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Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

Article about: Navy Shell Plant Charlotte, NC Mecklenburg County NC During World War II the United States Navy gave U.S. Rubber a contract to build a ammunition assembly plant on a tract of land of more th

  1. #1

    Default Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Navy Shell Plant Charlotte, NC Mecklenburg County NC

    During World War II the United States Navy gave U.S. Rubber a contract to build a ammunition assembly plant on a tract of land of more than 2,260 acres in the Steele Creek area of Mecklenburg County, Now is is Arrowood Industral Park Charlotte, NC

    At its height the plant (locally called the “Shell Plant” or the “Bomb Plant”) had more than 12,000 employees, over 90% of them women. Men were the mechanics, guards, janitors and warehouse people. Only women worked on the conveyor line, filling the 40mm shell cases—16 shells to a can.



    Fifteen women weighed the powder and put it in the 40mm shell case. Some of the women rolled 4-in. strips of lead foil which acted like grease on the inside of the shell casing. They worked 7 days a week on 3 different shifts and came from Lancaster, Kershaw, Rock Hill, Richburg, York, etc. in S. C. and Gastonia, Pineville, Concord, Albemarle, Monroe etc., in North Carolina.

    My Aunt Martha Virginia Grist of Charlotte, NC was one of the workers filling the 40mm Shell cases at the "Shell Plant'...

    She still remembers some of the rules. Smokers could smoke only in the cafeterias. No matches could be brought in but cigarette lighters were placed at intervals for the convenience of the smokers. The cafeterias were about 200 ft from the main plant. Everyone wore insulated safety shoes. The men wore uniform coveralls with no pockets. The women wore uniform dresses.

    The floors were concrete and kept shiny. Every 10 feet there were big doors built for easy exit in case of explosion. None of the machinery was electrical (although there were electric lights). All machines were run by air. There weren’t any major explosions and only one accident. One of the women workers lost her left arm. Powder was so sensitive that if any were left under the fingernails, lighting a cigarette would blow away the finger nails. The plant won a number of safety awards.

    At first, workers on an 8-hour shift were turning out 8,000 rounds of 40mm POM POM ammunition. At their peak they were producing 29,000 rounds a shift. Still, there was not enough labor to run but two “load lines.” There was the capacity for a third line but labor was scarce. At the end of WWII the Shell plant was scaled down and workers were given two souviner 40mm Shells produced at the Charlotte plant and sent home..'Rosie the Riviter' had done their jobs, and were no longer needed.. Pictured here are two 40mm souviner shells that were given to my aunt in September 1945.. Both Shells are dated 1945 one brass case and one steel case...Enjoy this piece of Charlotte, NC WW2 History....BILL
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    "As long as there are brave men and warriors the halls of Valhalla will never be silent or empty"

    In memory of my father William T. Grist December 26, 1920--September 10, 2009..
    901st. Ordnance H.A.M. North Africa, Italy, Southern France....ETO
    Also in memory of my mother Jane Kidd Grist Feb. 22, 1920-- September 27, 2009... WWll War bride May 1942...

  2. #2

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Nice thread Bill. Great family connection.

    Cheers, Ade.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    You and your dad are not the only hero's in your family.Thanks

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Bill that is a great piece of local history. These women were doing a great job at some very dangerous work.

    Are the projectiles crimped in place? Is the plant still standing?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    i have one 40mm brass shell , its a canadian bofors AG/C is the Aluminium Goods Co. Ltd., Ottawa.
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    Last edited by Pierre N; 10-22-2008 at 03:39 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Quote by Von Sphinctor View Post
    You and your dad are not the only hero's in your family.Thanks
    Von, Thanks,,, just wait until November 11, 2008.. I'll do my Grandfather 'BIG RED ONE' 1st. inf. Division MG company.. NC Congressman and highly decorated..Three Uncles one VMTB 242 Midway 1942 Eastern Island, The other 81st. Wildcat Infantry Division Line Rifle Co. 2nd. Lt.,,, Pacific Campaign and had already graduated Law School, Anguar, Luzon. PI.... and one a Doctor on the Hospital Ship Repose.... BILL
    "As long as there are brave men and warriors the halls of Valhalla will never be silent or empty"

    In memory of my father William T. Grist December 26, 1920--September 10, 2009..
    901st. Ordnance H.A.M. North Africa, Italy, Southern France....ETO
    Also in memory of my mother Jane Kidd Grist Feb. 22, 1920-- September 27, 2009... WWll War bride May 1942...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    very nice history Bill !!
    Last edited by Pierre N; 10-22-2008 at 03:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Here is one more.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Very nice ! what is the definition to maker (stamp)HET-SD-USN

  10. #10
    Greg Claypool
    ?

    Default Re: Navy 40mm 'Shell Plant' Charlotte. NC

    Hi Folks, I'm looking for a pair of 40mm shells, spent or otherwise. I'm a volunteer at the Frazier International History Museum, formally know as the Frazier Arms Museum. In the process of restoring a n 18' model of the USS Louisville, CV28. We want to place the ships name plaque hanging from light brass chains suspended between two 40 mm shells. If I can find complete examples, I can turn the business end in wood. CV28 is now scrape unfortunately, but server the pacific fleet the entire WW2, earning 13 battle stars. The ship had numerous 40mm twin and quad bofor's. Two of us have been restoring the model now for 3 months and at the point to create the presentation name arrangement piece.
    Help or a donation of 40mm examples would be appreciated. Check out our Blog on facebook. Just type in the full museum name and see the ship, Gary and I acting as a two man ship yard crew.
    PS. I was in submarines from 65-72, so personally I was be thankful. Greg

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