Previous Index Next

 

140   DAYS OF PREPARATION

the mechanical error in the shells coming forward to-day over what we had last February when we first went out.

The changes in the British requirements, from empty shrapnel cases to fixed ammunition of several different species, including the heaviest high-explosive ammunition, tended to spread the work of munition-making over a great number of industrial establishments. As Sir Alexander Bertram stated in June, 1915: "In no one single establishment in Canada, except the Dominion arsenal at Quebec, is the complete shell made; 130 firms, from Halifax to Vancouver, are engaged in the work of machining and assembling. Others are occupied in the manufacture of blanks, bullets, disks, cartridge-cases, buck-shot, primers, tubes, tin cups for shrapnel, grub screws, sockets and plugs, steel base plates, and boxes. At the present time no less than 247 factories are engaged in this work, in seventy-eight cities and towns of the Dominion. The manufacturing of shell in this country is giving employment to between 60,000 and 70,000 artisans, while the total weekly wage bill easily amounts to $1,000,000." These figures were much exceeded before the maximum output was reached.

The first plant in Canada to supply steel shell and shrapnel forgings was the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal Company, whose general manager, Thomas Cantley, was a member of the Shell Committee and one of the first Canadians to realize the potential capacity of the Do-minion for the manufacture of munitions, and then was the only one to venture upon the gigantic plant necessary for the production of the heaviest type of high-explosive shells. Colonel Cantley's services were exhibited in a very striking light in the report of the Shell Committee Inquiry. Without his work, it declared, it would have been impracticable to have obtained orders for shells in Canada. Acid steel, which is not made in Canada, was prescribed by the War Office for shell-making. After a


Previous Index Next