There are many documented sources concerning Albright and Wilson’s direct supply to military sources in both world wars. Contracts were signed which confirm this, their works management activey used to promote it via local publications. We wanted to know the extent of their military supply, which may give some clues as to the early history of rattlechain lagoon which it is also known started in the years of conflict according to the original application.
WHAT DID WE ASK AND WHAT DID THEY KNOW?
I am requesting whether the MOD holds information concerning defence supply contracts awarded to the former Albright and Wilson UK chemical company. I specify the dates of contracts I am seeking as follows
*Post World War Two contracts concerning the supply of white phosphorus for munitions filling and the steel industry.
Could you also provide information as to the quantities of any chemicals ordered during these periods and their intended use?
A reply was received from Defence and equipment support
“As you are no doubt aware the company name of Albright and Wilson ceased to trade in 1999. Following extensive research of our internal records, I regret that we can find no record of any contracts or documentation with the former company. External examination of records however, has revealed specific references to Albright and Wilson in the National Archive that may be of interest to you:
WO 189/3575 Rough usage and climactic test of sixty six 4.5 inch howitzer shell charged WP (white phosphorous) by Messrs Albright and Wilson 1925 Sep 01 – 1925 Sep 30
WO 189/3661 Report on phosphorous smoke candles by Messrs Albright and Wilson 1926 Sep 01 – 1926 Sep 30
A further reference in the National Archive that also might be of interest to you is:
WO 106/5496 Purchase of certain chemicals and minerals for the manufacture of munitions 1933 Feb – May.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The National Archives records offer a limited history of supply to the MOD and their predecessor. The ones cited in the response also predate the second world war and the large scale white phosphorus production that this conflict generated.
We have since however obtained a list of Second World War contracts handled by Albright and Wilson and will be publishing them shortly on this website.