«1913 1914-1918 1915 »

Support for war effort

Thousands of steel sheets are produced for the trenches, for Nissen huts and for shell making during the First World War. Until the First World War there was only one woman at Shotton – the General Office caretaker’s wife, Mrs. Clements, who sold tea to office staff for a penny a cup. The flow of men into the armed forces leaves gaps at office desks and women are brought in to carry out clerical work. While many remain after the war jobs in the production and associated departments are strictly for men

Employee awarded Victoria Cross

It is not known how many Shotton employees served in the Army during the First World War but one, Harry Weale, had the distinction of being awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, At the age of 17 he left his job as a packer in the steelworks on the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914. He was evacuated back home shortly after from Ypres in Belgian suffering from severe frostbite and then suffered a leg wound and gassing on his return to the frontline in 1915. His brave action occurred in 1918 while serving as a lance-corporal in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The citation reads: “On 26 August 1918 at Bazentin-le-Grand, France, when the advance of the adjacent battalion was held up by enemy machine-guns, Lance-Corporal Weale was ordered to deal with hostile posts. When his Lewis gun failed him, on his own initiative, he rushed the nearest post and killed the crew, then went for the others, the crews of which fled on his approach. His dashing action cleared the way for the advance, inspired his comrades and resulted in the capture of all the machine guns.”

Harry survived the war, returned to the steelworks, married Susannah Harrison and moved from Shotton to Rhyl where he died in 1959 at the age of 62.