The 1943 explosion at the Yorktown Mine Depot was the topic of discussion at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Gloucester Genealogical Society of Virginia.
Frank Green of the York County Historical Society spoke about the event that affected people for miles around. There are still a few local residents, he said, who remember being thrown from their beds by the effects of the accident.
The Mine Depot, now called Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, manufactured explosive ordnance for the war and loaded it onto ships on the York River. One night in November in the middle of World War II, an extraordinarily powerful explosive, Torpex, was being allowed to cool in warehouse P-2, Green said.
Shortly after midnight, an explosion obliterated warehouse P-2 and killed the workers inside it. An earthen berm surrounding the warehouse routed the explosive force skyward and in on itself. Debris rained down for miles around. Windows were shattered as far as Gloucester Court House, 10 miles away.
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