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Sat May 20, 2017, 06:33 AM


The Canary Girls: The workers the war turned yellow

The sacrifice of soldiers killed during World Wars One and Two is well-documented. But the efforts of munitions workers stained yellow by toxic chemicals is a story much less told. A campaign now hopes to honour the so-called Canary Girls, who risked life and limb to supply ammunition to the frontline.

Women in munitions factories were tasked with filling shells with explosives Image copyright IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM

By Lauren Potts & Monica Rimmer
BBC News
20 May 2017

In 1915, while men were fighting on the battlefields, thousands of women were answering the government's cry for help by joining the war effort.

In their droves they signed up to fill the gaps left by those called into service, taking jobs in transport, engineering, mills and factories to keep the country moving.

But while those who swapped domestic life for the assembly line were spared the trauma of the trenches, their jobs were nonetheless fraught with danger.

Munitions workers battling the "shell crisis" of 1915 were prime targets for enemy fire, with sites routinely flattened by enemy bombs.


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