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Photo of George Batley Godwin

George Batley Godwin

Manager of Cordite Section, Gretna Mossband
Birthplace Greater London London EnglandPlace of Death Cape Town South Africa Date of Birth: September 24, 1879 Date of Death: June 22, 1965


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

Gender: Male 

Date and Place of Birth: 24/09/1879 in St Pancras, London 

Date and Place of Death: 22/06/1965 Cape Town SA 

Nationality: British/South African 

George pictured in the Mossband Farewell, part of the archive collection at The Devil’s Porridge Museum 



Parents: Harold Frederick and Louise Marie Godwin 

Parent’s occupations: Wine Shippers Agent (Father) 

Schools / universities attended and years of attendance:  

Praetoria House School, Folkstone 

S.A.I.E (South Africa Institute of Engineering) 

Occupation: Engineer  

Place of residence at Gretna: N/K 

Job title at Gretna: Works Manager, Cordite Section, Mossband 

Marital status: Married Evelyn Alexandra Godwin  

Children: Jean Louise (b.1905) and Joan (b.1914) 

Travels: South Africa 

Awards/recognitions: Member of the Order of the British Empire 1920 

Trivia / any other information:  



  • Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher): N/K 
  • Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title, year of publication, publisher): N/K 


  • Blogs about the individual: N/K 
  • Websites about the individual: N/K 

Further links, notes, and comments: 


George pictured in his office at Gretna in Jan 1919. Photo taken by William G Emmett (colleague at Gretna) and kindly shared with the museum by Emmet’s family.

George Batley Godwin 

George Batley Godwin, who before the War was living in South Africa, was  

the manager of the Cordite Section at Mossband. He returned to his family  

in South Africa at the end of the War and pursued a long career as an  



George was born in London on the 24th September 1879, the son of Harold Frederick and Louise Marie Godwin. In 1891, he is at Praetoria House School in Folkstone. He serves his engineering apprenticeship with Greenwood and Batley Engineering Works in Leeds from 1896. On the 1901 census George is a mechanical engineer boarding in Headingley in the city. While there he joins the 1st West Riding of Yorkshire Artillery militia, a reserve territorial unit, and is promoted to Second Lieutenant.  

In March 1902, George volunteers for the 27th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry and goes off to fight the Boers in South Africa. His medical record shows him to have been 6 feet one inch tall and have dark brown hair and grey eyes. He attains the rank of Sergeant and is discharged in February 1903 and remains in Cape Town. He gives his forwarding address as Thomas Cooks in Cape Town. 

He marries Evelyn Alexandra, and they have two daughters, Jean Louise born in 1905 and Joan born in 1914. In South Africa he works for several engineering companies. 

In 1915 George returns to Britain to take up a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery. However, he is seconded to the Ministry of Munitions for explosives manufacture. 

He began at their head office in Storey’s Gate, Westminster in September 1915 as Chief Draughtsman designing, ordering, and inspecting plant and materials for HM Factory Gretna. From October 1916, he is the Manager of the Cordite Section at Mossband with control of some 10,000 workers and 200 staff including technical and engineering services. 

George leaves Gretna in October 1919. His contact address published in the Mossband Farewell is c/o Messrs de Beers Consolidated Mines,  

15 St Swithin’s Lane, London. The London Gazette of April 1920 records George being awarded the Order of the British Empire and he becomes an MBE, for his contribution to the war effort as Works Manager at HM Gretna. 

He returns to his family in South Africa and becomes the Chief Engineer for the Vacuum Oil Co. of South Africa. 

George died on the 22nd of June 1965 in Cape Town aged 85. 

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