Why west Leeds is remembering its war heroes long after Remembrance Day

TRIBUTE: Robyn Carrack pictured with the display poppies made by community members. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
TRIBUTE: Robyn Carrack pictured with the display poppies made by community members. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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West Leeds will continue to remember its war heroes long after the weekend’s Remembrance Day events.

Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills is hosting an afternoon celebration event to say thank you to its contributors and volunteers, on November 24 from noon to 2pm.

On the day there will be two talks, one from Samantha Taylor who has written a book about Barnbow, a munitions factory in Cross Gates during the First World War, entitled The Canary Cage, and also from Lauren Theweneti on lives the roles of Leeds’ war workers.

Barnbow was critical to the war effort but also experienced tragedy on home soil when in 1916 an explosion in the munitions factory killed 35 workers and wounded many more.

By the end of the First World War the city of Leeds had produced 53m shirts, 2,500 field guns and 566,000 tonnes of completed ammunition to support the war effort.

Over the four years of the conflict Leeds factories had continuously churned out supplies to keep allied soldiers warm, clothed and well armed. The yellow poppy, an idea from the local community, honours the valuable 
contribution of workers who often had ‘canary yellow’ skin from working with materials such as cordite.

Volunteers and members of the community have been busy making yellow poppies to add to the commemorative wall over the last few weeks .

Project worker at the industrial museum, Robyn Carrack, said without the contribution of factory workers like those in Leeds, the military machine “would literally have ground to a halt”.

“As we reflect on the 100th anniversary of the war ending, it’s important that we remember them,” she added.