A MEMORIAL was unveiled today (Wednesday) commemorating local victims of the Broughton Moor Armaments Depot explosion during World War II. 

The plaque, in the Maryport Memorial Gardens, was unveiled by Maryport mayor Peter Kendall. 

The words on the plaque will tell the story of the 11 people who died when 'the Broughton dump', as it is called, blew up.

The plaque wording tells the story: “On January 18, 1944, a huge explosion occurred at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Broughton Moor, resulting in the tragic death of eleven people and injury to another seventy.

“It was believed that the most likely cause of the explosion was a sensitive fuse in a naval mortar bomb, leading to the detonation of 72 lbs of high explosive in the laboratory and 1,296 pounds of high explosive in a nearby railway truck.

Times and Star: UNVEILING: The Maryport Mayor speaks to the gathered crowdUNVEILING: The Maryport Mayor speaks to the gathered crowd

"The laboratory, with its six foot thick concrete walls, was severely damaged. 

“Wartime restrictions on reporting meant that the detail of the tragedy was not made public at the time, but the Depot employed many people with local connections.

"This memorial is to those people from Flimby & Maryport who were impacted by this tragic event in our local history.”

Times and Star: PLAQUE: The plaque tells the story of the tragic explosionPLAQUE: The plaque tells the story of the tragic explosion

Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Kendall gave a list of the names of the dead. 

Those who were killed as a result of the explosion were Ann Straughton Wilson; Edward Lynch; Elizabeth Moses; Gertrude Fee; Henry Rooke; Jane Ann Lister; Mary Kathleen Barnes; Mary Louisa Smith; Patricia Scutts; Robert Swanston; and William Morrison.

Marking history

This is one of several memorials erected by the council in recent times.

Others include those in Flimby and Maryport in memory of those who died of Covid, one for Maryport VC Edward Benn Smith and one for John Kent, the first black police officer in the UK who began his career in Maryport.

Edward Benn Smith also had a blue plaque put on the harbourside house in which he lived.

A blue plaque was also put up on the wall of the Ellenborough home of author and climber Bill Peascod.