Film ID:
YFA 2287

MUNITIONS FACTORY

1940s

Visitor Tabs

Description

During the Second World War, women were called upon to aid in the war effort.  This film contains unique footage of women workers in a munitions factory during World War II and highlights the industrial process of making the 84 Pounder Shell.   

Titles: ‘C.F. Wilson & Co, (1932) Limited, 166, Constitution Street, Aberdeen, Present: [Photography by L.S. Gorrie, Dundee]’     ‘Showing Method of Handling and Machining Operations on 84 Pounder Shell’               

Intertitle: ‘Unloading Forgings and Stacking in Raw Material Store’   A couple of women, wearing overalls, steel toe-capped boots and heavy duty gloves, unload empty forging cases from a truck, rolling the cases along the ground with the help of their feet. A small crane is used to lift the forgings up in groups of three.           

Intertitle: ‘Transferring Forgings From Raw Material Store to Factory’    

A woman, wearing a skirt and high-heel boots, works the small crane to pick up three forgings. A woman sits in the crane control box and lowers the hook. 

Intertitle: ‘Cutting Off to Length and Base Thickness From Bottom of Cavity’  

A woman wearing overalls and goggles cuts a forging down to size using a fixed blowtorch. 

Intertitle: ‘Centring Forging In Alignment With Finished Forged Cavity’    

Forgings come off a conveyor belt where a woman seals their ends using a blowtorch. A forging is raised and lowered by a crane onto a spinning device where a hole is drilled in the bottom. 

Intertitle: ‘Rough Turning and Shaping The Body of Forging’   

Forgings/shells get lowered into two kinds of lathe – one labelled GACTCRY and one GARRATT. These rotate them at high speed, shaping them into munitions shells. 

Intertitle: ‘Conveyor Collecting Swarf and Loading’  

There is a close-up of a conveyor belt, and a couple of women unload metal shavings onto the conveyer belt.  The metal shavings end up being shovelled by a man onto a horse-drawn cart. 

Intertitle: ‘Forging Heated and Nose-End Pressed To Form Fuse Hole’   

A woman loads and unloads shells from a furnace using only her bare hands and a rag. The shells, having had one end placed for a short while into a furnace, are then placed, with white-hot ends, onto a conveyer belt and get pressed by machinery.  

Intertitle: ‘Boring Fuse Hole and Blending the Cavity after Heading’    

A near-completed shell gets loaded into a lathe and is both bored and ‘squeezed’.  

Intertitle: ‘Finish Turning Body of Shell’    

A near-completed shell is loaded into a machine and rotated at extreme speed.  Coolant is poured over whilst this happens.  Afterwards, the width is measured. 

Intertitle: ‘Weighing and Stamping Shell at Intermediate Inspection’    

A couple of shells are weighed and stamped.  

Intertitle: ‘Recessing Base of Shell for Base Plates’    

A shell is loaded into a lathe and has its base ‘smoothed’ mechanically.  Coolant is poured over again whilst this happens. 

Intertitle: ‘Groving & Waving for Copper Driving Band’  

A shell is loaded into another lathe and a groove is made at one end ready for a copper-driving band (coolant is used again). 

Intertitle: ‘Riveting Base Plates into Shell’    

A woman knocks a metal cap into one end of a shell, and it is then placed into a machine which rivets it in.  Two shells, one before and one after the process, are then seen together. 

Intertitle: ‘Pressing the Driving Copper Band on the Shell’  

A woman places a copper band on a shell, banging it on firm with a hammer, before placing it into a machine which squeezes the band on solid.  Again, there is a comparison of a before and after shell. 

Intertitle: ‘Facing Base after Riveting and Adjusting Streamline’    

A shell is placed into a lathe where the woman operator turns the end to a rounded finish.  This is first done automatically.  Then it is measured, and the woman makes some fine adjustments by hand and re-measures it.  It is then further turned in another lathe.  Again, a comparison of a before and after shell. 

Intertitle: ‘Cleaning and Varnishing the Cavity and Stove Drying’   

A woman cleans and polishes the inside of a shell using hydraulic tools.  They are inspected before being passed on to the next stage.  The finished shells are shown hanging up.  The lining on the inside of a cut section of a shell is also shown. 

Intertitle: ‘Thread Milling Fuse Hole, Washing out Cavity and Gauging’    

A shell is placed into a machine/lathe, worked by a woman, where liquid is pumped into one end at high pressure.  A woman then seems to polish the lid on one end of the shell on a turning machine.  Again, a comparison of a before and after shell, and cap is screwed on at the same end.

Intertitle: ‘Coning Finish turning Chamfer on Fusing Hole’    

A woman operator turns a shell on a lathe.  Again, a comparison of a before and after shell. 

Intertitle: ‘Turning the Copper Band to Form’    

A woman turns a shell in a lathe cutting off a fine layer to make a smooth finish.  This is then measured before another shell takes its place.  Again, a shell comparison of before and after. 

Intertitle: ‘Weighing, Gauging and General Inspection’   

The shells are turned on a machine (gauging), with a shell ‘wobbling’ as it turns at high speed.  Then some minor adjustments are made before being weighed and placed onto a vertical conveyer belt.  At the next stage, they are placed into a machine to be smoothed off.  They are placed back onto the conveyer belt for the penultimate stage of being hand polished and coated.  Then a young man screws a cap onto the end before the shells are loaded into metal containers.  A large stockpile of finished shells is in a store.  The King, Edward VIII, and Elizabeth the Queen Consort, are briefly seen at the works, and there is a glimpse of a crowd waving and cheering.   

Intertitle: ‘Their Majesties Leaving the Main Office’    

King, Edward VIII, and Elizabeth leave the factory and get into a waiting car.  A group of people are left standing by the exit.  A room with machinery (boilers?) is shown, followed by men and women workers leaving the factory at the end of their shift.