Friday, 8 September 2017

Munitions Girls Receive Bravery Awards


Miss Lily Smith of Bedford

Saturday 8th September 1917: Two Bedfordshire girls working in munitions factories have been awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for devotion to duty. The Medal is given for services of special merit rendered to the Empire by both men and women in civilian war service.

Miss Lily Smith of 35 All Hallows Lane, Bedford worked at a powder factory in Bedfordshire before responding to an invitation for volunteers to work in a filling factory near London. After working there for about a fortnight a bomb exploded, fracturing her left hand so severely that it had to be amputated. Showing the utmost bravery, she insisted on walking part of the way to the hospital. When she recovered she returned to duty, saying that all must do their bit to enable our brave troops to win the war. Her courage so impressed her colleagues and managers at the factory that they presented her with a gold wrist watch. She was also given a gold pin on which a piece of the bomb extracted from her hand had been mounted.

Miss Violet Golding of 11 Cross Street, Dunstable, lost a finger and thumb through an accident while making detonators on 27th June 1916. At the time of the accident she was just sixteen years old. She returned to work after treatment at the Bute Hospital in Luton. Both girls will receive their medals at Buckingham Palace

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 31st August 1917 and 7th September 1917

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