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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Munitions factory dead remembered
The Somme, World War One
Munitions at the factory were used at the front in The Somme
A ceremony to remember workers killed in explosions at a munitions factory in Leeds during the First World War was taking place on Sunday.

The dedication service was being held at a city council-funded memorial garden completed last month at the site of the old tram terminus in Crossgates.

Some 37 girls and women and three men died in three explosions at the nearby Barnbow Munitions Factory.

The ceremony was being attended by Lord Mayor Bill Hyde and other dignitaries.

Huge explosion

The Barnbow factory on Manston Lane was opened in 1915 and at its height employed 17,000 workers, 16,000 of them being women and girls.

They came from all over West Yorkshire and became known as the Barnbow Lassies, contributing more than 500,000 tons of ammunition to the war effort.

On December 5 1916 a huge explosion killed 35 women and injured many more. Accidents on March 21 1917 and May 31 1918 claimed the lives of a further two women and three men.

Details of the tragedies were kept secret until after the war.

Councillor Hyde said: "The lives lost in several explsoions at the munitions factory deserve to be remembered and the new memorial is a fitting way to do this.

"The work these women did behind the scenes of World War One was vital and helped provide the British Army with the fire power needed to battle to victory."


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