Alice Post

A victim of T.N.T. poisoning - extract from East Kent Gazette

Owing to the enormous shortage of labour the alternation of work which had been recommended could not be carried out. With reference to cocoa, the firm started it, but the girls brought their own milk and sugar for tea, as the firm did not supply it.

Witness arranged with Dr. Alexander to inspect the girls once a fortnight ,but that was not carried out to his satisfaction and he complained about it three weeks ago to Mr. Heath. Witness was under the impression that when he arranged it his responsibility ended. Witness added that the machines had been adapted from other use and there was a great rush for T.N.T. and things were not carried out as they would have been under other conditions. With reference to the time when Alice was sent home in a cab she complained of head-aches and feeling tired and witness sent her home and was told to see a doctor. He said the girls were frequently complaining of feeling faint especially when on night work which was caused ,he believed, because they did not take enough rest in the day. Witness said he was continually cautioning the girls to wear the respirators but they did not like them, complaining they made themselves hot.

Replying to Mr. Heath , Mr. Minter said the works covered a large area and he had deputed some of the foreman to see that the recommendations of Dr. Collins were carried out and had also seen personally that they were carried out. He explained tha it was really the pressure of munitions manufacture that that prevented the alterations of work so much as he would like . Cocoa was supplied in cups but no milk or sugar.
Replying to Mr. Watson Smith , witness said there were double the number of hands employed on AMANOL, compared with black powder and the accommodation was sufficient for the black powder work. Dr. S.R. Alexander was on frequent official visits and he always asked if there were any cases that required attention. The case of ALICE POST , said the doctor, certainly ought to have been reported to him; but heard nothing until she was dying. The doctor said there was a great reluctance of the wearing of the respirators by the workers. Dr. Alexander with Dr. Selby in the post-mortem examination and he agreed with the conclusions.

A clerk of the works said that the deceased came for her money to his house on 1st January 1916 and she said she was getting better and hoping to come back to work.

Dr. Prideaux George Selby of Greenstreet said the deceased was a patient of his.

Dr. Henderson saw the deceased on Saturday night and witness went to with Dr. Henderson and saw the deceased on Sunday. She was lying on her back , unconscious , deeply yellow in colour dark fluid was extruding from her lips ,the breathing was stertorous and she had the 'death rattles' in the throat. Other details were given. The doctor said the young woman was in a dying condition. He telephoned Dr. Alexander , who afterwards saw her with witness and Dr. Henderson and they agreed that she was suffering from a form of T.N.T. poisoning.

With Dr. Legge of the Home Office and Dr. Alexander he made a post-mortem examination of the deceased which showed that the body was discoloured yellow ,the skin of the hands being of a canary yellow. The conclusion he came to was that the patient had died of T.N.T. poisoning. He arrived to the conclusion of absolute tiredness of she complained of walking to and from work.

This completed the evidence.

The coroner, in summing up the evidence said the provision of cocoa and was recommended to include milk and sugar to make it palatable and as a meal which enables the poison to be absorbed and the medicals on the workers should be more strictly carried out. The Jury deliberated that and found that the deceased died from the absorption of T.N.T. into the system. The Jury also urged that the recommendations as to the provisions of hot cocoa and better washing arrangements to be carried out.