As the country commemorates 80 years since the D-Day landings in June 1944 we talked to volunteer Malcolm Goode about his research into the brewery workers who served in the D-Day Campaign.

Malcolm has volunteered with the Trust since 2016 and has a particular passion for researching those who served in both world wars. He said: “I started by looking at the war memorials, from the Collection and in the town, but over time some of those memorial plaques have been lost. Also not every memorial includes all the relevant names. The Burton breweries relied on families to share their information so sadly some people are missed from formal memorials.” Using memorials from the Collection, as well as visiting local churches and trawling through local newspapers from the time, Malcolm has painstakingly researched all those brewery employees who died during World War Two.

Bass House staircase

Staircase in Bass House

In the course of his research Malcolm discovered the Memorial Book, a document that was placed at the top of the first flight of stairs on the grand staircase in Bass House, positioned between the two Great War Memorial Boards. It represents those men from the three breweries mentioned on the inscription page, and there are 80 names in total. Malcolm’s research discovered that 41 men were employed by Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton, 14 were employed by Worthington & Co and 1 was employed by the James Eadie Brewery. It is unclear who the others worked for.

Memorial book inscription

Inscription page of the Memorial Book

The Board of Directors of Bass and Worthington’s Brewery first discussed the need for a memorial in December 1946. Over subsequent discussions Lieutenant Colonel James Eadie offered to prepare a design. In April 1947 a design was approved and in May the following was recorded: “The Board authorised the acceptance of the estimate from the Birmingham Guild Ltd, amounting to £125 for the provision and fixing of a memorial tablet and a bookcase”. The Memorial Book remained in Bass House until it closed and is now stored safely until it can be shared again.

Malcolm commented: “It’s so important that we remember all those who served, and preserving the Memorial Book and the memorials in the Collection are essential to telling their story. I’m proud to be able to play a small part in honouring the Brewery men who sacrificed so much.”

You can get in touch with Malcolm via the Trust at

Brewery workers served across the world throughout the war and many were present on the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944. None lost their lives that day but eight Burton brewery employees died during the summer campaign.

Sergeant Air Gunner Charles Appleby was in 76 Squadron Bomber command and employed at the Bass New Brewery. He is buried in Burton Cemetery.

Trooper Leslie Asbury served in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry and was killed in action in August, he is buried in Desir Cemetery in northern France.

Lieutenant Stanley Ife was in the RN Volunteer Reserve. Employed by the James Eadie Brewery, his minesweeper was sunk off the Normandy Coast in July.

Trooper John Insley of the Hussars Royal Armoured Corps was employed by Bass & Co. He died in August and is buried in Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery.

Private Robert Pegg of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps died in September. An employee of Bass & Co he is buried in Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery.

Corporal James Redfern of South Staffordshire Regiment was employed by Worthington’s Brewery and was killed in July. He is buried in Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery.

Trooper Charles Sarson of the Hussars Royal Armoured Corps, died in September and is buried near Rouen, France.

Lance Sergeant Thomas Topliss of the North Staffordshire Regiment was employed by Worthington’s Brewery. He died in July and is buried Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery.