Edward John Best EM

b. 06/04/1898 Warlingham, Surrey.  d. 22/11/1954 Croydon, Surrey.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 22/11/1954 Croydon, Surrey.

Edward was one of twelve children of Thomas George and Alice Maud Best (nee Matthews). Edward was a twin with Walter Edwin. One of his elder brothers James Henry was killed in action in France in 1918. On 18th November 1922, he married Hilda Ida Brown at St John’s Church, Croydon, and they had two daughters.



On the morning of 22nd November, 1954, the coke in a hopper in the new plant at the Waddon Gas Works became over-heated and gave off carbonmonoxide. A foreman employed by the plant contractors fell through a manhole in a gangway above the hopper to the coke some twelve feet below and apparently lost consciousness. The Works rescue squad was summoned and Best together with another man, both equipped with breathing apparatus, went down into the hopper. They succeeded in finding the foreman and fixing safety harness by means of which he was hauled out of the hopper. Best displayed gallantry of a high order for although he knew that the cylinder in his breathing apparatus was only half full, he remained in the darkness, intense heat and fumes of the hopper until he and his comrade had fastened the foreman to the safety harness. He finally collapsed and was hauled out and taken to the hospital but on arrival he was found to be dead.