Chris Chapman (Royal British Legion), Ray Ashby (Royal British Legion), Peter Clinker, Nestlé Head of Facilities Management; (back row left to right); Dan Shrimpton, Chair of Trustees Joseph Rowntree Theatre; Paul Steadman, Nestlé Group HR Director.
Two memorial boards commemorating the 412 Rowntree’s employees who gave their lives in service during the First and Second World Wars have been welcomed to their new home at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
In 2010, a stone memorial was unveiled at the Nestlé factory in Haxby Road so that members of the public could pay their respects to the fallen whenever they wished. This replaced the carved wooden boards which had been on display in various areas of the factory since the end of the 1939-1945 conflict.
Paul Steadman, Group HR Director for Nestlé UK said: “Hundreds of Rowntree’s employees lost their lives or sustained disabling injuries during the World Wars. The stone memorial at our Haxby Road site is dedicated to their memory and their sacrifice.
“The original memorials have since been preserved in our onsite archive facility, but we wanted them to be available to a wider audience. We are delighted that the Joseph Rowntree Theatre have become their new custodians, enabling all the community to see and remember the very significant role that Rowntree’s employees played during the conflicts.”
It wasn’t just in active service that Rowntree’s workers made a substantial contribution to the war effort. The York factory site manufactured munitions throughout the wars, while the cake department produced chocolate bars with added vitamins for soldiers’ ration packs. The factory also packed nine million tins of dried egg and seven and a half million tins of milk powder during the course of the Second World War.