Research on people who worked in the Royal Arsenal Woolwich - All related posts here on comments.
No employment records exist today however there are some accident and disability records etc. Enquiries should be sent to the Greenwich Heritage Centre or the North West Kent Family History Society http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/ for further information.
2/23/2017 05:18:31 pm
Hello, Firstly, very nice website and fascinating to read about the history of the Arsenal over the years. I came here as my great grandfather worked at Royal Arsenal as a "writer" according to the census of 1891. His name was Charles Mack and he lived at number 15 Charlotte Street, Plumstead. I wonder if you would have any information about this profession of "writer" and whether there are any records that I might be able to find relating to this man, such as payroll books or something...anything! Any help would be greatly appreciated. Michael
8/12/2021 06:02:20 pm
I also have an ancestor, Daniel Sullivan, who is recorded as a writer at the Royal Arsenal in 1881
11/23/2021 09:57:39 am
My husbands great grandfather also worked at the Royal Arsenal as a writer between 1860 and 1890.
2/24/2023 08:18:49 am
2/23/2017 05:21:15 pm
Hello, Could you tell me if there exists, somewhere, a list of the young men who apprenticed at the Royal Arsenal in the period 1885 to 1900? Thank you, Victoria Lees
2/23/2017 05:28:01 pm
A great website - thank you ! My great uncle James Tait was Chief Inspector of Police at the Royal Arsenal from about 1890 to 1903. The 1901census indicates the family lived in the Inspectors Quarters at the Arsenal. Where was this building located? He would have been present when Queen Victoria's visited in 1900. Any other info about the Police at that time would be of great interest. Thanks Malcolm Tait Vancouver Canada
Carol Lansley (Tait)
7/16/2017 10:14:04 pm
This is a wonderful site giving the history of the Arsenal & information about my Great Grandfather Chief Inspector James Tait's police house - he was a Policeman for 32 years which is a great achievement considering the hardship, poverty & tough area he had to police. Could you please forward my email address to Malcolm Tait (Vancouver Canada) who posted a query on 23/02/2017 about James Tait as we obviously have an ancestry connection & I would like to share some family knowledge with him. Many thanks Carol (Bromley, Kent).
Carol Lansley foremally Tait
7/14/2017 04:30:47 pm
Hello Malcom, Cheif Inspector James Tait was my Great Grandfather, his eldest son Lieutenant James William Tait was my Grandfather & his son also James William Tait was my Father. Are you related to one of James's twin boys Donald or Peter? I would love to hear from you. Kind regards Carol
Carol (Tait) Lansley
12/1/2017 02:42:47 pm
Hi Malcolm, please contact me about Chief Inspector James Tait my paternal Great Grandfather. We must have an ancestry connection via him & his 3 sons James, Donald & Peter. Kind regards Carol Lansley
3/20/2019 11:43:43 am
Hi Malcolm, A James Tate warrant number 54915, served in the Metropolitan Police from 20th Nov 1871 - 12th Jan 1903, joined on Y Div (Highgate) and was based at the Royal Arsenal,retiring as Ch Inspector. also a James Tait was at Highhate previously with the warrant number 40406 served between 1861 - 1886, born in Saltash
2/23/2017 05:29:49 pm
My father, aircraftsman Alfred Albert Tunbridge, worked as a carpenter at the Arsenal from 1939 to 1945. He helped to build an all wooden air plane, apparently a large transport. Can you tell me, what was the name of that plane?
2/23/2017 05:39:36 pm
Hello, I am writing from NZ and am searching for information about a family member who we believe was employed by the Royal Arsenal Woolwich in the late1800s. His name was William Blagden. We would much appreciate any informaiton about his time at the Arsenal. Thank you
2/23/2017 05:41:33 pm
My great grandfather John Heinze was employed as a fireman at the Royal Arsenal around 1904, I was wondering if any records are available that I can trace his history further. Thank you
11/25/2019 11:06:03 am
Very interested to read your entry, and my grndfather John(Jack) Clamp was an engine driver, must have been around that time. I habe 2 photos of him, with, I presume, his stoker, on 2 locos -the AJAX, and the COEHORN. If you pick this up and are interested, I could scn the pics - do you have any pics of your great grandfather? Maybe he is even her with mine? I am posting this 25/11/2019
2/23/2017 05:48:56 pm
Looking for info please on Annie Fitzpatrick 11169 employed 2 yrs 6.5 months as an examiner at perivale inspection dept, park royal nw10. Discharged at her own request on 16 nov 1918. Thanking you.
2/23/2017 05:50:32 pm
Hi My mother, Leila Needham (Arnall), worked in the arsenal during WW2. She made detonators for shells I believe. Is it known where this section was and is it still there? Also I had an ancestor who was on the prison hulk the Justitia in 1837. His name was Samuel Tuck Arnold/Arnall. He was later transported for life to Van Diemen's Land. I believe he worked during the day in "The Warren". Again - is The Warren still there? I intend to visit the Arsenal in late October from Australia. If possible I would like to get in contact with someone who knows the arsenal to point me in the right direction. I used to live in Belvedere during the war and my mother said that we were in a tram which was machined gunned by a German aeroplane just outside the main gate in Beresford Square. Was this raid ever recorded? Hope you can help Cheers from Oz Bob Needham
2/23/2017 05:56:45 pm
Does anyone know about a tip and run raid on the Woolwich Arsenal late in WW2 where trams in Beresford Square were also machine gunned at the same time? My mother worked in the Arsenal making detonators during the war. Does anyone know where about in the Arsenal these detonators were made? Thanks in advance Bob Needham
2/23/2017 05:58:09 pm
My grandad, Timothy Charles Morton, worked as a labourer in the Royal Arsenal in WW2 and was killed when breaking down a shell at work (his date of death is 22/1/1943). Would the Arsenal records show any details of this incident at all? Thanks
2/23/2017 05:59:43 pm
Are there any records still extant of the names of the women employed at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich during he First World War? My grandmother worked there at some time (I haven't got dates but I think possibly 1917) and I should like to know more. Her name was Ida Violet Blanche Pendleton and I think at that time she was living at TheWillows, Woolwich Road, Belvedere. Many thanks -- J Keel (Mrs)
2/23/2017 06:04:12 pm
Hi, I'm working on my family history and I find that my 2x grandfather moved to work at Woolwich Arsenal in about 1892/3. He'd lived in the Black Country and worked in a foundry all his life then quite suddenly moves south. Can you please advise if it was common for Black Country workers to come and join the Royal Arsenal and if so how they would have known that jobs were available? Thanks so much for your help. Best regards Steve Cox
2/23/2017 06:06:10 pm
I recently found out that my father worked at the Royal Arsenal, in 1939. Would I be able to find out any information about his time there? His name was Oswald Stuart Jones, born 1903, in East Ham. Thank you. Chris Jones
2/23/2017 06:12:52 pm
My late mum was in the ATS (RAOC) and was a cook at Woolwich Arsenal from 5th Apr 1944 until Sept 1945. I can recall a story about a bomb hitting/near the kitchen. But at the time the area was clear of people Mum was putting all the chairs away on tables. What I am after is the location of the kitchen within the Arsenal and is there any evident of this incident i.e bomb hitting the same area. Many Thanks
4/2/2017 01:24:11 am
Just replying again so that I can click the Notify me of replies box!
2/23/2017 06:23:35 pm
I wondered if someone could help me in my search for information on my Great Grandfather Charles Hain Adams who was a warder at the arsenal during World War 1. Thanking you Peter Beazley
4/5/2021 09:31:03 pm
2/23/2017 06:25:56 pm
I am trying to find out if my Grandparents were employed by the RA during or after WW1. I think my grandfather worked as a stoker and have been told they lived in a hutment on Crocus Road. Their names were: Augustus Frederick & Rosina Gladys Warren. Thank you
4/2/2017 01:30:17 am
2/23/2017 06:28:28 pm
An ancestor living in Woolwich was described as a 'Foreman Smith' at the RA in 1851. I understand what a Smith is and that a Foreman would be in charge of the men in a factory but could you advise the particular type of work he would be doing in the RA? Earlier, in 1838 he was described as a 'Modeller' is this another occupation associated with the RA? Regards, Lesley Wood
Zoe St John
2/23/2017 06:29:23 pm
Hello Steve - wonderful site - thank you so much for preserving all this history. My great uncle Henry/Harry Leeson was a Chief Engineer at The Arsenal - WWI era - according to a newspaper report. How can I find records for this? He was in the RNR as a Wireless Telegraph Operator 1st Class, but was invalided out in July 1915 and then worked at The Arsenal. Would he have gone into the regular Navy for engineering training or could he have been a civilian? I'm also trying to find out how/where he studied engineering. Any help much appreciated! Thank you :) Zoe
3/30/2017 12:20:25 pm
Hi My grandfather Frederick Samuel Bullock died in 1957 and flowers were sent from Department C9, D1 Woolwich Arsenal. He was a toolmaker/engineer by trade. Dose anyone know what this Department did and when he worked there. Thanks
4/13/2017 11:20:43 am
While researching my ancestor Richard Hall born about 1700, I find him arriving at Faversham in 1735, as master carpenter and worker for the Ordnance Department at 'His Magesties powder mills'. It seems he started his career at the Woolwich Arsenal. Are there any surviving apprenticeship records or employment records from about 1715 to 1735?
5/21/2017 07:28:04 am
Hi, I am looking for information on a James Smith 1864 - 1921. James was an Engineer at the Royal Arsenal Engineer Unit I.W. & D. Records show James also died at the Royal Arsenal on 21 January 1921. James, his wife Ruth and their children lived at 42 St John's Road Plumstead. I am also interested in any information on William Henry Smith 1817-1876 who also worked at the Royal Arsenal as a mechanic. Any information or direction where I could find information would be appreciated.
Fredrick William spittle
7/3/2017 10:35:08 am
Can you tell me if my grandfather work on railway in the arsenal and if he did what was his job
7/13/2017 08:39:55 pm
My 3*great grandfather, Charles Ray, is listed as 'Lawyer Royal Arsenal' in the 1861 census. His son's, Charles Ray (16yrs) and Henry Ray (14yrs) are described as Labourer's Royal Arsenal.
9/10/2017 07:13:19 pm
Looking for information on Alfred Robert Ward who when married in 1902 was listed as examiner woolwich royal arsenal...
10/5/2017 10:02:38 pm
10/12/2017 12:55:39 pm
My great aunt Edie Chalk worked there a a clerk, i have been given an autograph book with people's poems who worked there her co workers from the Gun section Orders Branch. I also have a picture of what looks like the office workers at Woolwich Arsenal.
10/12/2017 01:16:44 pm
10/12/2017 02:52:26 pm
Would love to see poems !
10/12/2017 03:54:09 pm
I have already sent one through, there are a number of them with names. I am trying to find family members through a genealogy site to confirm they where all working there.
10/12/2017 04:05:48 pm
Pat, may I ask what genealogy site you are using for your searches please? I too look forward to the poems and memorabilia you have in your possession. Thank you.
10/31/2018 06:00:14 pm
1/16/2018 10:54:28 am
My grandmother Edith Emma Andersen nee Edwards also known as Anderson worked at the RA during WW1.
2/2/2018 09:13:33 am
Census and other records suggest quite a few Underdowns worked in the Arsenal from about the 1850s up until the 1920s. A few years ago I happened across this Old Bailey murder trial transcript which mentions my great-great-grandfather and several others who were members of the 3rd West Kent Volunteers, I imagine some of the other witnesses would also have been working at the Arsenal https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?name=19011021
6/14/2018 01:25:23 pm
Dear David, my grandfather Daniel Peter Clancy was a Storeholder in the Royal Arsenal in the 1880's for at least 40 years. He was in the 3rd West Kent Volunteers. He was the leading side drummer in the band which in 1908 became the 20th London Regiment. His brother James also a Storeholder served in the band. I am lucky enough to have a photograph taken of the band in circa 1904/5.
5/1/2018 08:53:30 am
Can anyone tell me what happened on July 12th 1932? I have a death notice and have seen a picture of a gravestone where it states that my great-uncle, Robert Henry Drummond, was killed in Woolwich Arsenal on this date and I should like to know what happened. I can't find any record. Thank you
5/4/2018 09:52:23 am
My Step Grandfather Alfred Lingwood worked as an Inspector of Munitions from the Great War to the Second World War. He spent some time in the Newcastle area in his work for the Arsenal.
6/4/2018 01:17:30 pm
Can I echo the previous comments regarding the great website? I am trying to get some info on my grandfather Leonard Squire who was an 'Explosive Worker' in the 1939 census but was later a 'tour guide' up until he died in 1950. He had apparently lost an arm in an accident at the Arsenal sometime in between but I have no details or employment/ compensation records. Can you help?
11/9/2018 08:58:56 pm
The comments make really interesting reading, all those skilled, hard working and at times extremely brave ancestors we had. My grandfather, Harry James Murrell worked at The RA during WWII as an engineer. Living in Charlton he used to catch the train to Woolwich. He helped produce the Mulberry Harbour pontoons for D-Day. He detested the war and never spoke of it. Thanks for posting, Simon
11/28/2018 07:54:22 pm
My great uncle was a 'civilian work taker' at the arsenal. Please could you tell me what this job involved.
6/24/2019 01:50:05 pm
Hi Amanda, not sure if you've found out what 'work-taker' means yet but I posted a similar question on the Facebook group for the Royal Arsenal, as my grandfather, Alfred Lee had his occupation recorded on my father's birth certificate as 'work-taker'. The reply that I received today to my post, suggested that this meant that he would have been waiting to take work, most likely standing outside The Arsenal waiting with others to be chosen for a job, which sounds like my grandfather must have been unemployed. This was in 1919. Hope this helps. Sue
6/24/2019 09:08:53 pm
Thank you so much, really interesting information
6/25/2019 05:06:46 am
Hi Amanda, bit of an update. After searching further I came across this PhD Thesis Black, John (2000). The development of professional management in the public sector of the United Kingdom from 1855 to 1925 : the case of the ordnance factories. PhD thesis Open University. In the Thesis it contains information about 'work-takers' who kept what appears to be accounting records. This would tie up with what appears on an Uncles marriage certificate (many years later) which states his father's (my grandfather) occupation as 'accountant' - so it might be that your great uncle was what we would now call an 'accountant'. Hope this helps.
11/30/2018 11:25:10 am
4/29/2019 08:45:42 pm
My Grandfather, Bertram Stanley Creed (known as Stan) worked at the Arsenal before, during and after the second World War. He was evacuate to Wales during the war to manage the women who worked there. I was told he met Squadron Leader Guy Gibson as he was advising on the making of a bomb.
9/27/2019 03:50:48 pm
My x2 great uncle, Joseph Benjamin Goss was a clerk in the Royal Woolwich Arsenal from at least 1881 until 1902. In 1902 he was admitted to the Kent County Asylum in Bexley and remained there until his death in 1916 at the age of 49. I wonder whether the mental illness from which he must have suffered had any impact on his work and, therefore, whether any records survive of this.
12/5/2019 10:01:01 pm
I am looking for any information about my grandmother who worked in the Arsenal during the WW1 and during her life had some mental health issues. Her name is Ada Elizabeth King. DobAugust (not sure) and was brought up in Suffolk. If anyone has a record of anything at all I would be appreciative. Thank you
4/22/2020 11:43:51 am
5/5/2020 03:30:26 am
10/15/2020 04:53:41 pm
My 3rd great Uncle Stephen Kay Wilson worked in the Inspection Dept Royal Arsenal (CIA) around 1890's. Please do you know what the role involved.
1/20/2021 08:06:57 am
I'm researching the husband of a great aunt who worked for the Armament Inspection Department. His name was Stanley Richard Gittins and was working for them in 1939 and regularly travelled to the US and Canada as a 'Diplomat'. On his passage documents in 1940 to New York he is travelling with a number of people whose place of address in the UK is given as the Armament Inspection Department London SE9. Can you direct me to more information about this department and what role Stanley might have had please? Great website - very interesting. Alison
Joshua Cresswell Froggatt
1/25/2021 10:56:06 am
Worked I believe in the inspection department
3/18/2021 10:13:10 am
I'm researching my family history and believe my Grandad, Charles Christopher Robinson worked at the Arsenal during WW2. He was badly injured during a raid - are there any records available please?
3/18/2021 04:26:48 pm
Debra J Hodge
3/29/2021 09:59:26 pm
I am doing family research. I've obtained the death certificate of Reginald Mitchell Fox who died November 14, 1915 at the Royal Arsenal Hospital. He died due to an accident at the arsenal where he worked as an ammunition worker. His death certificate states death was due to a fragment from an exploded fuse of a shell which lacerated his colon & right ureter. Did the arsenal assume the responsibility and burial costs of workers who died on the job? I have tried to find where Reginald was buried thru all available online genealogy websites and etc. but can't find his grave. If the Arsenal buried him, would there be a record of where they buried him? If the Arsenal buried him, would anyone know which cemetery they used for their burials. Or some kind of reference to the burial processes of workers who died on the premises? Any help would be appreciated. I am in the USA but I'm using UK genealogy websites for research.
4/10/2021 05:37:24 pm
My Grandfather, William Bickmore, worked as an Explosive Worker in The Royal Arsenal until his death in 1937. My Mother lived with him and her two Brothers in the huts in Bevan Road, Abbey Wood, which were built for Arsenal workmen. Also, my Great-Grandmother's second husband, Patrick Molloy, worked there as a Clerk until his death in 1909.
4/27/2021 07:45:25 pm
My great-great grandfather, Thomas Wilfred Morgan (born 1873) is listed on his 1903 marriage certificate as being a ‘Sawyer Royal Arsenal’. I would be really interested in any information about the types of work he would have carried out and what his contribution to the running of the arsenal would have been. Thanks very much.
3/30/2022 11:57:10 pm
HI, I am searching my family history and have found out my Grandfather Stephen Greig was killed at the Royal Arsenal 7/9/1940. I am wondering if any one has any details on him or the night of the bombing Thanks
William Montgomery Wilson and Joyce Molly Gregory
8/3/2022 10:40:04 am
Hi I am researching my family history and discovered My Grandparents both worked at the Arsenal in 1942. William Montgomery Wilson was a sergeant in RA and Joyce Molly Wilson (nee Gregory) as an Amunitions worker are shown on their marriage certificate. Any information or websites which may be able to assist me regarding their service and what their jobs actually entailed would be greatly appreciated Bev Wilson
8/3/2022 10:33:26 pm
9/28/2022 04:29:55 pm
Does anyone have any information relating to the firing trials at Port Royal, Jamaica with the 3-inch Unrotated Projectile ? I believe that 2,500 rockets were fired, early in 1939. My grandfather, Dr John Brittain was the senior explosives and propellants expert present at the trials. He worked in the explosives directorate from 1932 to 1939 and on rockets from late 1935. I am interested to know the names of any staff who were sent to Jamaica. I think that John Waterlow Sewill was one, also any info on my grandfather.
10/9/2022 07:00:26 pm
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Fusilier Thomas B. Atterbury of the 13th (Home Defence) Battalion
1/20/2023 07:27:10 pm
I'm interested in more details on the following:Thomas B. Atterbury was awarded the Royal Humane Society Lifesaving Medal in Bronze for a successful act in the Royal Humane Society Annual Report of 1940 as a result of case number 55645 for an act carried out at Woolwich Arsenal on 23rd December 1939.
1/20/2023 10:50:47 pm
If you can supply a date we may be able to tie this in with an aerial bombing raid.
1/20/2023 11:08:57 pm
The life saving event happened on 23 December 1939, I hope this helps.
1/21/2023 12:59:08 am
1/21/2023 03:36:00 am
3/21/2023 08:53:49 am
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Royal Arsenal Worker Forum
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