Appeal to Spalding women to join war work in 1917

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A call for women to volunteer for munition and other work was made in Spalding Corn Exchange in 1917.

A meeting had been called by the Peterborough Advisory Committee on Women’s War Employment and there were representatives there from a Government munition factory and of a large dye works.

Those gathered were told the object of the meeting was to appeal to all the women and girls of Spalding and district to “go to war work of urgent national importance”.

They heard: “The call to women for military service in France had been responded to so nobly and generously that recruiting had had to be stopped.”

However, the chairman felt sure the women present aged 18 to 40 would show equal patriotism and “respond heartily to this call for volunteers to work to provide the munitions to help the boys at the front to win the war”.

They were not asking the women then working on the land to volunteer for this work, it was explained.

They were told: “We want to see the war won by our men, aided by our women, and it will then stand to the everlasting credit and honour of the women of England that they shared in the greatest victory in the greatest war in the history of the world.”

It was said that 30,000 women were needed immediately for munitions.

The Government, trying to beat the German monopoly of the dye trade, was trying to establish the dye industry in this country. A large number of women were required, and if they proved satisfactory, permanent positions would be open to them.

The wages were 24 shillings a week for 48 hours, and arrangements were made by the firm for the housing of employees – 15 shillings a week would cover all expenses of board, lodging, laundry. Working “trousered uniforms” were provided.