The sacrifice of soldiers killed during World Wars One and Two is well-documented.
But the efforts of munitions workers stained yellow by toxic chemicals is a story much less told. A campaign now hopes to honour the so-called Canary Girls, who risked life and limb to supply ammunition to the frontline.
Inwhile men were fighting on the battlefields, thousands of women were answering the government's cry for help by ing the war effort. In their droves they ed up to fill the gaps left by those called into service, taking jobs in transport, engineeringmills and factories to keep the country moving.
But while those who swapped domestic life for the assembly line were spared the trauma of the trenches, Naughty hereford girls jobs were nonetheless fraught with danger.
The canary girls: the workers the war turned yellow
Munitions workers battling the "shell crisis" of were prime targets for enemy fire, with sites routinely flattened by enemy bombs. Those who were spared such a fate were no less safe, facing daily peril by handling explosive chemicals that carried the risk of them contracting potentially fatal diseases.
And for some, the effects of their work were immediately visible; a lurid shade of yellow that stained their skin and hair and earned them a nickname - the Canary Girls. Your hair turned blonde and on the top of the crown was the proper colour of your hair. Though temporary, the affects of packing shells with trinitrotoluene - more commonly known as TNT - ran more than skin-deep. It gradually faded away.
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My mum told me you took it for granted, it happened and that was it. As well as suffering the cosmetic consequences of working with TNT, workers risked amputation with every shell that passed through their hands. If they tapped too hard, it would detonate," she said.
Explosions were a common occurrence, with fatal blasts reported at factories in Ashton-under-Lyne, Barnbow near Leedsand Chilwell in Nottinghamshire. Such were fears that a rogue spark caused by static might lead to an explosion that women were banned from wearing nylon and silk.
Nellie Bagley, whose first shift at Rotherwas in was on her 18th birthday, remembers having to strip down to her underwear to be inspected. The women operated in a tense atmosphere, heavy with the weight of government fears that information could fall into the wrong hands.
But even in the darkest of moments, there remained a sense of workforce camaraderie. It kept us going because we didn't realise the danger we were working in.
Fellow Rotherwas worker, Amy Hicks, added: "We would be singing, even when the bombs fell. And fall they did.
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Inthe Rotherwas factory was attacked by the Luftwaffe, which dropped a pair of kg bombs on Naughty hereford girls acre site. Nancy Billings, who was coming to the end of a night shift, survived the blast. Then all of a sudden the siren went off. It had a direct hit. It always comes to me about the girl working next to me, because she was one that didn't get out. Of those who survived life in the factories, many were beset with health problems in later life. Some reported bone disintegration, while others developed throat problems and dermatitis from TNT staining. Others suffered more sinister illnesses - one of the most serious being a liver disease called toxic jaundice.
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There were cases of the disease during World War One - a quarter of which were fatal, said historian Anne Spurgeon. It was a poison and caused anaemia and jaundice. Init was discovered TNT was poisonous and the following year, toxic jaundice became a notifiable disease. Health and safety measures in factories were stepped up to limit exposure, such as providing protective Naughty hereford girls, but only so much could be done to eradicate the risks.
About a million women worked at thousands of Ministry of Munitions sites during both world wars.
But the of those killed or seriously injured in the line of duty is a mystery - something Ms Dale is trying to find out as part of her research. A campaign led by BBC Hereford and Worcester hopes to see records of how many workers died released, as well as cement the Naughty hereford girls of munitions workers in war history.
The project has already been discussed at Prime Minister's Questions and there are plans to unveil a statue at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.
But Ms Billings said she had always felt the sacrifices made by the so-called munitionettes should have been recognised. And we should've got a letter from the Queen. For the relatives of those who worked at Rotherwas, which had 4, woman at its peak, recognition has been a long time coming.
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