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Author Topic: Colonel J.L.B. Templer  (Read 3203 times)

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Re: Colonel J.L.B. Templer
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 20:47:49 »
By 1885, Templer had achieved the rank of Major. During the British Army's expedition to the Sudan in 1885, Templer took three balloons. He was mentioned in despatches for his actions during the Hasheen engagement.

In 1888 Templer was accused, arrested and charged with providing the Italian Government with British secrets about military ballooning. The case was found to be without foundation and Major Templer was honourably acquitted.

April 10, 1888

The Court-martial of Major Templer, of the 7th Royal Rifles, resumed its sittings yesterday at Chatham, to inquire into the charges of divulging secret information respecting Government war balloons. Mr Danckwertz prosecuted on behalf of the Treasury, and Mr Winch, Q.C., and Mr Firminger(?) were for the defence.-Major Elsdale, stated that he had no means of fixing the date when Mr Archibald visited Lidsing with Major Templer, but he believed it was the 5th November, one of the days it was alleged Major Templer was in Birmingham. Mr Winch, in opening the case for the defence, said a miscarrage of justice there would involve his client's dishonour and discarce. Major Templer had been in the army since 1869, and had served with distinction in the sudan. He ventured to say that with the  exception of the evidence of the Aclands, there was no tangible evidence against the accused. He contended that the charecter of the witmnessses rendered their evidence unreliable. The case depended entirely on whether the allegation was proved, that Major Templer went to Birmingham. He had an overwelming amount of evidence to show that on the days it was alleged Major Templer was at Birmingham he was elsewhere. He should call witnesses to prove an alibi, among them being General Dunne, Captain Darling, and Captain Dawkins(?) -Mr Danckwertz, in reply to Mr Winch, aid if it was proved that Major Templer could not have caught the 1.25 train to Birmingham on the days named, the alibi would be admitted, be proved. Mr Danckwertz said that the alibi would dispose of the charges, but not of the charge of convulging information to persons unknown.-Mr Winch contended that that charge could not be supported unless it was shown that Major Templer went to Birmingham. He proceeded to contend that information could have been got from other sources and was not at all secret. Mr Lye and Mr Orchard would make the valves and tubes for anyone-the skin process was described in the Cottager(?) and Artizan, and where, therefore, where was the profound secret? When the troops were at buckim(?), Count Gioppi, an Italian officer, was attached to the staff, and had every opportunity to obtain information. In fact orders were given to afford him all the information which was necessary, and when the Italian Government gave orders for balloons in this country, what was to prevent Count Gioppi giving the benefits of his knowledge. As to the suggestion that Major Templer had given information to Messrs Nordenfeldt, he said that Mr Nordenfeldt would be called before the court, and he was justly ignorant that he should be accused of having obtained information from Major Templer. Mr Clayton (Governor of Chatham Prison) and three other witnesses were then called, and stated that on October 29th and 5th November, Major Templer was at Chatham and at Lidsing.-General Edwards said Major Templer lunched with him on the 26th November. Mr Danckwertz here said if the court was satisfied an alibi was proved for the 29th October and 26th November, as those were two material dates, he would withdraw the other charges.-The court decided that the prisoner was 'not guilty', and honourably acquited him of all the charges. At the same time, they expresses the opinion that Major Elsdale, his superior officer, had done no more than his duty in reporting the matters that had been bought under his notice, and that he had known no personal feeling against the prisoner. The result was recieved with cheers by a crowd outside the court.

From The York Herald.


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Colonel J.L.B. Templer
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 12:48:38 »

St. Mary's Barracks, Gillingham, as well as being used for storage and billeting various Corps personel, were also used by various specialist R.E. units. One of these was a balloon section, which was set up by Captain Templer (later Colonel) following a series of successful ballooning experiments. In these experiments he proved the usefulness of observing enemy movements from a Balloon. The Balloon section and factory was set up at the Barracks in 1879 and later moved to a new Ballooning School in the nearby village of Lidsing in 1892. Here observers were trained and the techniques were used in the Sudan and South Africa.

(Colonel Templer second right)
One particular problem the Balloon detachment encountered was supplying sufficent gas for the balloons operating with a mobile military force. This was solved by constructing a number of tubes of such a size that they could easily be loaded on the standard army transport wagon.

Colonel J.L.B. Templer.


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