A moving tribute was made to the victims of Huddersfield’s worst fire disaster to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.

The day, April 28, is held every year to commemorate those who have died either because of a workplace accident, ill health or disease.

This year the local Trades Council gathered at the plaque on John William Street by the side of the Tesco store in Huddersfield town centre to commemorate 49 people who perished in a blaze at H Booth & Sons Ltd clothing manufacturers on October 31, 1941.

The fire was caused by a smoker’s pipe left alight inside a coat pocket at the beginning of work.

Gusts of wind through an open door fanned the flames rapidly through the timber interior which lacked fire doors, fire escapes, a functioning alarm or procedures to prevent the spread of the inferno.

At the memorial event a wreath was laid and there was a minute’s silence to remember the dead.

Local historian Cormac Kelly outlined the terrible events of that morning and Mick Donoghue, Kirklees UNISON branch secretary, talked about the dangers workers still face today, especially with hazards such as asbestos.

Most of the victims were girls and young women. Many were under 16 and the youngest was just 14 with 46 of the 49 who died buried in a mass grave at Edgerton Cemetery.

The memorial also remembers the brave firefighters who fought to save people.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.