Sunday 2 April 1916 – We Lost 247
At 12:10 it is noted that sparks from a boiler house have set fire to some empty sacks in a wooden shed used as a TNT store at the Explosive Loading Company Ltd works on Upper Marshes at Uplees near Faversham. The store contains some 200 tons and the factory site some 500 tons. The staff forms a bucket chain and the works fire brigade begins to fight the fire. At 13:20 the building blows up and there is a chain reaction within the nitro-glyerine washing plant 150 yards away. All the buildings in the immediate vicinity are destroyed and a crater is left 40 yards across and 20 feet deep. The explosion is so large that windows across the Thames estuary, in Southend, are shattered and the tremor is felt in Norwich. The death toll is 172 including 109 men and boys (including the entire fire brigade) of the works. Fires spread rapidly and dead and injured staff lay all around some with their clothing on fire.
Among those killed:
- Albert Leslie Fedarb age 18. His older brother was killed in action in August 1915 while a younger brother will be killed serving on the minesweeper Topaze in April 1941.
- Jack Hoare is killed less than a year after his brother was killed on the Western Front.
S S Simla is sunk by a torpedo fired by U-39 45 miles northwest from Gozo Island in the Mediterranean. Ten firemen are killed in the sinking.
Mr. Asquith is received by the Pope.
Today’s losses include:
- A Brighton Police Officer
- A Patrol Leader in the Baden-Powell Scouts
- The son of a member of the clergy
- A man whose brother was killed in the Great War
- A man whose brother will be killed in the Second World War
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Second Lieutenant Herman Theodore Wells (Mechanical Transport Army Service Corps) dies on service on the Western Front at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Edward Wells of Dean Rectory Salisbury.
- Bombardier William Greenfield (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 26. He is a Brighton Police Officer.
- Rifleman Joseph Lindsay (Irish Rifles) is killed. His son will be killed serving in the Irish Fusiliers in November 1943 in Italy.
- Rifleman Fred Taylor (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 19. He is a Patrol Leader in the 1st Whittington Baden-Powell Scouts.