THREE generations of a family gathered to see the unveiling of a new memorial to a fireman killed nearly 70 years ago while tackling a blaze at a Saddleworth mill.
Wilfred Nelson from Mossley died when falling 40 feet from the third floor at Wellington Mill on Wellington Road, Greenfield on March 5, 1955. He was 41 and buried in the cemetery at Micklehurst.
Sixty-six years later son Trevor – now 78 – granddaughter Cara Barnes and great grandsons Kris Holland and Sebastian Suthers attended the official placing of a red plaque commemorating Wilfred’s bravery and service.
It is sited on the corner of Chew Valley Road and Wellington Road and forms part of a new memorial garden arranged by Tesco Greenfield.
Current firefighters stationed at Mossley also came to pay their respects.
Station manager Dave Swallow and members of the Fire Brigade Union, also in attendance, worked tirelessly for more than six months to arrange the tribute after the Independent highlighted the tragedy back in March.“A big thank you to everyone who helped organise this,” said proud Trevor, a retired teacher who was 12 when his dad never returned from his shift.
“What happened is now nearly 70 years ago but it is very good to have it recognised like this.
“Thanks to Dave for keeping me informed. I still don’t know how you tracked me down,” he added.
Dave added: “Wilfred died trying to protect his local community. What happened is part of our history and it is still important we recognise that.
“We all understand the problems where Wilf was at. He was one of those told by his superior to have a break but he wanted to push on and do that bit more.”
A coroner later recorded a verdict of death by misadventure on Trevor’s father. Wilfred was one of 100 firemen called at the height of the incident to tackle the blaze at the former spinning mill.