The Soham rail disaster occurred on 2 June 1944, during the Second World War, when a fire developed on the leading wagon of a heavy ammunition train. The wagon contained a quantity of high explosive bombs. The train crew had detached the wagon from the rest of the train and were drawing it away when the cargo exploded. The fireman of the train and the signalman at Soham signalbox were killed and several other people injured. The driver, Benjamin Gimbert, and fireman, James Nightall, were both awarded the George Cross for preventing further damage which would have occurred if the rest of the train had exploded.
At 12.15 a.m. on 2 June 1944 a heavy freight train left Whitemoor marshalling yard, near (in the Isle of Ely, now in Cambridgeshire). The train comprised WD Austerity 2-8-0 engine No. 7337, 51 wagons and brake van heading for Ipswich. The cargo on the train consisted of 44 wagons containing a total weight of 400 tons of bombs and a further 7 wagons cont