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Author Topic: Chatham Lines  (Read 2198 times)

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Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2017, 15:36:15 »
Sounds like the poor chap died from what today would be called Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Whenever you get combustion in a confined space or a space with minimal ventilation, carbon monoxide is produced. This colourless, odourless gas is a deadly killer. Unlike Carbon Dioxide, which is not toxic (it displaces the oxygen from the air, leading to suffocation), Carbon Monoxide is also very toxic, with concentration in air as low as 600(ish) parts per million likely to cause death.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning leads to headaches, nausea, disturbed vision, disorientation, fainting, vomiting, confusion, dizziness and fatigue.

Anybody working in a confined space today is required to wear a gas monitor which will sound an alarm if it detects carbon monoxide amongst other things. The Mark One gas monitor back in those days was the old-fashioned canary in a cage. Having stated that, by the time the canary fell dead off it's perch, it was probably too late.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 14:42:18 »
A more detailed account of the event and inquest.

Naval & Military Gazette and Weekly Chronicle of the United Service - Saturday 02 November 1844
Rl. Engineers—On the 25th, the besiegers in the mining operations carrying on at Chatham, under the order of Lieut.-Col. Sir Frederick Smith, K.H., fired their first charge, consisting of 300 lbs. of gunpowder. The chamber was about 17 feet under ground, and about 60 feet in advance of the third parallel. The mine was fired by Ensign Fyfe, of the East India Company’s Engineers. The effect of the explosion was most magnificent, producing a vibration of the earth which was felt a a very considerable distance. The body of earth which was lifted up by it was about 50 feet in diameter, and driven to the height of between 20 and 30 feet; on the earth falling down an entonnoir was left, affording cover for a party of Sappers and Miners, who advanced with shovels, and immediately occupied the ground, and crowned it with gabions. By the explosion the besiegers advanced their trenches towards the glacis at least 50 feet.
Chatham, Wednesday, October 30th.—Previous to this day several explosions have taken place without any important result or accident, and it was generally understood that others would take place to-day. In the early part of the afternoon great sensation was created in Brompton, Chatham, and the neighbourhood, by a rumour that a serious and fatal accident had taken place in the mines, and on proceeding to the spot it was found that the report was but too true. From information obtained on the spot, it appears that in the course of the morning a charge of 250 lbs. of gunpowder was fired in the right branch of Lieutenant Penrice’s countermines, and about half-past 1 o’clock a smaller charge of about 5 lbs., besides some loose powder, was exploded. After air had been pumped into the mines for some time, three men, namely, James Sullivan, a private in the East India Company’s Sappers, and Harris and Bailey, two privates in the Queen’s service, entered the branch where the explosion had taken place, for the purpose digging out the loose earth. In a few minutes Bailey came out of the mine, saying that the foul air so affected his head, that could not stand it any longer. Sullivan and Harris not making their appearance, some alarm was excited, and Corporal Dent and private Murphy entered the mine in search of them, when they found them them lying at the further end of the branch in a senseless state. Corporal Dent, although seriously affected by the vapour, succeeded in getting Harris out, but Murphy was unable to assist Sullivan, and fell senseless in the passage, completely choking it. Some delay occurred in extracting Murphy, and when that was effected, Lieutenant Moggeridge, who was in charge of the party, led his men in to rescue poor Sullivan, who was lying on his face at the extreme end of the branch.
He was immediately got out, and Mr. Weeks, a Surgeon of Brompton, being sent for, was promptly on the spot, and applied remedies, but in Sullivan’s case without effect, as, owing to the delay in getting him out, he was quite dead. Murphy and Harris were conveyed on stretchers to the hospital in Brompton barracks, where they are doing well. Several of the party who entered the mine the last time were more or less affected, and the Lieutenant himself was partially delirious for some minutes after he came out. Immediately after the accident all further operations in the work ceased.
Chatham, Nov. 1.—This afternoon, J. Hindes, Esq., one of the Coroners for Kent, and a respectable jury, held a lengthened inquiry at the King of Prussia, Brompton, touching the death of James Sullivan, one of the privates in the East India Company’s Sappers and Miners, who perished in the late unfortunate accident in the experimental mines. Several Officers were present. Capts. Williams and Whitmore, Lieuts. White and Moggeridge, and Corporal Basten, of the Rl. Engineers, were examined, and from their evidence it appeared that when Lieut. Moggeridge, and some of his party, entered the mine, after the last explosion on Wednesday, they found that part of the gallery had broken in, and part of the supporting frames were displaced. These were replaced, and on the party proceeding in their operations, a sudden puff of the disengaged vapour extinguished their light, and several, among whom was poor Sullivan, became senseless. Assistance was procured, and they were extricated as soon as possible, and all means tried for their recovery, but Sullivan, who was the last got out, was dead. After a long and careful investigation, the jury came to the conclusion that the deceased was suffocated by the foul air, but that every precaution had been taken to prevent accidents, and that no blame attached to any one.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2017, 14:40:34 »
Probably on the 'Practice ground' which is the stretch of the Lines by Mill Road/Prince Arthur Road. Now the site of the Mid Kent College across to the Athletics track and (Black Lion) Sports Centre.
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Offline smiffy

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2017, 12:54:28 »
Any idea of the whereabouts of these "experimental mines" and what they were for?

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 01:25:13 »
Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette - Saturday 09 November 1844

THE LATE FATAL ACCIDENT ON CHATHAM LINES.— On Thursday night, J. Hindes, Esq., one of the coroners for the county of Kent, and a jury, held a lengthened inquiry, lasting about three hours, at the King of Prussia, Brompton, touching the death of James Sullivan, the private in the East India Company’s Sappers and Miners, who perished in the late unfortunate accident in the experimental mines. Several military gentlemen were present, and appeared to take great interest in the proceedings. Captains Williams and Whitmore, Lieutenants White and Moggeridge, and Corporal Basten, of the Royal Engineers, were examined at great length, and from their evidence it appeared that when Lieutenant Moggeridge and some of his party entered the mine after the last explosion on Wednesday. they found that part of the gallery had accidentally broken in, and some of the supporting frame-work displaced. These were replaced, and the party proceeding in their operatives, a sudden puff of the disengaged vapor extinguished their light, and several of them, among whom was Sullivan, became senseless. Assistance was procured and they were extricated soon as possible, and all means for their recovery, but Sullivan, who was at last got out, was dead. The Jury came to the conclusion that the deceased was suffocated by the foul air, but that every precaution had been taken to avoid accidents, and that no blame attached to any one.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 03:38:24 »
Morning Chronicle - Thursday 17 November 1803
CHATHAM, Nov. 15 - Yesterday morning General Sir D. Dundas and Colonel Nepean inspected the works carrying on here; after which the General set off from Lord Chatham's in a chaise and four for Canterbury.
It is not as yet known what time the camps here are to break up.
About thirteen hundred of the Guards and Militia are every day employed on the works, which are of considerable extent, beginning at Gillingham Fort on the Medway, considerably to the right of Brunton [Brompton], they are continued till they join the old works at the Magazine on the high ground above the Barracks, where a horn-work is added to strengthen that point. The lines from thence are carrying on down the hill at the Chatham side to the Old Dock, where a fort is to be erected and bridge of pontoons-if occasion should require it, to be thrown from that point to the opposite shore. The lines embrace from Gillingham Fort to the  Old Dock, the town of Brompton, the Dock-yards, the Barracks and the Church. On the opposite shore redoubts are to be thrown up at Frinsbury Village and the Quarry, it being certain that, should the enemy land on that side of the Medway, they could effectually destroy the Dock-yards, Arsenal, &c.
When the lines at Chatham are completed, which it is supposed they may be in a few months, it will take a large army to man them; and it is matter of doubt with many who pretend to understand these matters, whether they can ever be of any use. Should the enemy sail up the Medway, it must be in the event of defeating our fleet and forcing the guardships at the Nore, in which case the works at Gillingham Fort would be a feeble defence indeed to the Docks. Should the enemy be unfortunately so far triumphant, of what use the Fort at the Old Dock could be, is not easily conceived, unless an enemy's fleet were to sail down to Chatham from Maidstone. About twenty years ago, lines nearly on the plan of those now constructing were thrown up for the protection of the Dock-yards, &c. but, notwithstanding the vast sums they cost the country, they were evidently thought to be of no use, otherwise they would not have been suffered to run totally to decay. Those, however, who advised the present plan of defence argue - that, 'tis true, lines of such extent must have weak points;. that, notwithstanding, they may hold out against an assault for two days, and that this  would be a great point gained in case our troops were  beat from the Coast, as  we have no other rallying point in this quarter; and that in two days supplies might arrive to check the enemy. A General Officer, however, of great talent, gave (it is said) his opinion - that the best plan would  even now be to level them all to the ground.   
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Lines
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 00:53:49 »
Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday, 06 October, 1778.
The fortifications at Brompton, near Chatham, are now putting into repair, and will, when finished, be the most compleat and strong defence we have. The works are carrying on under the direction of Major Debbege of the Corps of Engineers.
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Offline kyn

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Chatham Lines
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 23:21:06 »
The Morning Chronicle – Thursday, 17th November, 1803

Chatham, Nov 15. – Yesterday morning General Sir D. Dundas and Colonel Nepean inspected the works carrying on here; after which the General set off from Lord Chatham’s in a chaise and four for Canterbury.

It is not as yet known what time the camps here are to break up.

About thirteen hundred of the Guards and Militia are every day employed on the works, which are of considerable extent, beginning at Gillingham Fort on the Medway, considerably to the right of Brunton, they are continued till they join the old works at the Magazine on the high ground above the Barracks, where a horn-work is added to strengthen that point.  The lines from thence are carrying on down the hill at the Chatham side to the Old Dock, where a fort is to be erected and bridge of pontoons - if occasion should require it, to be thrown from that point to the opposite shore.  The lines embrace from Gillingham Fort to the Old Dock, the town of Brompton, the Dock-yards, the Barracks and the Church.  On the opposite shore redoubts are to be thrown up at Frindsbury Village and the Quarry, it being certain that, should they enemy land on that side of the Medway, they could effectually destroy the Dock-yards, Arsenal, & c.

When the lines at Chatham are completed, which it is supposed they may be in a few months, it will take a large army to man them; and it is matter of doubt with many who pretend to understand these matters, whether they can ever be of any use.  Should the enemy sail up the Medway, it must be in the event of defeating our fleet and forcing the guard-ships at the Nore, in which case the works at Gillingham Fort would be a feeble defence indeed to the Docks.  Should the enemy be unfortunately so far triumphant, of what use the Fort at the Old Dock could be, is not easily conceived, unless the enemy’s fleet were to sail down to Chatham from Maidstone.  About twenty years ago, lines nearly on the plan of those now constructing were thrown up for the protection of the Dock-yards, & C. but, notwithstanding the vast sums they cost the country, they were evidently thought to be of no use, otherwise they would not have been suffered to run totally to decay.  Those, however, who advised the present plan of defence argue – that, ‘tis true, lines of such extent must have weak points; that, notwithstanding, they may hold out against an assault for two days, and that this would be a great point gained in case out troops were beat from the Coast, as we have no other rallying point in this quarters; and that in two days supplies might arrive to check the enemy.  A General Officer, however, of great talent, gave (it is said) his opinion – that the best plan would even now be to level them all to the ground.

 

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