Munitions factory project officially launched. Appeal for stories to be told at open day next month
A project to commemorate the contribution of women who worked at Hereford’s former munitions factory has been officially launched.
The start of the two-year Rotherwas Royal Ordance Factory (ROF) – Line of Duty initiative was marked with a celebration event at the Herefordshire Archive & Record Office.
Rotherwas ROF – Line of Duty is a joint project by Herefordshire Council, the Hereford Enterprise Zone at Skylon Park, that houses the former factory site, and the Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre.
It will create a digital archive about the Rotherwas factory, focusing on the impact the factory complex had on Hereford and the women who worked there as well.
The programme also involves working with local schools to explore and preserve its history for future generations alongside community talks, films, exhibitions, walks and events. Heritage Lottery Funding of more than £77,000 was awarded towards the £101,000 cost.
The star guest at the launch on January 16 was 97-year-old Nancy Evans, who worked at the factory during World War II. She entertained the audience with fascinating tales of her time there and vividly described some of the dangers of the work.
Local author and historian Bill Laws gave an illustrated talk about the site, which became one of the largest explosive filling sites in the UK, and the conditions that the workers faced.
Organisers are now appealing for people to come forward and share their stories and family histories linked to the munitions factory at an open day at Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre on February 13.
Neil Kerr, vice chairman of the Hereford Enterprise Zone, said: “The launch event was a great start to the project, attended by more than 50 people.
“Bill really brought to life the working day of the munitioneers and it was wonderful to hear Nancy’s firsthand account of her time at the factory.
“We now want to hear from as many people as possible who either worked at the factory or who have heard stories from their family members or friends about working there during WWI or II.
“It is their stories that will bring this project to life and allow us to preserve their memories and stories for generations to come.”
The open day at the Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre in Fir Tree Lane, Rotherwas, will run from 10am to 4pm on February 13. The event will include a display by the Rotherwas Munitions Group and a chance to find out more about the project.