In May 1941 the Luftwaffe were targeting the waterfront in Hull and the High Street area was hit in numerous places. Fire Pump driver John Coletta volunteered to help and was given a hose in front of the Wilberforce Museum which he played on an adjoining warehouse which was ablaze and in danger of collapsing. The Museum was only six feet away from the blaze and Coletta stayed in the narrow alley even though the heat was terrific.
Air Raid Warden Lockwood later stated that he had no doubt that Wilberforce House was saved as a result of the exertions of fireman Coletta who carried on with complete disregard for his own safety.
John Coletta was awarded the George Medal for his actions and he subsequently donated his medal to the Museum where it remains to this day.