The refugee’s grandson who became a hero of the Silvertown explosion

Dr Andrea Angel, chief chemist at the Brunner Mond Works, who lost his life after rushing back into

Dr Andrea Angel, chief chemist at the Brunner Mond Works, who lost his life after rushing back into the burning building to search for survivors. - Credit: Archant

A hero of the Silvertown explosion was the grandson of an Italian refugee.

A newspaper report on the funeral of Dr Angel whose grave is in the East London Cemetery.

A newspaper report on the funeral of Dr Angel whose grave is in the East London Cemetery. - Credit: Archant

Bradford-born Andrea Angel, manager at Brunner Mond, was supervising workers between the day and night shifts when the fire broke out.

Realising straightaway that the consequences of the blaze would be devestating, Dr Angel led the evacuation.

But he rushed back inside the burning building fearing workers were still inside.

Seconds later the factory exploded.


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The 40-year-old was killed instantly, but in the aftermath, the sacrifice he made meant he came to be regarded as one of the heroes of the catastrophe.

In recognition of his heroism he was posthumously awarded an Albert medal by King George V.

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However, the Oxford graduate, pictured right, would not have been at the factory if his wish to serve in the army had been granted.

But because of the demand for people with knowledge of chemistry to work in munitions factories, he was forbidden from enlisting.

The son of a supervisor for the Inland Revenue, Andrea’s grandfather fled to the UK from Italy after 10 years jailed as a political prisoner.

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