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 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

The Great War Centenary 1917 - Exhibition

Boomtown - From Front Line to White Lund

Keeping it Secret

In times of war secrecy is seen as essential. The Second World War phrase ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ captured the worries of Government, but 25 years earlier the very same concerns were keenly felt.

With fears of air raids, spies and sabotage all mention of the National Projectile Factory (NPF) on Caton Road and the National Filling Factory (NFF) on White Lund were kept to a minimum. The White Lund works did not appear on local maps. Even when White Lund ‘went up’ the Ministry of Munitions reported that:
‘A serious fire and explosion have occurred at a munition factory in the North of England.’

This short statement appeared, even in the Lancaster Guardian on 6 October 1917, where local residents were fully aware of the disaster.

Such secrecy caused challenges when factory bosses, Vickers, were seeking accommodation for munitions workers, in September 1915. A piece in the local paper, calling for vacant housing for 5,000 new boarders said:
‘We are not permitted to state the nature of the scheme which calls for this requisition of vacant houses and building accommodation but we understand it will have a far reaching effect upon the prosperity of Morecambe.’

The following week the paper noted a good response but that more was needed:
‘Many residents we know would like to have been furnished with a little more information as to what the scheme is and the likely number of boarders will be but it is not advisable to publicly announce details at present. We cannot emphasise too strongly the importance of all volunteering the information asked for. Undoubtedly the coming of a large number of men into the town will bring good not only to tradesmen, but to boarding-house keepers in general.’

With lots of information kept secret it is an easy step to see how rumours and private theories could thrive.



© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2017 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum