Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

17 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

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Family Notices

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SILICA BRICKS AMD THE WAR I INTERESTING STATEMENT BY MESSRS. STEPHENS & Co., KIDWELLY. i.10 the Editor of the CARMARTHEN* JotBXAL.] Sir,—We understand that there are many who complain that we have taken on and are taking men at our works who should be in the army. We have in our employ to-day about 150 men, which number is about 20 more than we employed a year ago. Ten of these vxtra. men are' men suitable for the Army. Most of our men are badged by the Ministry of Munitions, and we are informed by them that badges will be sent for the remainder. We manufacture silica brioks whioli are used for building furnaces for the manufac- ture of steel, and steel cannot be made without silica bricks. During the last year the demand for eilica bricks has increased so much that it is impossible for the eilica brick-makers to keep all the sltel-works fully bupplied, and the result to-day is that there are steel furnaces idle all over this country waiting for brick for repairs, and these furnaces are employed in making steel for shells, ships and guns. Tne posi- tion is best put by quoting the first para- graph in a letter received to-day from the Ministry of Munitions as follows:— The matter of increasing tho output of silica brioks is becoming- one of the greatest urgency and we would ask you to no your utmost in every possible way to increase your output at the earliest moment." The amount of eteel required for sheila can be gathered from a statement in the daily papers of last week. that the Ger- mans had fired into Verdun alone 250,000 tons of shells. What makes the position far more serious is the fact that France, Russia and Italy are in a desperate position regarding silica bricks for their steel-works making shell steel. These countries pre- viously got their supplies from Germany., but now have to come to us. If they had previously got their supplies from this country there is no doubt that our works would have been capable of fully meeting their demands to-day, but as things stand at present, half their shell steel-making work are idle for want of eilica bricks. We are extending our works at the special request of the Ministry of Munitions and are in urgent want of a further 25 men. We would, of course, give preference to men above military age and married men, but as the position is becoming so serious, we take on all men who offer, .4i instructed by the Ministry of Munitions, and must continue to do so until we have enough men, as a few thousand extra silica bricks turned out daily is of infinitely more im- portance to the country than a few extra men to the army. It is usele- sending a few extra men over to France if by doing so the whole army is short of shells which are so urgently required. It would simply mean that the whole armies of our Allies and our- selves would suffer arid the Germans would >\ in. From a somewhat important industry in normal times, we have become of vital importance in willing the war. We have 16 of our men at the front and the Ministry of Munitions had offered to apply for their release from the Colours. We are of the opinion that it is best to take on men who are net already trained for the army, if they can do our work rather than get trained men back from the front. We have only asked for the release of two "men who are specially skilled for our work. We have taken 011 every maa who lias offered him- self to us during the last 12 months and as men above military ago and married men have not offered in sufficient numbers, we have been compelled to employ single men. In conclusion we might quote three more letters received from the Ministry of Muni- tions :— Letter received March 7th:—"With re- gard to your letter of the 1st inst., we see no objection to your taking on all who apply to you for employment, but it is, of course, desirable that you engage, as far as possible, ll'IT men not of military age. Letter received March 22nd:—"With re- gard to your statement that the recruiting officer thought that there were many men in the Army unfit for foreign service who might be released for your work, you should, I think, inform him that for every such suitablo man so found you would be. prepared to release a single man of military age. but that until additional men were produced it was considered by the Ministry of Munitions to be a matter of considerable importance that your labour price should not be reduced." Letter received March 25th: — I note you have ordered machinery for the extension of your works and tf you will advise me the firms with whom you have placed the con- tracts, I will recommend that this work be treated as urgent. What steps are you taking to obtain a sufficient number of men to permit the new works being brought into use at the earliest possible date? It will be seen by the above that our work is extremely urgent. It will not pav us to build the new works now during the war when costs of all materials are so high, and if we simply studied our own interests we would not go on with the work; besides, we have no means of knowing whether the demand for steel will be great enough when normal times come a-gaiii. so that the de- mand for silica bricks will be large enough to keep this extra works going. We are comforted, however, by the conviction that the people of thi& country wiil never again allow the free imports of manufactured goods that we can make ourselves and the consequent export of gold, and if the people so decide the Germans will never again be w' allowed to send us the thousands of tons of elteel weekly, which will mean that more eilica bricks will be required in this country to build furnaces to manufacture the steel that the Germans sent us previous to the war. Our sellint, prices were fixed by the Ministry of Munitions some months ago, so that it is impossible for us to make extra profit, which we would be able to do in normal times, should such a demand arise for silica brioks. Before tho war all the silica brick-makers were begging the steel works for orders for bricks, as owing to the large imports of German steel our steel- works were not working full time.—Yours, truly, STEPHENS & Co. Kidwelly, April 3rd.

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