CROYDON - GREATER LONDON
Croydon (Mitcham Road) Cemetery
Photos: js - Find A Grave
Andrew DAVIDSON 4040
Australian Munition Worker
Munition Workers were part of a joint Australian Commonwealth and Imperial Government scheme for providing skilled Australian workers to British war industries during the First World War. Under this scheme the volunteers received free passage to Great Britain, an allowance for travel time, a special allowance for the duration of service, and eventual repatriation to Australia. Married men also received a separation allowance, but were required to allot a portion of all their earnings to dependants. In return the men were expected to work in whatever industries they were directed to by the British Board of Trade, and under the prevailing conditions and wages for the duration of hostilities. Government newspaper advertisements appeared in August 1916, and the first party of 76 workers departed Australia in September. Groups continued to be recruited and sent at intervals, with the eventual number of workers under the scheme totalling just over 5,000. Almost 1,000 of these had already been working in Britain under private agreements with large firms such as Vickers, and were brought under the conditions of the scheme. An additional 200 former AIF soldiers were also recruited in Britain. Initially only skilled workers were sought, however at the request of the British Government later groups included large numbers of navvies for general labouring. [Information from National Archives of Australia series note].