Harold Newgass was World War II lieutenant who single-handedly saved Garston from obliteration by defusing a land mine that landed in its gas works. Temporary Lieutenant Harold Newgass worked for two days in dank and dirty conditions inside one of the gas cylinders after a parachute mine landed in it but failed to explode. Homes for miles around the works were evacuated and up to 6,000 people displaced. For two days until November 30, 1940 he battled to defuse the mine and because of the noxious, flammable fumes inside the cylinder his operation was complicated by having to wear breathing apparatus which only had a life of 30 minutes apiece. A Londoner Newgass, 41 a was awarded the George Cross for his efforts.
“Liverpool was the second most bombed city in the UK because Hitler thought if he could stop supplies coming in he could starve the country into submission.”Mr Newgass, a veteran of the Great War, lived a humble and unassuming life after his remarkable feat and died aged 85.
Liverpool Picturebook viewer, Don Cross kindly contributed this additional information having read this article on the website.
" I lived in Duncombe Rd Grassendale,born 1944.opposite to our house lived a John Kermode and his Wife. John Kermode was the general manager of Garston Gas works,he personally lead the bomb disposal officer to the mine,and stayed with him,whilst it was defused,the bomb disposal officer received the VC,from the King,for his bravery,and John Kermode recieved The George Cross,I have held that medal in my hand,as a kid . Three land mines where dropped, one in the gas tank,one in the front garden of a house in Whithedge Rd,( thankfully,like the one in the gas tank,it did not explode), the third landed in Riversdale Rd and did explode,demolishing the railway bridge and several properties."
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