Not only sol­diers died in Great War

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

LOOKED at the dis­play in Uxbridge Li­brary about the First World War cen­te­nary. One item was headed ‘Mu­ni­tionettes’, and was about the thou­sands of mu­ni­tions work­ers – mostly young women – who were killed and in­jured by their work of pro­duc­ing am­mu­ni­tion.

The dis­play re­ported that many of them worked at the ‘Na­tional Filling Fac­tory’ in Hayes. Th­ese largely for­got­ten ca­su­al­ties of war were ex­posed to toxic chem­i­cals in mu­ni­tions fac­to­ries in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

Many of them died from con­di­tions such as aplas­tic anaemia (bone mar­row de­struc­tion).

The Uxbridge Li­brary dis­play stated that the chem­i­cals made their skin turn yel­low and they be­came known as ‘ca­naries’, and many of them died from toxic jaun­dice.

There are lists of names of some of th­ese ca­su­al­ties on the in­ter­net.

The legacy of ex­po­sure to toxic chem­i­cals, such as TNT, can be passed on in the form of cell mu­ta­tions to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, and most of their de­scen­dants liv­ing to­day will never know that the cause of their med­i­cal con­di­tions – such as thy­roid dam­age – was the re­sult of a past fam­ily mem­ber work­ing in a mu­ni­tions fac­tory.

I’m glad that Uxbridge Li­brary is re­mem­ber­ing the war work­ers.

IThe worse rail fran­chise we have found, for seats that do not line up with win­dows and gen­eral run­down scruffi­ness, are the trains run by Abel­lio Greater Anglia.

How­ever, I feel that you were lucky, in that your train from Euston sta­tion had a ‘quiet sec­tion’. How many stops were there be­tween London and your des­ti­na­tion, won­der? Con­sider the pas­sen­ger (sorry, cus­tomer) us­ing London’s rail net­work. Sta­tions are gen­er­ally close to­gether, with jour­ney times be­tween of, say, about three or four min­utes.

Yet there are at least three, and some­times as many as five, on-train an­nounce­ments per sta­tion. Surely an ex­ces­sive num­ber?

A sug­ges­tion [to London Trans­port (LT)] that th­ese trains have a ‘quiet’ sec­tion, for those of us who know our des­ti­na­tion and do not wish to hear th­ese an­nounce­ments, was turned down – the rea­son be­ing: ‘We could not pos­si­bly con­sider hav­ing a “quiet” sec­tion on our trains. Cus­tomers would not be able to hear the an­nounce­ments.’

I kid you not. I have kept th­ese emails of cor­re­spon­dence be­tween LT and my­self and will for­ward them to you if you wish to read them.

I

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