During the First World War Britain lost its supply of chemicals from Germany. In order to bridge the gap, Jesse brought together a team of experts to begin the research and manufacture of key synthetic chemicals such as aspirin. Boots created a new manufacturing process which involved seventeen different analytical tests, and claimed that their aspirin was the “purest on the market”. The company was soon supplying the British Government with medicines for field hospitals and manufacturing products such as water sterilizing tablets which, at a concentration of 1 in 300,000, claimed to destroy the organisms of cholera, typhoid, coli and dysentery in about thirty minutes.
The first employee magazine was produced to raise money for colleagues who were serving in the armed forces. In total twelve editions of the magazine Comrades in Khaki were printed between1915 and 1916. Each one carried a letter from Jesse and Florence and contained news, letters and photographs from employees both at home and overseas. After the war, the company launched two new magazines, The Bee and The Beacon, which further developed the “bond of union” between the company and its employees.