A GLIMPSE back in time, looking at the inside of an artillery factory, has shown how Lancashire supplied the Allied Forces during the First World War.

The photographs of the Dick, Kerr and Company factory, show production of some of the 3.3 million shells which were sent out to the Front during the conflict.

Following the outbreak of the war, the War Office placed a contract with the company to manufacture and supply munitions, with the first batch of shells ready for collection in March 1915.

Today, Dick, Kerr and Co’s successor, defence, aerospace and security company, BAE Systems, still supplies equipment to the armed forces in the form of state-of-the-art fighter aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Ian Lawrenson, heritage manager for BAE Systems’ Military Air and Information business which runs its facilities at Samlesbury and Warton, said the factory was turning out 30,000 projectiles a week at peak production.

He added: “At the outbreak of the First World War, the Allied Forces were unprepared for the scale of operations they were facing and needed to quickly establish manufacturing facilities.

“Dick, Kerr and Co was producing tram cars at the time, but when it placed its entire organisation at the disposal of the Ministry of Munitions, there was a lot of reorganisation required to make it ready for producing artillery.

“They used 94,000 tonnes of steel, 1,900 tonnes of copper and 15,000 tonnes of lead during the conflict, so it was a significant operation to supply the forces.”

The photographs show many women leading the manufacture of the shells with most of the young men normally employed in the factory fighting in France.

Nearly 150 men employed by the company died during the First World War and the company established a relief fund, handing out £24,000 to the families of those who fell.

As well as munitions, the factory also produced 100 petrol locomotives to haul ammunition on the Western Front.

Ian added: “Despite the focus on the war effort, the manufacture of tram cars and associated electrical equipment continued through the war, albeit on a modest scale.”

“In 1917, Dick, Kerr and Co also famously formed a women’s football team who played their first match on Christmas Day, 1917, before a crowd of 10,000 in aid of wounded soldiers.”