The Story of a Cheltenham Munitions Worker

This is the story of Ada Shadbolt, a Cheltenham munitions worker during the First World War.

Ada’s granddaughter Dawn explains:

“Ada (pictured in her munitions uniform) was born in 1887. She was my paternal grandmother and was in service in various places before the war. The only definite detail that I have so far is that she was the cook at Ham House, Charlton Kings in 1911.

We know she worked in Munitions at Quedgeley and I have her triangular On War Service badge with 1918 on it.  We also have this wonderful photo of her in her munitions uniform. We don’t know exactly when she worked here.”

(To read more about the munitions ‘filling factory’ at Quedgeley visit https://www.quedgeleynews.com/history/raf-quedgeley-in-ww1)

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WW1 Digital Archive

Cheltenham Ladies’s College have been digitising many of their WW1 resources which we will be adding to this website. Click on the image to read more about their collection. You can already find many of the documents referred to in the attached guide by visiting our WW1 Library page or by scrolling through the photo gallery on the Learning page.

With thanks to Cheltenham Ladies’ College Archivist Rachel Roberts.

New WW1 Resources

A fascinating glimpse into life in Cheltenham during the First World War. The gallery below shows a small selection of the material relating to WW1 held at Cheltenham Local & Family History Library (Chester Walk, Cheltenham GL50 3JT). You can also view several wartime programmes and leaflets from their collection by visiting our new WW1 Library page, which we will be adding to over the coming months.

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The Cheltenham Aviation Industry

H.H. Martin was a Cheltenham based company that originally specialised in architectural decoration. During the First World War, the company developed; and in early 1918 the Gloucestershire aircraft company was formed. Thus beginning the thriving aviation industry in Cheltenham.

By April 1918, approximately 45 aircraft were being made in Cheltenham every week. Much of this productivity was due to the hard work of local women who were called upon to fill the gaps on the workforce.

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Leckhampton Court VAD Hospital

During the First World War Colonel and Mrs Elwes, who owned Leckhampton Court, placed it at the disposal of the British Red Cross to use as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. It opened in February 1915 and closed four years later. It was staffed by members of the Gloucestershire Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) No 42, which had been formed as early as 1910, anticipating that there would soon be a need for its services. Click to read an excerpt about Leckhampton VAD Hospital from the book Leckhampton Court – Manor House to Hospice by Eric Miller (Troubador Publishing, 2011).