Can you help with question regarding accident many years ago at Small Arms Ltd. plant in Mississauga?

Detail from north side of Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

Detail from north side of Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

I’ve received an inquiry, from a site visitor, who has read one of my articles about the Small Arms plant at Dixie and Lakeshore.

“Growing up we lived in the area,” the inquirer notes, “and my mom always said that her cousin worked at and had died as the result of an accident at the plant. I have never been able to verify this. I believe it may have been an explosion and I was wondering if you have any information regarding this.”

Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

If anyone, among visitors to the Preserved Stories website, has information that would enable us to verify the story about an accident at the Small Arms Ltd. Plant many years ago, please contact me at jpill@preservedstories.com or through this website (via a Comment or the Contact Us page).

I do know from one of my interviews (which I have not yet posted to this site), with a former worker at the Small Arms Ltd. plant, that injuries were not uncommon. The person I interviewed, who as I recall from the interview was quite young at the time, found a way to operate a particular machine, in a way that he would not be injured.

Small Arms Inspection Building. Jaan Pill photo

Small Arms Inspection Building. The site now evokes a sense of visual and order and attractiveness, whereas over a previous span of many years it had evinced a sense of dereliction. Jaan Pill photo

At the time he was assigned to work on the equipment, he had learned that workers, who had been using the particular piece of equipment, had been injured. Because he was alerted about this, he made it a point to find a way to keep himself free of injury.

From several recorded interviews over the years, I’ve also learned that a number of fatalities occurred in the postwar years – for example, when children came across hand grenades – at or near the site of the Small Arms Ltd. plant. The hand grenades would possibly  (I am at this point only guessing, as I do not at this stage have definitive information) have had a connection to the Long Branch Rifle Ranges.

Such unfortunate incidents remind us that weapons of warfare are indeed designed, with a clearly evident purpose in mind.

Former workers at Second World War Small Arms Ltd. munitions plant are acknowledged at Official Opening of Small Arms Inspection Building, June 23, 2018. Jaan Pill photo

Former workers at Second World War Small Arms Limited munitions plant are acknowledged at Official Opening of Small Arms Inspection Building, June 23, 2018. Jaan Pill photo

Preservation, restoration, and repurposing of Small Arms Inspection Building

I’m very much impressed that residents of Mississauga have made such a successful project – starting with timely, well-coordinated steps to keep it from being demolished – out of the Small Arms Inspection Building. This is a most inspiring example of how things can work really out – and vastly enrich the community – when people with a wide range of skills work together, as I’ve noted at a previous post:

Enthusiasm for local history is not enough, by itself, to preserve and repurpose heritage buildings

In Situ event at Small Arms Inspection Building takes place on Nov. 8, 9, & 10, 2018

Also of relevance are recent posts including:

In Situ event at Small Arms Inspection Building takes place on Nov. 8, 9, & 10, 2018. Buy your tickets now!

I’m really pleased to see there is extensive news coverage happening, of the Ward 1 election in Mississauga

Update: A key contact at Heritage Mississauga has shared the following comment:

Often during the war period there was little in the way of public or news notification of accidents or fatalities at wartime industries, partly because of the security involved with production, but also a specific attempt to manage morale amongst the public and wartime workers. Certainly there were accidents and injuries in wartime industries, but we have little in the way of reference to any specific accidents.

 

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