Swansea - Pages of the Sea



On the day: Click here for more information about events and timings at this beach.


The portrait revealed on this beach was:

Dorothy Mary Watson

Date of Death: 31/07/1917

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Dorothy Mary Watson (1899 – 31 July 1917)

Dorothy Mary Watson was born to William and Mary Watson in Bristol, though by 1911 she had moved with her family to Port Tennant Road, St Thomas, Swansea. During the war, Dorothy went to work at the impressive Pembrey Munitions Factory, Llanelli, a major supplier of explosives. Munitions workers played a crucial role in the First World War. They supplied the troops at the front with the armaments and equipment they needed to fight and often employed women to free up men from the workforce to join the armed forces. The women were known as ‘munitionettes’ and worked long hours in often dangerous conditions. Dorothy was one of many women employed at Pembrey where she worked alongside Mildred Owen, who lived at Bridge Street, Swansea.

On 31 July 1917, Dorothy and Mildred were ferrying bags between buildings on site. That particular part of the factory was used to filter hazardous substances when an explosion killed the two women along with four men. The funeral of the two female employees in Swansea drew a huge crowd, with their coffins draped in Union Jacks while fellow workers, many in uniform, acted as bearers. An inquest was unable to identify the cause of the tragedy.