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William Arthur PittsEngineer
WILLIAM ARTHUR PITTS
Date and place of birth: 24 February 1888 at Pinetown, Natal, South Africa
Baptised at St. John the Baptist Church in Pinetown.
Date and place of Death: 1959, South Africa
Nationality: British South African
William grew up in South Africa. The family home was at 7 Gordon Road, Bertrams,
Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa. His siblings were:
Stephen John Pitts
Charles Reeves Pitts
Constance Mary Pitts
Frederick Ernest Pitts
Muriel Daisy Pitts
Ellen Elizabeth Pitts
Annie Evelyn Pitts
Parents: John Pitts and Ellen Reeves . Unfortunately, William’s father committed suicide
with cyanide in 1912
Parents occupation: John worked as a Club Secretary.
Schools Universities attended and years of attendance: N/K
Place of residence at Gretna: 88 Victory Avenue, Gretna
Marital status: William married Erica Beatrice Anderson just before coming to the UK to
work at HM Factory.
Children: Nil known
Job title at Gretna: William was an Electrical and Mechanical Engineer and he was very
involved with the planning and construction of HM Factory.
William and Erica travel from South Africa to UK on board the ship Kenilworth Castle
Awards/recognitions: Nil known
Trivia/any other information: The Family home in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
Bibliography: William’s contribution to the Mossband farewell magazine: It was without doubt a happy thought when someone conceived the idea of a souvenir ‘First andLast volume of the Mossband Farewell Magazine, and it is with pleasure that I accept the opportunity of saying a few words before the Cordite “ family,” and ‘ the Relatives at Dornock, get scattered in this country and in places abroad. It seems hardly three years ago when a small party of us arrived at Gretna from Storey’s Gate. The Factory was then only in the first stages of construction. The party was split up between Mossband and Dornock, and we were “ inspanned ” with the Construction Manager’s Staff, and together we witnessed the rapid transformation of “ farms ” to a smooth-running and active Explosive Factory. As might be expected, on commencing operations there were many little troubles and difficulties to overcome, but with the splendid ability and co-operation of Messrs
Emmett, Hawtin Skerman, Sub-Section Officers. Chemists, and their Staffs with the members of the Engineering Staff, the difficulties were in practically all cases surmounted. Mr Godwin, our esteemed and genial Manager, always assisted and arranged matters as far as possible to the
mutual benefit of those concerned, and ever had the interests of the Factory and the economical production of Cordite at heart. There have been times when the Engineering Department has been hard put to keep pace with the keenness of the Operating Staff, who have shown an eagerness to surpass records of production, sometimes overlooking the fact that the plant had to do its ‘whack’ and the hydraulic supply had its limits. I wish to thank all the members of the Engineering Staff, the Heads of Sections, and the men and women of all grades for the loyal support and assistance that they have given to me: it would be invidious for me to mention specific names, but I especially thank those who have “stuck to it ” from the ” beginning to the end.” The World is a small place, and no matter where we may find ourselves after leaving Gretna, no doubt we shall frequently come across one or another from this Factory, when it will be a pleasure to renew acquaintance, and to talk of the experiences and various incidents of the Gretna Factory life. W. A. Pitts
Mossband Farewell magazine
Gretna Electoral Register