In 1941, the Department of National War Services put in place a nation-wide salvage programme. Households across the country were asked to collect metals, paper, bones, rags and fat. It wasn’t done for the environment but rather for the war effort.
Bone became a vitally important material to the war effort.
Fortunately, bones were readily available because they could be collected from the carcass of any dead animal. They were in high demand because the extracted fats were used to make glycerine, an agent used in high explosives. Alongside this, bones were also used to produce soap, candles, glue for camouflage paint and different variations of woodwork.
After being produced into these materials, their remains could be used for crop fertiliser and cattle feed.
This photograph appeared in the Bromley & District newspaper on 30th August 1940
When a Council’s van was making its bone collection last week, the dustman was surprised to find this bone waiting for him.
It weighs 38lbs, and the Salvage Officer, who is seen holding the bone, suggests it must have come from an “elephant or something”
Bromley & District Times Newspaper
‘Salvage on the Home Front’ paper produced by the Royal Voluntary Service Archive & Heritage Collection