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The Australian contribution to HM Factory Gretna

By January 26, 2020April 13th, 2022No Comments
map eastriggs

HM Factory Gretna was the greatest munitions factory on earth in World War One.  It employed 30,000 people (12,000 of them women).  It was a worldwide effort as talent was drawn from across the Empire.

Eastriggs, the location of The Devil’s Porridge Museum, is now known as ‘The Commonwealth Village’ because its place names include Singapore Road, The Rand, Delhi Road and Vancouver Road to name but a few.  The overseas workers left their mark in their contribution to the war effort and in the place names they left behind.

For Australia Day 2020, we thought we would share some information about the Australians we know about who worked in the Factory in World War One (we don’t know the names of all the Factory workers and we haven’t included the name of every Australian we know of who worked there either).

 

James Chalmers Hood c.1895-1957

c.1895 James was born in Oban, Scotland.  He was educated at Perth Technical College.

He became a cadet at the Explosives and Analytical Branch of the Mines Department in Western Australia.

In 1914 he qualified as an analyst and then came to HM Factory Gretna.

Between 1917 and 1919 he worked at HM Factory Sutton Oak.  This factory near Liverpool specialised in the production of poison gas (photographed below).

sutton oak

James then went on to work at Government Chemical Laboratories.  First as a chemist, then senior chemist, acting supervising chemist, deputy government analyst from 1946 and director of laboratories from 1955.

Alfred James Occleshaw

1888-1969

19th September 1888: Alfred was born in Melbourne.  He was educated at a working man’s college where he achieved a Diploma in Chemistry.

From 1904 to 1916 Alfred worked for the Mount Lyell Chemical Company (photographed below).

mount lyell

Between 1916 and 1918 he was involved in operative training and explosive manufacture at HM Factory Gretna.

In 1919 Alfred went to work for Chance and Hunt, an alkali company in Birmingham.

He returned to Australia in 1920 to work for the Mount Lyell Company research group.

Between 1921 and 1923 Alfred was a buyer for the Electrolytic Zinc Company, Hobart.

In 1923 he retired, and lived out his life in Melbourne.

You can see some of the street names in Eastriggs on the map below.  The majority are places in the British Empire/Commonwealth.

In 1919, the following HM Factory Gretna staff left their work in Britain and gave their addresses as listed below:

B E Anderson

c/o Wischer & co

William Street

Melbourne

Australia

 

J R H Bartlett

c/o/ Dalgetty & Co.

15 Bent Street

Sydney

New South Wales

Australia

 

W S Bradley

“Leadhills”

Francis Street

Subiaco

W Australia

 

S Hough

c/o Messrs Lever Brothers Ltd

Balmain

Sydney

Australia

 

N S W Hudson

c/o/ T J Darling Esq.

Tymble

Sydney

Australia

 

S Parsons

91 Morehead Street

Redfern

Sydney

Australia

 

A F Parkin

Born 1892 in Victoria

Lived at 24 the Ridge, Eastriggs during World War One and had two children there (Tom and Gretna who went on to become Gretna Weste, a famous Australian botanist, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_Margaret_Weste)

Died 1971 in Tobago

In 1919, he gave his future address as:

Studley Avenue

Kew

Melbourne

Australia

 

G W R Powell

Gladstone Avenue

Mossman

Sydney

Australia

 

T M Steele

c/o C S R Co

O’Connell Street

Sydney

Australia

 

G S Skuthorp

Bullfinch Proprietery

G M

West Australia

 

L F N Stutterd

“Ashleigh”

Winyard

Tasmania

 

M B Welch

Boyle Street

Mosman Bay

NSW Australia

 

R G Walker

209 Ripon Street

South Ballarat

Victoria

Australia

 

Operating Staff

S B Abbott

71 Sydney Road

Parkville

Melbourne

Australia

 

N E Beaumont

Australia

 

F A Eastaugh, ARSM, FIC, AIMM

University Club

Sydney

NSW

Australia

 

F F Field, AMSM

21 Landsdowne Street

East Melbourne

Victoria

Australia

 

A F Gourley        Australia

 

E L P Griffiths, BSc, AIC

Chemist’s Branch

Dept of Agriculture

Sydney

NSW

Australia

 

W J Kelly

32 M’Connell Street

Kensington

Melbourne

Victoria

 

J McE King

“Lochnager”

Ballast Pint Road

Balmain

NSW

Australia

 

A J Marsden       Australia

 

A M Munro, MA, AIC, FCS

c/o Bank of Australasia

Melbourne

 

C W R Powell     Chemical Dept

 

C S R Coy

Sydney

Australia

Danger Building Staff

 

A L Aspland, BSc

Lower Kalgan River

Albany

West Australia

 

 

 

 

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