Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Female dilutees working at milling machine in Glasgow armaments factory, 1915-1918

image from Red Clydeside collection

During the first world war many skilled engineering workers were conscripted to fight in the armed forces. Their places in industry were taken by both men and women previously unskilled in the engineering trades. To protect the jobs and wages of their members, trade unions insisted that the female dilutees did largely unskilled work. After the war women were forced to give up their jobs for men returning from the war.

Although many skilled male workers were reserved from going to fight, as their work was deemed important to the war effort, much of the work in munitions production was still carried out by female dilutees, of whom 1781 were employed in the Springburn railworks during the first world war.

The Springburn railworks, like many different types of engineering works throughout Britain, gave itself over to the production of munitions for the duration of the war. Throughout this period the Springburn railworks were responsible for producing military locomotives, airplanes, tanks, torpedo tubes, gun carriages, pill-boxes, and munitions such as mines and shells.

Source: Springburn Community Museum, Glasgow Digital Library