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Firefighters Memorial

to those who died during the Low Moor Disaster 1916

Erected by

The Bradford City Council in Commemoration of the Devotion to Duty of the Undernamed Members of the Bradford City Fire Brigade who lot their lives in the Explosion caused by the Fire at Low Moor Munition Works on 21st August 1916


Station Officer
Charles Sugden
Fred Normington
Knighton Pidmore
Eli Buckley
Edgar Shaw
Joseph Edmund Binns



During WW1 many businesses turned their manufacturing to aid the war effort. These companies included Barnbow at Crossgates and Low Moor Chemical Works at Odsal, Bradford.

Like Barnbow, who lost 35 of its 'Canaries' in 1916. So called 'canaries' due to the chemical Amatol being absorbed into the skin Low Moor also lost staff in a great explosion on 21 August 1916. The above memorial remembers the firefighters who gave their lives during the events that took place that day. The workers, I believe, have no public memorial.

The explosions were attended by 18 officers and men from both Odsal and Bradford, within one hour of the call being received 6 of the firemen had been killed and 12 were injured and on their way to hospital. In total 40 people lost their lives, including a policeman and a railway worker from a nearby goods yard.

A civic funeral was held shortly after the explosion, attended by thousands of local people.

In 1924 a fitting memorial was placed over the communal grave of the firemen who lost their lives on that eventful day. The firemen that attended the explosion were given gold medals for their efforts. Relatives of the 6 men named above were also given these medals.

The Memorial in Scholemoor Cemetery stood for many years as a fitting tribute for the bravery of those men. But, neglect and vandalism are no respector of memorials to brave men. Some of the stone balustrading had been stolen and probably adorns some garden in the area or found its way into an architectural salvage yard.

In 1999 it was suggested to move the memorial to a more prominent and safer position at the West Yorkshire Fire Service Headquarters. A sum of £25,000 was needed for the re-siting and reburbishment of this magnificent tribute to the 6 men. This sum also included funds for the renovations of the actual grave plots in Scholemoor Cemetery.

The statue is now sited at its new home and is visable to all who pass but the Aberdeen Granite balustrade at the time of the above picture being taken was not in place, this could be due to building work taking place in the area around the memorial.



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