WHEN Ethel Bannister was married in January 1919, her marriage certificate said she was an “experimental engineer”, which was a remarkable job title for a woman of her era.

She had had an impressive war: she’d been born in Balk, near Thirsk, in 1893, had grown up in Easingwold and had started work at Rowntree’s chocolate factory in York, but had moved into munitions manufacture.

In later life, she said she had been able to “make the perfect shell”, and she rose quickly through the ranks to become one of the HM Inspectors of Munitions.

Peace time obviously ended her munitions work, but as an “experimental engineer” in early 1919, she was still pursuing an untypical line of work.

All that ended in December 1919, when she gave birth to the first of her eight children and her career came to an end. Before she left the munition works, though, she had taken a funnel which had been used to put munitions into shell casings. It was later turned into a stand to hold a fire poker as a souvenir of her war work and is still treasured by one of her grandchildren in Middlesbrough.

The story, and the poker stand, were unearthed during roadshows held late last year by the Rememorial WW1 project, which is looking at how the Tees Valley coped in the period from the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, to the final conclusion of the peace with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, and Peace Day on July 19, 1919.

“It was a period of considerable uncertainty as people tried to come to terms with peace,” says Dr Ben Roberts of Teesside University, who is leading the Heritage Lottery funded project. “Society itself was adjusting in the wake of total war and this change brought mixed experiences of hope, anger, joy and sorrow.”

The project is building into an exhibition which will tour the region’s museums to commemorate the centenary of the peace later this summer.

Dr Roberts and his team would like to hear from anyone who has similar stories about this period of immense upheaval.

They would love to contact the family of Dora Richmond, of Darlington. We told her story in 2013. Dora, who was 20 in 1918, had come to an arrangement with 2nd Lt Joseph Booth. They’d exchanged keepsakes and agreed they would get married at the end of the war.

Then they’d larked about, with Dora wearing Joe’s large trenchcoat while he experimented with a camera.

He’d gone back to the front and had been killed near Cambrai on October 8, 1918 – a month before the Armistice was signed.

Dora had parcelled his life into a suitcase – his letters, pictures, cap badge and mementoes – that she kept under bed.

She found happiness later, marrying in 1925 and having two children, but she clearly never forgot Joe.

The project team can be contacted by email, info@RememorialWWI.org, or phone on 01642-738538, or RememorialWW1 can be found on Twitter and Facebook.