First woman added to Faces of the First World War

8 March 2012 | Kate Clements

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, a portrait of munitions worker Lottie Meade has been added to IWM Centenary’s Faces of the First World War on Flickr.

It is the first photograph of a woman to be added to the collection, which was started in November 2011. The project is part of IWM’s First World War Centenary Programme, and will continue until the 2014 centenary.

Each weekday, a new photo is added from IWM Collections. Any information that is known about each person is included, and members of the public are asked to fill in the blanks.

So far the project has been a great success – the photos have received over 2 million views and many new details have been found out about the lives of the men featured in them.

Little is known about Charlotte, or Lottie, Meade. In her photo she is wearing munitions workers’ overalls, and it was recorded that she died of TNT poisoning that she contracted while on duty.

TNT poisoning was caused by exposure to chemicals used in the production of explosives. It turned the skin yellow, leading to those who suffered from it being called ‘canaries’. It could cause serious health problems, and Lottie was one of at least 100 women who died from its effects during the war.

The location of the munitions works that she was employed at is unknown, but her death certificate recorded that she lived in North Kensington in London. It is also believed that she had at least three great-grandchildren.

This information will hopefully provide a starting point to research Lottie’s life. What did she do before the war? Where did she work? Who were her family members?

You can view Lottie’s photo and add anything you find out about her here.

Learn more about the project and see tips on how to research those featured in it here.