Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

William Peter "Pete" Britton

Male 1907 - 1939  (32 years)

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  • Name William Peter "Pete" Britton 
    Born 1907  , Renfrew, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Interesting life story, accident 
    Misfortune 1939 
    Accident: killed in gas accident 
    Name Pete Britton 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-200609 
    Died 11 Jul 1939  Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I200609  Generations
    Last Modified 20 Aug 2020 

     1. Joan Britton
    Last Modified 21 Aug 2020 
    Family ID F56177  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • 3 Galt Workmen Drowned in Tank; Overcome by Gas

      Topple Into Two Feet of Water; Foreman Dies in Attempted Rescue

      Galt - After consulting Crown Attorney Clement of Kitchener, Coroner James McQueen called an inquest for Monday night into the triple fatality at the septic tank of the city sewage disposal plant on Water Street South Tuesday morning in which three regular Board of Works employees lost their lives. The Coroner's belief the men were drowned when they were overcome by sewer gas, was confirmed by a postmortem performed. The victims were Harry E. Westwood, 58, widowers, father of five, City Sewer Inspector and city employee for 28 years; Albert Hatfield, 49, married, city employee for 11 years, and William E. (Pete) Britton, 31, father of two small daughters, employed by the city since the spring.

      Victims of Methane Gas

      A theory was advanced that the men were victims of methane gas, the presence of which cannot be detected, and that they toppled into the water which was only about a foot deep. The tragedy was not discovered until shortly before noon when Works Superintendent William McLellan motored to the plant to bring the men back to the city. He found the door open, but saw no trace of them. He went in to make inquiries at an adjoining garage, and with H. Kithen, a mechanic, went back to the building and made the discovery. Firemen were called, and one without a gas mask went down into the hole and attached ropes for lifting the bodies. Hatfield and Britton were wearing rubber boots, while Westwood, the foreman, had on leather shoes, which led to the belief that he probably gave his life in an attempted rescue, when the other two were overcome. Kitchen said he heard the men in the tank shouting about 45 minutes before the bodies were found. "We didn't think anything of it," he said. "They often called to each other for pieces of equipment or to have someone turn on a valve." The tank in which the men lost their lives is 12 feet long, 6 feet wide, with board covering and 16 feet deep.

      The Waterloo Chronicle Jul 14 1939 pg 1

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1907 - , Renfrew, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 11 Jul 1939 - Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth