A feature of the world wars was the crucial role played by people from civilian jobs.

Edgar Readman worked in the steel industry in Sheffield before serving as a lieutenant in the South Staffordshire Regiment. He was posted to the Tank Battalion, being promoted to captain on 30 November 1917. After the war he returned to the steel industry in what became English Steel. He remained in the territorial army during the interwar period and was called up in the RAOC on the declaration of WW2. He succeeded Bill Williams and then Harry Whitaker as COO Chilwell in 1940, and ran it and the Motor Transport activities of the RAOC until he returned to English Steel after the war.

I looked at the management style of a number of the officers who had come from industry.

Reddy Readman at Chilwell wrote his management report with a focus on numbers; we might view them as Key Performance Indicators. In April 1944 he reported that during the month some 17,573,206 items had been packed in cartons bringing the total to date to 143,643,187 using some 6,265,340 cartons. The packing operation was extraordinary, with volunteers from all walks of life including school children helping the military and civilian staff of the depots.

He reported on the printing of labels which was saving many man hours. The printing department at Chilwell had expanded into an operating employing some 250 people.

It is also clear from his report that the field operations were being put together ready for transit on and after D Day. The Advance Ordnance Depots were staffed and supplies were being earmarked. The same was the case for the Forward Trailer Sections and Ordnance Field Parks as well as for the Landing Reserves and Beach Maintenance Packs. Of crucial importance he reported that work on Wading and Ventilation Equipment was complete and so the department could stand down.

Readman returned to English Steel after the war and was involved in the nationalisation and denationalisation of steel through the eyes of Vickers which owned English Steel.

I write of Readman and others from industry in Dunkirk to D Day and also in an article I wrote for the Historian on Civilian Expertise in War.. I write of English Steel and Vickers in How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World.