THE Treasury is going to consider naming its new Darlington office block after the Canadian airman who sacrificed his own life to avoid crashing on the town during the Second World War.

Construction of the new block beside the inner ring road is expected to start in October and, when it is complete by 2026, it could be known as “William McMullen House”.

The town’s MP, Peter Gibson has been told that his suggestion to honour the airman, who was based at RAF Middleton St George, “will be considered alongside other suggestions when finalising the name of the building”.

The Northern Echo: William McMullen.

On the night of January 13, 1945, McMullen (above) stayed with his burning Lancaster bomber rather than jump to safety so he could steer it away from Darlington town centre. Having cleared the last of the Yarm Road houses, it plunged into the fields off what is now McMullen Road. The pilot was the only one who died.

Because it was a training exercise, McMullen’s bravery has never been officially recognised, although Mr Gibson moved the House of Commons when he told his story during an Adjournment Debate in November 2022.

The Northern Echo: Peter Gibson, the Darlington MP, was visibly moved as he told William McMullen's storyPeter Gibson talks about William McMullen in the Commons in November 2022

“The Darlington Economic Campus is an establishment of national importance, and for that new building to carry the name of Darlington’s very own hero would be a lasting, fitting and powerful symbol of recognition of his sacrifice, and I will continue to work towards bringing it about,” said Mr Gibson.

The new office is going to be on the site of the former John Neasham Ford garage on Brunswick Street. It will accommodate 1,400 civil servants from the Treasury and five other Government departments whose roles are moving out from London. The first 600 of the arrivals are currently in Feethams House opposite the Vue cinema.

In a letter to Mr Gibson, Alex Burghart, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, says that the building will be named close to its completion. He says: “The naming of all new Government hubs and buildings must go through a process whereby all options undergo sufficient due diligence. Selection of a preferred option will need to be agreed by the Government Property Agency, occupying departments, local leaders and authorities, including the Post Office.”