This resource is one of a series created to commemorate the First World War Centenary in 2014-2018.
This watch case was sent to Joseph Wilkins Giardelli in 1914 by his colleagues at the Royal Mint whilst he was serving in the First World War.
J W Giardelli was born on 26 February 1875 and appointed to the Royal Mint on 10 January 1889. He became a First Class Workman on 11 April 1907, paid a subsistence allowance of £1 (one pound) and allocated nine shares in the piecework. Royal Mint records show that Joseph Giardelli left the Mint before April 1915 to join the war effort. They also show that he was one of the few to return, and is recorded in 1919 as having resumed his pre-war position at the Mint.
The Royal Mint during WWI
In 1914 the Royal Mint was located at Tower Hill in London. During the First World War the Mint made a direct contribution to the war by helping with munitions work, using the automatic coin balances to weigh bullet cartridges and discard those too light or too heavy. It was also able to supply the special engineering skills needed to produce items like artillery dial sights and gauges.
The Royal Mint also allowed its staff to fight the First World War. At the start of the war more than 30 members of Mint staff who were in the Territorial Army or on the reserve lists of the army and navy were called up to active service. However anyone else who wanted to enlist was not allowed to until the end of 1914, due to the urgent need for the country to avoid a coin shortage. By the end of 1914, 42 members of Royal Mint staff were on active service.
Artillery dial sights and gauges
- devices attached to guns etc to enable them to be fired more accurately
- sign up for service in the armed forces
First Class Workman
- experienced and better paid workman
- items used in warfare, such as bullets, grenades, bombs, landmines, missiles
- workers get paid for how many items they produce, however long it takes them
- money towards the cost of everyday living expenses such as food, accommodation etc
Scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas.