A historic profile of the London borough of Enfield during World War I and the conflict’s effect on the region and its people.
The Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield was famous for producing the Lee Enfield .303 Rifle, the standard issued rifle provided to all infantry soldiers in the British Army during the First World War. The factory was so prestigious that King George V visited it in April, 1915. By the end of the war, its workforce of more than 9,000 had produced more than 2 million rifles. Their gun helped play a big part in winning the war.
On July 7, 1917, the town was hit by a German air raid. Local anti-aircraft batteries did their best to thwart the enemy. Sadly, falling shrapnel from British anti-aircraft gunfire killed one woman, making her Enfield’s only resident to be killed in the town throughout the course of the war. A nearby young boy was also struck by some falling shrapnel but survived. After the incident, members of the Government Workers’ Union held a meeting to complain about the lack of a warning about the attack. Meanwhile, that month also saw a baker appear at Enfield Magistrates Court, charged under the Bread Order for selling loaves of bread that were over the permitted weight. For his heinous war time offence, he was fined the princely sum of ten shillings.
Through researching local newspapers of the day, along with letters, diaries, photographs, parish magazines, trade journals, contemporary printed pamphlets, and more, author Stephen Wynn details the stories of Enfield during this dramatic era.