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Royal Small Arms Factory (Enfield) Roll of Honour Project

This year the Royal Armouries and its partners are marking the contribution made by the men, women and lads who worked at the Royal Small Arms Factory (Enfield) during the First and Second World Wars.

Image of William A Godfrey holding a rifle

William Alfred Godfrey, Assistant Foreman at Enfield, 1918

The RSAF was the birthplace of the famous Lee Enfield rifle, which played such a vital role during both world wars. At its peak during the First World War the RSAF employed over 8,500 workers making rifles, machine guns, bayonets and swords for British and Commonwealth forces, and during the Second World War there were over 6,000 staff at Enfield mainly producing the famous Bren gun and Sten gun as well as other types of machine guns for tanks and aircraft, as well as smaller shadow factories at Fazakerley and Maltby. The factory also repaired thousands of rifles during both world wars.

Archive image of factory building

The Machine Shop at Enfield with its magnificent clock tower.

The project will undertake:

• the unveiling of two commemorative plaques at Enfield Island Village where many of the original buildings of the RSAF have been preserved;
• the conservation of almost 40 staff photographs taken in December 1918 and January 1919;
• the transcription of four surviving staff registers containing some 1500 names of men who worked at the factory during the First World War;
• the identification of other men and women who worked at the factory during 1914 to 1919;
• the creation of two Rolls of Honour of RSAF staff who fell in the service of their country during the two World Wars; and
• the creation of a Roll of Honour of staff who worked at the factory.
The project will be accompanied by:
• Two exhibitions – one at the beginning, and one at the end of the project – illustrating the information discovered; and
• Two open days at which members of the public and former members of staff of the factory will be able to come along and find out more about the project, and bring any memorabilia relating to the RSAF which they would be willing to have recorded.

There will also be educational opportunities for schools in the Enfield area studying local history as part of Key Stage 2 and 3 to contribute to the project.

Archive photograph of women workers posed for group photo

After the Military Services Act was passed in January 1916 the RSAF employed large numbers of women workers.

How you can help

If you would like to volunteer to take part in the project, but helping us to transcribe and research the staff register and create the Rolls of Honour, please visit our volunteer page to sign up.

For further information please contact archives@armouries.org.uk

Our partners

Enfield Local Studies and Archives
Enfield Museum
RSAF Apprentices Association
RSA Trust

Our funders

Heritage Lottery Fund 

RSA Trust

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