§ Sir J. D. REES
May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions if he can give the House any information referring to the sad accident which occurred at a munition factory in the Midlands?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of MUNITIONS (Mr. Kellaway)
I am sorry to have to say that, while the latest reports indicate that the interference with output will be less than at first anticipated, the loss of life and the number of injured is greater. It is feared that the number of killed will reach the total of 100, whilst the wounded will be a larger number than that. The House would wish me to say that the staff and employés, according to the reports we have received, behaved magnificently. They never lost their heads, and they were engaged in the work of recovering the killed and wounded even before the dust of the explosion had settled. Many of the workers who had scattered when the explosion took place returned almost immediately. There was no panic, and the work was carried on with such dispatch that the wounded were got away to the local hospital in an incredibly short time. The utmost assistance was given by the local authorities, and the spirit of the whole factory, from the manager to the humblest labourer, was admirable. Before our officer left last night arrangements had been made to resume work in a certain part of the factory on a three-shift basis, and these shifts are now at work. I am sure the House will recognise that these men and women, in the face of a sudden and appalling danger, have by their conduct added a precious jewel to the treasury of British valour.