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British Industrial History

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Ministry of Munitions

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The Ministry of Munitions was a British government body created during the First World War to co-ordinate the production and distribution of munitions for the war effort. This was necessary in response to the Shell Crisis of 1915, when there was much public criticism of the shortage of shells.[1]

The materials, the production of which the Ministry of Munitions brought under its control, covered nearly 100 main categories, and included not only the obvious munitions such as ammunition and weapons and raw materials such as iron and steel, but also included plaster slabs, gas masks, waste paper and boxes. The Ministry took control of all of the factories (was there some exception for the Royal Factories?).

Ultimately, the Ministry assumed responsibility for all supplies of materials, it controlled distribution of raw materials to non-munition as well as munition trades, thereby bringing together all industries involved in the production of munitions (either directly or indirectly) under the control of one department.[2]

In its first few months the Ministry initiated a large number of national factories so that by the end of December 1915 there were 73 new sites in addition to the Royal Factories at Enfield Lock, Farnborough, Waltham Abbey and Woolwich. These included[3]:

By the end of the war, the number of national factories had increased to over 218 new or adapted factories, producing every type of munition but also items such as ball-bearings and concrete slabs.

1921 Royal Ordnance took over the filling factories from the Ministry which was dissolved.

During WWII, the Ministry of Supply was created with such responsibilities, co-ordinating the supply of equipment to all three British armed forces; there was also a separate ministry responsible for aircraft production and the Admiralty retained responsibilities for supplying the Royal Navy.[4]



1915 26th May. The department was created and Lloyd George, was appointed as Minister. [5]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Paraffin Commercial and Agricultural Motors, Tractors, Ploughs, Sprayers, etc. see the 1917 Red Book under 'M. O. M.'.

1921 31st March. The department came to an end. [6]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia [1]
  2. Ministry of Munitions [2]
  3. National Factories Controlled by the Ministry of Munitions, June 1915-November 1918
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Ministry of Munitions[3]
  6. Ministry of Munitions [4]