | Apr 30, 2018
    On my website you'll see similar texts, write what you think.  Test Bank for Managing Quality 6th Edition by Foster
  27. faheem bashir | Apr 28, 2018
    Thanks for writing such a great post. I really appreciate you for this post. It was very helpful. Keep it up and thanks again Top 10 Lists of everything
  28. Steve | Apr 25, 2018
    Extraordinary occupation for distributed such a gainful site. Your web log isn't just helpful however it is furthermore truly innovative as well. There have a tendency to be relatively few individuals who can surely compose not all that straightforward posts that imaginatively. Proceed with the decent written work  v123movies
  29. Steve | Apr 24, 2018
    Extraordinary occupation for distributed such a gainful site. Your web log isn't just helpful however it is furthermore truly innovative as well. There have a tendency to be relatively few individuals who can surely compose not all that straightforward posts that imaginatively. Proceed with the decent written work  cinta poker
  30. Makhi Alma | Apr 23, 2018
    I really like your blog. Great article. analyse
  31. UziHerbal | Apr 23, 2018
  32. daikaads | Apr 22, 2018
    I'm happy I discovered this site. I couldn't discover any information on this issue earlier too. Also, work a site and on the off chance that you are ever keen on doing some guest composing for me if conceivable don't hesitate to tell me. I'm generally searching for individuals to look at my site. Time Attendance System Dubai
  33. Reagan Meadow | Apr 22, 2018
    Hi! Thanks for the great information you havr provided! You have touched on crucuial points! شقق للبيع في اسطنبول
  34. Peter | Apr 18, 2018
    I beyond doubt appreciate your articles and blogs Best Anti Aging Products Your thing is shows latent, m gona add this to my bookmarks..
  35. Faheem | Apr 17, 2018
    I can give you the address       Here you will learn how to do it correctly. Read and write something good. No upfront cost remodeling
  36. Latham | Apr 17, 2018
     When you combine a love horoscope with a full love report and a love calculation, you get the complete picture for your relationship voyance de nuit
  37. Faheem | Apr 12, 2018
    Hi there, I discovered your blog per Google bit searching for such kinda educational advise moreover your inform beholds very remarkable for me. Sicherheitsdienst Berlin
  38. wheels happy | Apr 12, 2018

    Winter will help you to chill out and improve your driving online skill. You have to control your two-wheels so as to go ahead, overcome challenges and finish levels.  You should take advantage of bonuses on the race like rockets to strengthen the engine and improve speed. Use arrows effectively to control your motorbike in Friv games 2018 | Abya games | cakoinhat | kizi games online 2018

  39. Peter | Apr 11, 2018
    A debt of gratitude is in order for posting this data. I simply need to tell you that I simply look at your site and I discover it exceptionally fascinating and enlightening. I can hardly wait to peruse loads of your posts.  32red casino
  40. james jack | Apr 11, 2018
    This is very interesting, but it is necessary to click on this link:  Arredatori a macerata
  41. pioneerseo | Apr 09, 2018
    As a matter of fact I read it yesterday yet I had a few considerations about it and today I needed to peruse it again on the grounds that it is exceptionally elegantly composed.  Stephen Pierce
  42. edsam | Apr 04, 2018
  43. dsdsds | Apr 04, 2018
    This was a really great contest and hopefully I can attend the next one. It was alot of fun and I really enjoyed myself.. freespins no deposit
  44. Robinjack | Apr 04, 2018
    Hey! QuiteRather insightful post you have there. This actually assisted us a tremendous amount! free-article-spinner
  45. Swansea411 | Apr 03, 2018

    Only professional can create this kind of resource, cheers!

    Anvarol

  46. Hulk | Apr 03, 2018
    I'm extremely happy to have come across your website.I had never found such valuable info before. I also have my own website and if you do wish to guest post for me I will be glad. Kindly check my site here 

    <a href="http://ultimatebulking.com/reviews/anvarol-review/">Anvarol</a>

  47. Maximo Kenya | Apr 03, 2018
    I truly value the sort of subjects you post here. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing us an extraordinary data that is really useful. Great day!  pokerivinkit
  48. alex | Apr 03, 2018
    when we are looking for apartment for rents, we usually choose those with very clean rooms” triche fortnite
  49. Hulk | Apr 03, 2018
    A debt of gratitude is in order for setting aside an ideal opportunity to talk about this, I feel unequivocally about it and affection adapting more on this subject. On the off chance that conceivable, as you pick up ability, would you psyche overhauling your website with additional data? It is greatly useful for m property show birmingham
  50. asim seo | Apr 03, 2018
    Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post.cat style store

    Leave a comment

    The photographs show just how varied the work that women undertook was: and the variety of new skills that therefore had to the taught and obtained. This new workforce, alongside the remaining male workers, not only delivered munitions but also worked on other weapons and in back offices and research roles. Both at home and on the Continent women worked in forestry, medicine and as drivers.

    Click here to read the full paper and discussions. Or here to read about the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield.

    Views from the Home Front

    Oliver Heaviside, seen here, became a telegraph clerk for the Anglo-Danish Telegraph Company, later the Great Northern Telegraph Company, in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1868. After 1874, he began work on a series of problems in telegraphy and signal transmission using experimentation, mathematics and vector analysis. He had long and famous disagreements with Sir William Henry Preece over the introduction of inductance to long distance communication cables to improve the transmission of signals, amongst others and was an active letter writer. Heaviside continued his correspondence with leading engineers and scientists throughout the war. They contain commentary on the war, including personal views.

    Poisonous gases were one area of debate, between Heaviside and the Oxford University lecturer Dr CV Burton. In 1915 Burton went to work in the Royal Aircraft Factory, Department H (Physics) at Farnborough; he was killed in an explosion there in 1917. His views on the use of poisonous gases offer a window into how people at home felt about aggressive methods at the front:

    “If it is merely a question of dirty tricks played on occasion, like white flag treachery, we needn’t follow the methods of the enemy; but when methods are resorted to which give an advantage to the user and may be or paramount military importance, we can’t afford to fight such a one-sided battle, whatever degree of barbarity may be involved. Don’t you agree? One needn’t be vindictive enough to choose a specially painful way when more humane means are available, but I’m afraid any gases which can be used in sufficient quantities to be effective will cause fearful suffering. We can’t help that: the alternative is to let ourselves to be beaten, because we are too considerate to fight the enemy with his own weapons; which would mean that the chlorine-fiends would rule the earth”.

    Ironically it was phosgene (used as a chemical weapon) which killed him. Burton would also share anecdotes of his wartime work and experiences:

    “One of our pilots had a thrilling adventure the other day. He started from Farnborough to take a new type of machine to the front: it is about 1 ½ hours flight. As he was nearing the French coast, in driving rain, the engine suddenly seized, the propeller smashed with the sudden stoppage, & bits of the engine flew about, some of them penetrating the wings. He could see no land, and took off his coat and waistcoat in readiness for a plunge into the foaming sea (it was very rough). Then he caught sight of a blacking object that looked like Boulogne pier & made for it;... say 120 m.p.h. The ambulance people rushed out to his assistance, but he had managed to turn up-wind, and alight in a field without further mishap.”

    Another correspondent was George Frederick Charles Searle, he informed Heaviside how Burton died:

    “Burton was killed about 15 or 16 months ago at the Royal Aircraft ’Establishment’ (late ‘Factory’). He was doing something with Phosgene, a very poisonous gas. This is easily liquefied and he had a ‘syphon’ (like a soda water syphon) of the liquid. The bottle burst (it was not at high pressure). Burton got the stuff all over him. He seemed at first as if he had just recovered but a few hours later died.” Tragically, Searle goes on to say, ‘Mrs Burton a day or two later took poison and died also.”

    Through letters we get a glimpse of how people, indirectly, involved in the war felt and saw the conflict: Burton offers a pragmatic view which may seem shocking in today's context; he also though offers a 'fun' boys own adventure story, which suggests an element of enthusiasm for the excitement of war.


    Heaviside
    Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925). Read his biography in Resources.


    Burton’s last letter to Heaviside (he died 4 weeks later) dated 30 December 1916
    Burton’s last letter to Heaviside (he died 4 weeks later) dated 30 Dec 1916.
    Credits/footnotes:

    Ellis papers and image,
    NAEST 155/3 IET Archives.

    Images:

    Factory workers, IMechE Archive except for the following used with thanks to Tyne and Wear Archive for image A7774/2 Lathe operator at Heaton Works, 1914-1918 (first in gallery) and to Imperial War Museum for images Q 30040 Women workers at the National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell and Q106565 Members of the Women’s Forestry Corps in Sussex.


    Heaverside portrait and letter excerpt, IET Archive.