[ Ministry of Munitions, First World War: Banbury factory. ] Two post cards, each with printed poem: 'An Appreciation' (of women workers), 'Composed by G. Gilbert, Munition Worker' and 'An Answer to "An Appreciation." By One on “The Other Shift.”'

'Mr. G. Gilbert, Munition Worker' and 'One on "The Other Shift"'[ Ministry of Munitions National Filling Factory No. 9, Banbury, Oxfordshire, in the First World War; The Banbury Advertiser ]
Publication details: 
Both dating from the First World War. The 'Answer' published from '"Advertiser" Office, Banbury.' [ Oxfordshire ]
SKU: 20316

Two First World War postcards, with the poems printed in black lengthwise on one side, and 'POST CARD' and the usual arrangement printed on the other side. Neither item with any manuscript text or other additions. Both in fair condition, lightly aged and worn. Valuable artefacts, filled with information about the workings of a munitions factory, and reflecting the tensions between the male and female workers. No other copies traced, either in the Imperial War Museum, on OCLC WorldCat, or on COPAC. ONE: Headed 'An Appreciation. | (Copyright.)' At foot: 'Composed by Mr. G. Gilbert, | Munition Worker.' A 24-line poem, divided into six four-line stanzas. Reads: 'The girls all work nobly, both night and by day, | In making munitions for the boys o'er the way; | [...] They do not mind yellow that stains hands and hair, | They are not ashamed of the trousers they wear; | […] The shells they are filling are lined up in rows, |And not very often they get overflows; | They are all most careful the way the work's done, | To send them to Tommy to fire at the Hun. | They trot in and out, from morning to night, | And when they shout “Acid,” it is their delight | To trot round and fetch it with a jolly good will; | They carry it most carefully in case of a spill. | They like to compress the exploders down tight - To kit and repair is another delight; | And when all is ready the examiner comes, | To put a neat mark on to say it is done. | When the shells are all finished, the shop is made clean; | The table theuy scrub and the kit plugs serene; | The formers are polished, and return sheet made out, | The hooter is sounder, and away they trot out.' TWO: Headed: 'An Answer to | “An Appreciation.” | By One on “The Other Shift.”' At foot: '”Advertiser” Office, Banbury. (The Banbury Advertiser was published between 1855 and 1956.) A 28-line poem, arranged in seven four-line stanzas. Reads: 'We are filled with surprise at dear Gilbert's pen, | That writes of the women, and not of the men; | Who obeyed the notice put on the wall | To stay at their work and wait for the call. | He speaks of the yellow, but not of the black, | Of oil that smothers their knees and their back, | Of coats like sacks, and short baggy “trowses” | And up-to-date stockings, and fancy neck blouses. | Of hairpins and buttons they've had to discard, | For laces and tapes, we think it is hard; | Their smart little shoes, I don't think he stated, | The reason why some are so well ventilated. | […] And then of the shells in rows nice and straight, | If placed by the girls would look like an 8; | The floors so spotless, when scrubbed on their knees, | When first asked to do it she said “Not in these.” | He mentions the Inspectors, who puts on his marks, | But when his back's turned, you should hear the remarks; | […] When the hooter is sounded, away they all run, | Saying “Ta, ta,” thank goodness, at last we are done.'