#VEDay75: telling the story of the remarkable role the gas industry and gas workers had in achieving ‘Victory in Europe’


As the nation pauses to celebrate Victory in Europe, 75 years on, the UK’s biggest gas network has trawled the archives to reveal the essential role played by the gas industry.
From powering the only steel furnaces capable of making key parts for Spitfires, to forming an aerial barrier to deadly doodlebugs, to defusing a bomb that fell into a giant gasholder.
These, and many other stories, will be published on Cadent’s website and its social media channels from 8 to 10 May, as part of national commemorations marking VE Day (8 May).
Supported by Professor Russell Thomas, chairman of the history panel of the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers, and with the kind permission of the National Grid Gas Archives to reproduce rarely seen images, the series unearths incredible achievements, including:
  • The London gas workers who repaired more than 12,000 mains damaged by bombs
  • The Norwich gas workers who kept gas flowing as the city was bombed heavily
  • The Liverpool gas workers who helped defuse a bomb that fell into a giant gasholder
  • The secretive work of a gas research lab in Fulham that saved the lives of 10,000 airmen
  • The hydrogen filled balloons which defended UK towns and cities and downed doodlebugs
  • The women who kept the gas industry operational through the war years
  • The Sheffield steel works that depended on gas to build parts for ships and Spitfires
Howard Forster, Chief Operating Officer, Cadent, said: “It’s a great source of pride to reflect on the important role the gas industry had in supporting the war effort.
“Gas has been part of British life for over two centuries; pioneering, adapting and rising to every challenge. We’ve proven we stop at nothing to keep energy flowing, through the good times and the bad.
“Many of our offices and depots are home to memorials to gas industry workers who gave their lives during the Second World War. We Will Remember Them, as we always have.
“For #VEDay75, we’ve collated a special series of extraordinary examples of how gas was central – sometimes obvious, sometimes less so – to keeping the machinery of war going, as well as everyday life. They make for an incredible read.
“They remind us just how important gas has been to Britain over the years, as it will continue to be for many years to come. It also reminds us of the debt we owe to so many.”
The full stories are being published here https://cadentgas.com/veday75 between 8-10 May and will feature on Cadent’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter channels.
Cadent is the UK’s biggest gas distribution network, managing more than 80,000 miles of underground pipes and hundreds of above ground stations that deliver gas to more than 11 million properties in North West England, the Midlands, South Yorkshire, East of England and North London. It also provides the 24/7, year-round gas emergency service to the same areas.
Most of the images that will appear on these pages are reproduced with kind permission of the National Grid Gas Archive, Warrington.


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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