The First World War centenary continues to bring to our attention countless acts of sacrifice and courage from our soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses across all theatres of war. Such acts of bravery and sacrifice were not just restricted to the front lines overseas - many examples can be found amongst the men and women of the Home Front back in Britain.
Today’s blog – the latest in our Medical Technology series – explores the danger of tri-nitro-toluene (TNT) poisoning amongst munitions workers and attempts by the Medical Research Council to explore the causes and reduce the threat of this potentially fatal condition amongst workers.
My interest in this area was first triggered by a case paper amongst our Middlesex Appeal Tribunal papers in MH 47. This collection details the appeals made by individuals seeking exemption from compulsory military service after January 1916, revealing many different ways in which the war was affecting society at home.
The case of Herbert Gerald Perry includes a statement that his wife, Annie Elizabeth, had died from TNT poisoning in June 1917 at the Hayes Filling Factory while undertaking munitions work. This left Herbert as the single father of his two children, Herbert and Gladys, aged 12 and 11 respectively, as well as the main financial support for his mother, aged 68.