The Fauld Explosion 1944

  •  Tutbury Remembers 

The Fauld Explosion – “the day the dump went up”

The Fauld Explosion (known locally as “the day the dump went up”) occurred at 11:13 am on Monday, 27 November 1944 at the RAF No. 21 Maintenance Unit (21 MU) underground munition storage depot at Fauld, Staffordshire, England.

In an instant, it killed 70 people from Tutbury, Hanbury, Hatton and the surrounding area!

The official report said that of the 70 who were killed:

  • 57 were civilians
  • 7 were RAF
  • 6 Italian Co-operators

18 people were never found

The Tutbury men who were buried in the Churchyard at St. Mary’s Priory Church, Tutbury, are listed at the bottom of this page – unfortunately of the eleven listed in the Bural Register, only seven headstones can now be found.

There is a 2 page (PDF) leaflet available for anyone who wants an overview of what happened  – click here to view

For those who wish to know more there are two excellent books available:

The best book about how the explosion happened and the technical issues surrounding the explosion (and other similar ammunition stores) is:
   The Fauld Disaster – 27 November 1944: (4.7/5 on Amazon) by Nick McCamley – this is the definitive history of the RAF’s ill-fated excursion into underground storage during the Second World War, culminating in the disaster at Fauld.

An excellent book from the human perspective using information from the families involved is:
Voices from the Explosion: RAF Fauld: (4.5/5 on Amazon) by Valerie Hardy (updated for the 75th anniversary in 2019) includes witness statements from the Court of Inquiry in 1944 and documents declassified in 1974

Other books available (but which I have not read as I don’t think they would add much to the story) are:
  • Fauld Unfolded: Britain’s Unclear Disaster by Tom Geralds
  • After the Dump went up: The Untold Story – Fauld by Mark Rowe
  • RAF Fauld Explosion by Ronald Cohn, Jesse Russell
  • The Trees Were Burning – The 1944 Fauld Explosion and Other RAF Stories by Mark Rowe
Available online are:


Name in Burial RegisterAgeTutbury Memorial Survey (TMS) Location
Buried on 2nd December 1944
George H POWELL7 Church Street57Buried at Tutbury. No memorial found.
(Shepherd on headstone)
15 Burton Street 73Buried at Tutbury. No memorial found
Laurence George COKAYNE11 Church Street50C-14-A Vert/Flat/Kerb/White
(On wife’s gravestone)
George SMITH16 Park Lane61A4-68-F Vert/Flat/Kerb/Grey
Ambrose PATTERSON96 Green Lane40Not in TMS
Samuel PICKERING 44 Monk Street36A4-69-G Vert/Scroll/Kerb/White
Buried on 6th December 1944
George PRIESTLEY13 Park Lane,61A4-68-E Kerb/Grey
Buried on 21st December 1944
Joseph BELL,32 Burton Street39Buried at Tutbury. No memorial found.
Buried on 9th January 1945
(Christian name also given as Edman)
3 Cornmill Lane,59A4-68-B Kerb/White
Buried on 13th January 1945
William Henry SHEPHARD,15 Burton Street39A4-67-G Vert/Invert V/Kerb/Grey
Buried on 6th February 1945
William GENT8 Monk Street43A4-66-G Vert/Flat/Kerb/Grey

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