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Author Topic: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916  (Read 39548 times)

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Offline Bensted

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #52 on: August 20, 2018, 09:28:16 »
This could be tetryl, which was used in the manufacture of detonators.

In my ROF days (1960s) there were similar tales of Tetryl associated with ROF Pembrey.

Thanks for the reminder.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2018, 21:20:09 »
(......) The only clue I have is that some of "the girls" who worked there got covered in a yellow substance while working, (.....)


The Canary Girls and the WWI Poisons that turned them Yellow.
http://www.messynessychic.com/2016/02/17/the-canary-girls-and-the-wwi-poisons-that-turned-them-yellow/

Offline smiffy

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2018, 13:51:22 »
This could be tetryl, which was used in the manufacture of detonators.

Offline Bensted

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2018, 09:34:25 »
My late mother worked in one of the Faversham explosives factories but I don`t know which one. The only clue I have is that some of "the girls" who worked there got covered in a yellow substance while working and she said that they were handling nitro-glycerine.

Does this give any ideas as to where she might have worked?

Offline Trikeman

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2018, 17:27:33 »
Thanks
Will have a closer look next time I am over that way and get more detailed pics
Trikeman
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast

Offline davpott

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2017, 22:29:12 »
Anyone know where the epicentre of the explosion was - there was a large crater apparently
A few aerial pics of the site attached
Trikeman
[/quote

It is a good half mile to the west of 'Dan's dock' which is visible in your first picture. The dykes are basically unchanged which make it quite easy to locate using kentnavigator's pictures and Google GE.

Offline kentnavigator

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2017, 02:48:05 »
My 2nd attempt at a clearer set of pictures.

Offline kentnavigator

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2017, 01:57:26 »
I have annotated some monochrome aerial photographs to show the location of building 833 where the main explosion took place.

Offline kentnavigator

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #44 on: December 25, 2017, 19:33:08 »
Small point, the Great Explosion 1916 did not happen at a Gunpowder Works. Faversham has a long Gunpowder manufacturing history but the Cotton Powder Company was set up to make Cotton Powder which is a form of Gun Cotton, the first High Explosive; following an earlier Gun Cotton explosion in Faversham the remote marshes at Uplees were chosen as a more suitable site for the works. It's sister company, the Explosives Loading Company was built alongside and it was their building 833 where the main explosion took place.   

Offline Trikeman

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2017, 00:03:01 »
Anyone know where the epicentre of the explosion was - there was a large crater apparently
A few aerial pics of the site attached
Trikeman
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2016, 23:41:12 »
A eye witness account of the explosion from the Western Mail (Perth Aus) 24 November 1938.

The Faversham Horror.

Dear "Non-Com."
(The newspaper section devoted to wartime memories. HC) - After all these years of comparative forgetfulness, an article by "Donnachaidh" brought back the full horror of an episode in which I had to play a pathetic part.

The Faversham explosion was not caused by a Taube. The anti-aircraft battery was close to the house in which I was staying, and they would have told us had it been so, and warned my brother, and, as I was his nurse, he would have told me. It was caused by paper blowing across one of the burning dumps on the outskirts of one of the three large factories, namely, Harts Factory, Explosives Loading Co., and Cotton Powder Co. These covered several miles, and close up to the buildings came the muddy channels from the marshes, a desolate enough place without the added desolation of fire and death, a fire which might easily have lost us the war.

I was acting as my brother's nurse. He was invalided out of his regiment, and was manager of the first-mentioned factory. The house stood close to the gates.

Can you imagine that Sunday, a morning of wind and sunshine, and wives and sweet little children coming to spend the day with the men? Just a spell of forgetfulness of the dangerous work, of the week, work in sheds so sensitive that rubber boots had to be worn. One dared not sneeze for fear of the result.

I was calling the children to lunch when I saw six firemen march past to the gates. They were carrying the hose. I never thought it was anything but fire drill, but they never returned.

I was placing chairs at the table when I felt the house sway. Even then I blamed myself for fatigue, and placed no significance on the fact of those blue-clad men. Then came a sound merely of breaking glass and, on going to the window, I saw the servants from the lodge coming towards our house, with their aprons over their faces, and on the whiteness the worst red in the world -  that of newly-shed blood.

Then it all happened. The sun was blocked out with smoke, the earth rocked, and the sound of screams and crying children. Someone was commanding me to give first aid in a garage. The garage was being filled with chairs, and there were patients where there had been happy visitors. My hand shock so that I could hardly extract the wicked glass splinters from out the faces of those I knew, and loved and the holders of the basins were trembling. Each moment the order came to lie flat, and each crash seemed as if it must be the last. Little did we know that there would be nine hours of it.

Then came the traffic - all kinds of vehicles crowded the narrow road, full of nurses, firemen. doctors, soldiers, ambulance men, even the sailors, and soon there was a return stream going from the gates to Faversham. My mother stayed on in the dangerous home making hot coffee for the ambulance men, and those able to take it. She refused help from me, forbidding me to enter. I went to the children. Why, of course, there were children! Little helpless ones waiting for their mammies, who, in their turn, clung to those awful white gates and waited for their men. Someone said, "Take them away." Where to? Three miles to Faversham. How could we ride when all the cars were full of dead or dying men. I took the little hands, so soft and tender, leading them away from the lawn, and the wilderness of flowers, down the sides of the road black with terrible traffic and almost knee deep in dust.

These pink blossoms with the blue eyes. We moved so slowly, and their noses were bleeding, and they couldn't understand. One small boy showed signs of destroyed tympanium. I couldn't cover his ears to stop the pain. He might never hear the rest of that awful day; he might never hear again the birds sing. How could mankind inflict such harshness on these gentle little things?

Each crash was mercifully heralded by a great cloud of smoke, and I was able to warn the children to lie flat. The journey was very slow, owing to the congested traffic moving away the screaming and groaning victims, meeting those returning to the scene.

Can you explain the mad desire to obstruct the road in order to watch a scene of such agony? There were sight-seers along the route, and on the hills. Their cars should have been commandeered to carry those burnt men, instead of placing them on the backs of hard open trucks without covers, cushions, or mattresses, while others sit and watch, making the roads cul de sacs in some parts by their utter selfishness. Hostesses were at Faversham to meet me, and my poor little flock was taken to safety and comfort to wait for "Mummy and Daddy."

I took my small son to the town hall, and kind people looked after him, but there was no rest for me. The mayor sent me to get into uniform, and to go to the temporary hospital. My knees were shaking, and I wanted to cry more than anything. I was told off to make thirty cups of Bovril at once. A terrific crash and roar from over those hateful five miles had followed me, and soot came down the chimney filling the thirty cups. I will not describe the nursing, or what one sees in a hospital after such a disaster. There are so many of you who know, and those who do not-may they never.

But the cause of that disaster was not a Taube dropping a promiscuous bomb - THAT came the night after, when all the disaster was dormant. It was the paper that blew over the burning dump.

But-and here is a but, full of the ghastly possibilities of the havoc caused by a diseased conscience and a warped mine - what were three lads doing under a seat on a lorry carrying men to the factory at five in the morning, their pockets full of matches and candles? What was done with the lads and where did they go?

What would Mr. Schroeder do with these "tiresome adventurers?" What would you have done?

BUSHFIRE, Canning Bridge.





Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2016, 22:11:43 »
Link to Lynsted Society article on the Faversham explosion of 1916.
Includes: censored newspaper reports of the time, details of six of the men killed, reports of prosecutions for carelessness at other times, newspaper reports of explosion at the works of Messers Hall and Co, December 1868. One of the four men who died from injuries in the 1868 explosion was Daniel Anderson. His grandson Henry Anderson was killed in the 1916 explosion. Official report to the War Office.
http://www.lynsted-society.co.uk/Projects/WW1/faversham_explosion/index.html

And a reminder that the powder mills were dangerous even without explosions. Alice Post: a young mother who died of TNT poisoning at Faversham Power Mills 16 January 1916.
The sad details @ http://www.lynsted-society.co.uk/Projects/WW1/post_a/index.html

Offline conan

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2016, 23:42:39 »
Some very good news regarding the memorial

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-35945274
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2015, 20:51:34 »
~snip~ Was there perhaps a government cover up to keep morale up by hushing up the fact that women had been killed??

Easily disproved.
From the link I provided 13-2-15, page 428.

"Miraculously, (12) no women had been killed or injured".

12. "Though no women were employed in the factory where the explosion occurred, many worked at the adjacent Cotton Powder Company plant, and in fact of an aggregate workforce of about 1,500 about half were women - see Syd Twist, Faversham 1900-1910, Faversham Society, 1977, (cited hereafter as Twist), 19. However, women did not work Sunday shifts (The explosion was on a Sunday, HC) at the CPC (Eileen English, Faversham 1900-1930, Faversham Society, 1981, 13-14)."

From 'The Great Explosion at Faversham, 2 April, 1916', Arthur Percival, M.B.E., B.A., F.S.A.
Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 100 1984.

Offline grandarog

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works - the Great Explosion of 1916
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2015, 11:03:00 »
I have cribbed this photo from a long thread on Facebook. It portrays a group of woman workers from the Gunpowder works . Some people are claiming that their ancestors are pictured and were killed in the great explosion of 1916.Others claim that a lot of the women in the photo were killed in the explosion.This is causing some debate as the official figures etc show only Men and Boys killed.
Does anyone have any ideas .Was there perhaps a government cover up to keep morale up by hushing up the fact that women had been killed??

 

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