b. 23/08/1887 Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. d. 4th Q 1965 Colchester, Essex.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 20/11/1942 Great Oakley Munitions Factory, Essex.
Wiliam was born on 23rd August 1887 in Walton on the Naze, Essex, one of ten children of John Wiliam and Martha Sallows (nee Britton). Little is known about his early life, before he began work at the munitions factory in Great Oakley. On 14th August 1915, he married Gladys Annie Offord in Great Oakley and they had two children, Amanda (born 1915) and Jeffrey (born 1922). Little else is known about his life which changed when he was awarded the Edward Medal for his help in the rescue of fellow workers at the Munitions Factory on 20th November 1942. He died in Colchester, Essex in 1965, aged 78.
On the 20th November, 1942, a violent explosion occurred in a building in which explosives were being mixed, and resulted in the immediate death of the two occupants of the building, the complete destruction of the building itself, and considerable damage to adjacent structures. In one of these, a Nitrating House, a charge of 1,800 Ibs. of nitro-glycerine was in the pre-wash tank, and another nitration was about half completed. Although the building became filled with fumes and steam, the operator, Mr. Wheeler, and his assistant, Mr.Sallows, remained at their posts and took prompt steps to control the nitration and render the explosion harmless. They were assisted in this by Dr Baldwin, the Assistant Works Manager, whoarrived on the scene shortly after the explosion. He noticed that about three square feet of wood above the pre-wash tank were smouldering vigorously and throwing off sparks. With Mr. Wheeler’s assistance he extinguished this very dangerous outbreak. The danger which these three men averted was a very real one .since there is little doubt that if the necessary steps had not been taken, an explosion in the building would have occurred and that such an explosion occurring a few minutes after the firstone when many workers had left their buildings and were in the neighbourhood would have caused a great number of casualties. All three men could probably have saved their lives by running, but they can have been under no illusion as to the danger they were in. They acted promptly and courageously, and without thought of their own safety in circumstances of considerable danger.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.