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Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie -
 View of Nitration Hills, Unit 2 (Edingham)

Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie
World War II Cordite Works

~ Index ~ Site History ~ Virtual Tour ~
~ Buildings and Functions ~ Manufacture of Cordite ~
~ The Workforce ~ Graffiti and Poems ~
~ Wildlife ~ Sources ~ Links to Other Sites
~


Poems and Graffiti at the Factory :-

Key Points :-

  • Discovered by Matthew Taylor and some transcribed by him.
  • Poetry, pictures, names and jokes.
  • Majority surviving in Unit 1 (Southwick).
  • Graffiti from 1940s Factory and 1950s Depot as well as later periods.
  • Home Guard graffiti in pillbox.
  • Some graffiti from later military exercises.
  • Much graffiti fading fast.
  • Vandalism and thoughtless defacement a problem.
  • Further transcription essential.



Verse and Graffiti from the M/S Factory Dalbeattie :

Introduction...

An assortment of graffiti still survive in the buildings of Ministry of Supply Factory Dalbeattie and a handful of other written material beyond it. These few precious fragments recall the state of mind of women and men working at and defending this unusual site. Occasionally scandalous, generally romantic, sometimes a person showing that they existed, these graffiti are important social comment and often highly entertaining. There are a few portraits of women present, showing hairstyles and profiles that recall many wartime films. The most moving part of the collection is a carefully-typed poem 'Farewell to Shift Two', which in its careful spelling and rhyming is far removed from more recent fractured prose. This selection has mostly been transcribed by Matthew Taylor, with some additions that were transcribed from photographs by Richard Edkins.

Types of Graffiti :

Most of the graffiti that has lasted were pencil figures, words and sketches, mainly on the whitewashed walls of the Incorporation, Press and Paste Rolling Houses, also lesser ones in the Stoving and Drying Houses :-

  • Calculations apparently either of 1940s cordite trays and batches or of 1950s stocks of ammunition. They represent an important source of production and storage data that will take some time to analyse and to compare. The best example has confirmed the existence of 'Snooker Bogies'. More details>>>
  • Poems and ballads, some with a very personal flavour, others being old Scottish favourites. Most are 1940s, probably from the staff leaving when the works was closed, but a few are 1950s and some are 1970s and 1980s. One of the most vulgar and most witty from the 1940s.More details>>>
  • Personal forenames and occasionally surnames and addresses, usually of staff but occasionally of visitors and groups. Again, these are of different periods.More details>>>
  • Sketches of women, generally full-face or profile, of varying standards of artistry and clothing. Many are excellent indicators of clothing and hairstyles of the period 1940 - 1950. Sadly, a number have been defaced by vandalism and need to be protected.More details>>>
  • Sketches of other subjects. These include wartime images of sailing vessels, aircraft, a 'Russian Pilot' and 1970s to 1990s shaded sketches by Army squaddies on exercise. The most unusual is a simple sketch map of the Cordite Milling House area in Unit 1 to the south of the Knock Burn - a good example of a historical item that is worth keeping. More details>>>
  • Vandalism graffiti : This is graffiti, generally using paint or something similar, at its worst in Unit 2 Cordite Incorporation House 2, where many rooms have been vandalised. Unfortunately, the best preserved lintel letters over the doorways of one of the Drying Houses have been badly defaced by thoughtless Army officers painting on the names of rooms assigned to them and their men. This is irresponsible and should be stopped. It is nearly as bad as the lazy dumping of ration wrappers and cans, which should be removed to the local authority dump at the end of an exercise. More details>>>

Technical Information in Graffiti :

The most significant so far was the identification of 'Snooker Bogie' and of 'Tray' and 'Press' numbers, but it is suspected that more may be identified in the future.

Graffiti used as a Historical Record :

The Army Units carrying out FIBUA (Fighting in Built Up Areas) training should sketch their unit crests onto a wall known to be clear of other graffiti in a room chosen for that purpose. This - with some unit information - would be a valuable record for the future.

The closest to it is a fascinating list of a patrol of 1st Dalbeattie Scouts from 1974; their list is an interesting record of the now-closed Troop, many of whose members are still alive today.




Munitions Workers :

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The Home Guard :

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Military Units on Exercise :

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More Information Needed :

Site visitors with information are invited to contact webmaster@dalbeattie.com, preferably with contact information such as name and phone.
I look forwards to discussing your family involvement in M/S Factory Dalbeattie and RNAD Dalbeattie.
- Richard Edkins.

Top

© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.

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