Emergency Services => Fire Services => Topic started by: merc on July 02, 2010, 13:31:12

Title: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: merc on July 02, 2010, 13:31:12
July 11, 1929

A demonstration had been arranged by the Gillingham Fire Brigade as part of the final event of the annual fete held in Gillingham Park. Money raised from the fete went to local charities, this year money was to go to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Rochester.

A dummy house had been erected in the park for the purpose of a life saving display by the Fire Brigade. Boys aged between 10 to 14 years, who were a mix of Naval Cadets, Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts were also involved. Unfortunatly, tragedy struck and the dummy house caught fire too soon. It quickly turned into an inferno, and the men and boys became trapped inside. Nine of the Boys, and six men died in the tragedy. Onlookers at the fete were at first unaware something had gone wrong, but soon they realised the display had gone terribly wrong, and they could only watch and listen to the cries of the poor souls trapped in the fire. Some of the women watching fainted and much of the crowd were in tears.

Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: Leofwine on July 02, 2010, 14:14:25
That's horrific!  I'd never heard of the incident before.
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: kyn on July 02, 2010, 15:15:43
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/LeonGreigeyewitnessaccount.jpg)
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: sturoberts1975 on July 02, 2010, 16:18:54
http://www.historicmedway.co.uk/disasters/firemans_wedding.htm (http://www.historicmedway.co.uk/disasters/firemans_wedding.htm) has some more information on this tragedy, I have seen cinefilm footage of the funeral procession somewhere on the net, if I can find it I will post the link
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: sturoberts1975 on July 07, 2010, 07:53:15
cannot find the video (may well be mistaken on origin of said video) but found this and KHF gets a mention!

http://www.alanwcollins.co.uk/2010/03/03/gillingham-park-fete-the-real-tragedy.html (http://www.alanwcollins.co.uk/2010/03/03/gillingham-park-fete-the-real-tragedy.html)
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: busyglen on July 08, 2010, 16:23:09
How terrible!  I have never heard of this so thanks for starting the thread.
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: grandarog on July 10, 2010, 08:09:08
Tommorrow Sunday is the actual Anniversary Date.Wonder if there will be a special service or remembrance event to mark the tragedy.

(http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/uu92/grandarog/Churchs%20and%20Graves/FirePlaque.jpg)
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: kyn on July 12, 2010, 19:14:14
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/July131929TheArgusMelbourneAustrail.jpg)
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: oldsunset on September 06, 2010, 21:24:15
I helped set up some exhibits at the old maidstone fire museum in the 80's, a lady sent this photo in for scanning, it shows her dad as a boy raising funds for the gillingham park fire.
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4126/4964534477_29f234e451.jpg)
love his cardboard helmet with GFB on it...so sweet
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: afsrochester on September 13, 2010, 14:33:33
 I can identify the young lad in the photograph.

It is the late Stuart Hadlum, seen here raising funds following the disaster, whose Uncle's were members of the Gillingham Fire Brigade.  He died about four years ago. I worked with him back in my Housing days at Medway Borough Council until he retired in early 1983. A really smashing bloke.
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: busyglen on January 10, 2011, 18:37:00
I don't know if anyone has seen this?  Thought it might be of interest.


www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/news/2011/january/10/fire_memorial_for_park.aspx

Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: busyglen on June 04, 2011, 15:35:15
Some further information for any interested parties.

The official opening of the new Gillingham Park Tragedy Memorial.

The unveiling ceremony will take place on Sunday July 10th at 11.30am, at the Park Avenue entrance of the Gillingham Park.  The Mayor of Medway will give an address and officially unveil the new memorial.  Exhibitions include local historian Philip MacDougall who will be presenting `Gillingham at work, rest and play in 1929.'  The Fire Service Preservation Group, The Kent Family History Society Medway, The Kent Fire & Rescue Service will all be in the opening parade, and a fire engine will also be on display at the park.
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: merc on June 04, 2011, 19:44:16
(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/GillinghamParkTragedyJune4.jpg)

The picture on the left is a burning dummy house demonstration in Battersea Park. The people inside the house were successfully rescued by the Fire Brigade. The structure in the picture on the right, is the remains of the tragic Gillingham Park dummy house, where the fire caught too soon, and trapped the people inside.
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: Chatham_Girl85 on June 04, 2011, 20:46:17
Wow that picture from Battersea Park just shows how frightening it must have been to be trapped inside...I've never seen that photo before, did they (in Battersea Park) have a similar fund raising scheme to that of the the Gillingham fire brigade???
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: MOK on June 05, 2011, 08:09:14
It beggars belief. Who in their right minds would put children inside a burning structure, then rescue them as a stunt. What could possibly go wrong ?
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: Mary E on June 25, 2011, 10:08:46
My Dad was a Naval Cadet at the time and was on the way to take part in the fire fighting demo.  It was a hot day and his Mum stopped to buy them an ice cream and that made him too late to join in.  Dad still talks about what fate dealt him that day.  And he went on to do his '22' in the Navy.

Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: merc on July 11, 2011, 13:58:27
Some pictures of the memorial which was unveiled in the park yesterday.

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/GPFTM1.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/GPFTM2-1.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/GPFTM4.jpg)
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: seafordpete on July 11, 2011, 14:55:15
Has the other side got an explanation on?
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: merc on July 11, 2011, 20:04:11
It has seafordpete. Sorry i've left it off because i had some trouble with the picture.
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: seafordpete on July 12, 2011, 09:12:19
I take it the Canadian woman Lauren O..... interviewed on TV  is the same Laureno that was making enquiries on here last year?
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: merc on July 12, 2011, 11:34:42
Yes it is the same lady seafordpete. 'Lori Oschefski' did a lot of the research and led the campaign to have the memorial placed in the park.  
Title: Re: Gillingham Park Fire Tragedy - 1929
Post by: smiffy on May 03, 2017, 16:21:12
I recently came across this postcard which may be related to this tragedy. I've identified the location as Canterbury Street, near the Beacon Court Tavern. The Salvation Army seem to be leading, and in the distance can be seen what appear to be officers of the Fire Brigade. The fashions look of the period, 1929-30. None of the men, apart from those in uniform, are wearing their hats - which leads me to believe that this is a funeral rather than some other occasion.