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Author Topic: Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe  (Read 1048 times)

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Offline kyn

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Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 19:31:29 »
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Tuesday 1st March 1932

Barracks Fire

Battle Standards Saved
Thanks to the heroic efforts of officers and men, the King’s and regimental colours of the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters, the Army Football cup won last season, and much valuable and historical silver plate were saved when fire broke out recently at Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe camp, near here.  The damage, however, is estimated at nearly £7000 (states the London “Daily Telegraph”).

At great risk to themselves the plucky salvage workers dashed into the blazing building to save what they could.  But in spite of their efforts all silver plate used at the present time in the officers’ dining-hall was lost, together with a silver-gilt snuffbox presented to the regiment in 1827.

The officers’ mess dining-hall, billiard-hall, and silver rooms of the battalion were completely destroyed, only the chimney stacks and twisted corrugated iron walls being left standing.

While the fire was at its height a draft of the battalion left for India, the regimental band playing them out of barracks as though nothing untoward was happening.

Leap from Window.

Shortly before five a.m. the alarm was given by Private Quilt, a silver orderly, who was sleeping in the silver room.  He was awakened to find the room full of smoke, and flames already attacking the walls.  After being driven back from the door by the heat, he jumped from a window.

Fire pickets of all the regiments were rushed to the scene while calls were made to Folkestone and Cheriton fire brigades.  Fanned by a strong south-westerly breeze the fire quickly obtained a firm hold on the building.

Salvage work was carried out under hazardous conditions.  From time to time walls of the buildings fell in, sending up showers of sparks and great tongues of flame, and the corrugated tin sheeting became white hot and threw out a terrific heat.

Firemen concentrated on preventing the outbreak from spreading to adjoining buildings, including the officers’ sleeping quarters, the commanding officer’s house, and warrant officers’ quarters.  The flames, which shot up to a great height, could be seen half way across the Channel, and the parade ground was lit up as thought it was day.

When the blaze was mastered, after a four hours’ fight, the firemen found a chest containing silver plate still intact amongst the burning debris.  A guard or men was placed over this.

The snuff-box which was destroyed had a figure of the Duke of Wellington on his charger surmounted on the top, and the wood used was taken from a tree under which Major-General Sir Thomas Picton, who was killed at the battle of Waterloo, was buried.  The regiment was closely associated with General Picton during the Peninsular War.

 

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