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Photo of Charles Wright

Charles Wright

Birthplace Yorkshire Wakefield EnglandPlace of Residence at HM Factory Gretna A6, Staff Quarters Date of Birth: March 21, 1891 Date of Death: September 2, 1955


Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by): Charles Wright.

Gender: Male.

Date and Place of Birth: 21 March 1891, Wakefield, Yorkshire West Riding.

Date and Place of Death: 2 September 1955.

Nationality: British.



Childhood: He had a half-brother called Francis Appleton (1867-).

Parents: Charles Wright (1861–1937), Esther Wright (1852–1932). Additional parent relationship: Marles Wright (1861–).

Parent’s occupations: In the 1911 census his occupation is recorded as a draper. In the 1891 Scotland census is occupation is recorded as a groom.

In the 1911 census his mother’s occupation was a dressmaker.

Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: He was a chemistry or general science graduate of Leeds University.

Occupation: (Shift) Chemist.

Place of residence at Gretna: Wright, Charles, B.Sc. (Leeds), A6, Staff Quarters, Eastriggs, Dumfriesshire, [M.]. His home address is recorded on page 67 of Dornock Farewell as Springfield Mount, Lake Lock, Stanley, Wakefield.

Job title at Gretna: Shift chemist (?).

Marital status: Married Louise Hemingway (1893-1968) on August 12th 1918 in Outwood, St Mary Magdalene, Yorkshire, England. He later married again but this marriage is kept private on Ancestry.

Children: With his first wife she had two children, Derek Wright (1919–2002) and Barbara Joan Wright (1922–2004).

Travels: N/A.

Awards/recognitions: N/A.

Trivia / any other information: 

He volunteered for army service within two days of the start of World War One but was refused and instead directed to the manufacture of munitions. He was sent to three facilities, one unknown, Waltham Cross, and thirdly to Gretna.

As a shift chemist, he worked closely with Mr. Hubert Page, shift engineer or manager. Mr. Page subsequently worked for the British Government in the management of munitions factories in India, retiring after 1945.

Charles’ wife joined him in Gretna after their marriage in August 1918. They were still there during the 1919 severe flu epidemic.

Charles’ wife was extremely jealous of the “canary girls”, many of whom gave their photographs to him. Because of his wife’s jealousy, Charles talked very little of his work in Gretna.

One job that he and Hubert Page had to do jointly was to ensure that the overflow pipe taking waste from the reaction vessels to the ponds was clear. If the workmen let too much go down the pipe or if the weather was very cold the fluid in the pipe could freeze and had to be thawed by gently heating the exterior of the pipe. To know where to heat the pipe the point at which the fluid had frozen was determine by tapping the pipe with a hammer.

The danger was that if they hit the exact point at which it had frozen it went off like a bomb and could have killed them both.

Charles was elected to the Institute of Chemists as an associate in 1918.



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