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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Henry Robert Barwick

Plumber, Pipefitter, SteamfitterOak Ridge, TN

Y-12 Plant
Manhattan Project Veteran

Henry Barwick worked as a plumber, pipefitter, and steamfitter during the building of the Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge. He served as part of the Manhattan Project from 1943 through the end of the war. Barwick worked on both sides of the building, but wasn’t allowed to connect the two sides to a single system due to the heightened security concerns. He received radiation poisoning when left in a hot area for too long. It was extracted with U235 strapped to his back, which was closely watched by government officials to make sure the U235 was not stolen during his treatment. There are some medical records, but none that mention treatment for radiation poisoning.

Barwick was born in Wilder, TN, to parents that had come from England. He was born into a coal mining family, and married Elizabeth Evans Hoffmeister. He tried to enlist, but was told that his chest measurements were too small, leading him to a job at Oak Ridge. Barwick and his family moved to one of the houses in Oak Ridge off of East Outer Drive (a radio station located there today). Barwick received a certificate and pin for his work. He was never dismissed by the doctor in Oak Ridge, but went back to Cookeville, TN and lived there until his death.

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