World War II Events at the Gas Works
During 1944, bombs were dropped on the Retort House. Three men – Ted Lawrence, Jacky Benn and Bunny Webb – were awarded medals for conspicuous bravery. A Wellington Bomber crashed in a Gas Works field at the rear of Beaconsfield Road. Thankfully, all the crew baled out safely.
In the late Autumn, a Spitfire – which had taken off from Northold Aerodrome – crashed just inside the main entrance gates, hitting a tree and just missing – by feet – the Bensole Plant and the rear of numbers 1 and 2 White Street. It was around 12.30 pm. Mr. Leonard Bowdler and Mr. C.C. Smith pulled the young Canadian pilot from the cockpit, but he was already dead. Due to the heat it was some days before the plane could be moved, as ammunition kept exploding. No one else was injured. The pilot was buried with full Military Honours and, after the war, his body was exhumed and taken back to Canada.