Bournville Works and the War 1914-1919 was a commemorative publication produced at the request of Cadbury’s employees in 1920. Throughout the war Bournville Works Magazine featured a column entitled 'The Factory and The War', recording the activities of Cadbury’s employees. The commemorative publication was a summary of this column.
In November 1914, the first 'Factory and the War' column was published. Contained within is an address given by Cadbury Bros to its employees:
‘We feel that it is the duty of every one of us to be willing to sacrifice our own immediate interests on behalf of out country. Some have felt it their duty to go to the front, but it is not less incumbent upon those who, for conscientious or other reasons, cannot let their patriotism take this form, to bear their share’.1
The Works Magazine’s record of the war carried the sentiment of this address, in that it recorded the individual and collective efforts of the company’s employees at home and on the Western Front.2 The magazine’s readership during the period included employees serving in the forces. This was reflected in the publishing of letters recounting experiences on the Western Front, as well as comments on articles within the magazine.
Throughout the duration of World War One, Cadbury continued with chocolate production, albeit at a reduced rate, affecting many factory floor employees working on piece-rates. As a result Cadbury established emergency financial provision for those whose earnings fell below a certain rate. The firm also provided financial assistance to dependants of employees who had enlisted and for widows or dependants of men killed in action.3
In total, 2,148 of Cadbury’s employees served during the war, many enlisting with local Birmingham Pals regiments. In January 1915, the Bournville Works Magazine published details of Cadbury’s first casualty of war. William S. Miles of the Rock Chocolate Department was killed in action on 3 November 1914 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers;4 he was the first of 218 male employees who were later killed in action.5 On the reverse of the publication was the seal for the ‘King's National Roll Scheme’ which was established in 1915 for the employment of disabled ex-servicemen.6 The seal was awarded to participating organisations such as Cadbury. In the May 1920 edition of the Bournville Works Magazine, it was noted that Cadbury ‘employ a portion of ex-servicemen, no less than 2% of total establishment’.7 Cadbury stated that:
‘All men enlisted from these works and who, unfortunately, were disabled by accidents of battle have been fitted into employment in the works with good will of the foremen and their fellow workers’.
1Bournville Works Magazine (September 1914), no.9, vol.12, p.261 2 Separate articles were occasionally printed giving a wider perspective on the progression of the war. 3Bournville Works and the War, p.3 [BA&H: LP 66.53 CAD] 4 T.B. Rodgers (ed), Bournville Works Magazine (January 1915), no.1, vol.13, p.3 5Bournville Works and the War, p.4 [BA&H: LP 66.53 CAD] 6 Megan Kowalsky, ''This Honourable Obligation': the King’s National Roll Scheme for Disabled Ex-Servicemen 1915-1944', European Review of History (2007), 14:4, pp.567-584 7Bournville Works Magazine (May 1920), no.5, vol.17
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