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A Blast From the Past 1916
"Faversham explosions kill 105 workers"

April 3rd: In one of the biggest disasters in the history of the British explosives industry, almost 100 people were killed atFaversham yesterday when 200 tons of TNT blew up followed by a number of smaller explosions in a nitroglycerine washing plant some 150 yards away.Within minutes fires were raging throughout the factory complex and the dead and dying lay everywhere, many with their clothes still alight.In conditions of immense danger, rescue workers and firemen rushed to the scene only to be killed and badly

injured themselves as two further TNT stores blew up setting off new fires in the munitions factory where mines were also being made. The final death toll, believed to be 105, includes every member of the works fire brigade. The full horrors of the afternoon , the first explosion occurred at 1.20 pm , are gradually unfolding. Faversham is headquarters of the Explosive Loading Company which is situated at Uplees Marshes and it was in these premises that someone noticed that sparks from a boiler house had set fire to some empty sacks piled against a shed used to store TNT and ammonium nitrate.

The factory fire brigade with their manual engine were helped by staff who formed a bucket chain; in fact a force of more than 200 were involved in efforts to stop the fire spreading but, as it gained hold, the factory manager, Mr George Evetts ordered the attempt to be abandoned and the area cleared. The shed blew up as they were leaving the site making a crater 40 yards across and 20 deep and setting fire to the entire complex.

One witness, Mr George Goldfinch said he was running alongside a dyke towards the blazwhen the explosion occurred. "The next thing I remember", he said, "was finding myself, on the other side of the water with all my clothes blown off. I had broken my arm and I was partially deaf." Mr Sidney Wilson, a volunteer firemen said: "We had a horse-drawn petrol engine but on this occasion we lashed it to the back of a ShepherdNeame lorry and set off for Uplees. As we passed through Oare village a second explosion occurred and my only recollection is of seeing a fan of flame."

January: One man has been killed during a German seaplane raid on Dover.February
January 27th: Royal assent is given to the Military Service Bill. A few cabinet ministers have resigned in protest. Thomas Keeler a 31 year old single man from Hythe has asked for exemption from military service as he is the owner of 14 donkeys who "are very necessary on the sands in summertime".
February: The blackout which has been in force in East Kent towns for mope than a year, has been blamed for causing the death of a Canadian soldier who fell down a basement on Marine Parade, Hythe. The coroner said the early closing of public houses encouraged fast drinking and he felt the army should rescind this rule. Hythe, apparently, has a reputation for being the darkest town in Britain!
23rd: Well off families have been urged by the National Organising Committee for War Savings to shut up part of their homes, close down their greenhouses and have simpler meals in order to release servants for more useful purposes.
March 21st: A special town meeting held in Ramsgate is today demanding adequate protection from German air raids. The meeting follows the devastating seaplane attack on Ramsgate a few days ago.
March 28th: Ramsgate fishing vessel, lrene, has foundered off Dungeness. Henry Morrall is the only survivor
April 1st: Anti?aircraft gunners from Dartford have played a big part in bringing down a Zeppelin LI5 which fell into the Thames Estuary. The gunners are to be presented with a gold medal from the people of the town.
April 25th: Eleven men have been killed in Dublin during a rebellion against British rule. Rebels proclaiming an "Irish Republic" have seized control of the post office and are currently under attack from British Forces
May 8th: British Summer Time ?by which all clocks are advanced by one hour from Greenwich Mean Time ? has been introduced under the daylight saving scheme. The originator of the idea was William Willett of Chislehurst, an MP who campaigned furiously for daylight saving, having thought of the idea during a canter on his horse over a Petts Wood Common in 1907. At the time, in the early morning, he noticed how many shutters were closed and realised that this was a dreadful waste. Willett's Bill, which he called `The Waste of Daylight' was introduced the following year and defeated. Willett, a builder with his father's firm, and wellknown for the elegantly designed homes he built in the Orpington area, Died last year.
September: There have been many more aeroplane raids on Kent and great damage has been caused but, considering the number of bombs dropped, few casualties. A soldier of the' 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment has been killed and a seaman on a drifter badly injured. The first attack was on the night of May 19/20th when five raiders dropped bombs on St Peter's, Broadstairs, near the Whitfield Monument, the Electric Tramway Depot, Rumfields Waterworks, a farm at Bromstone, Sholden (by the Chequers Inn) and Snargate Street, Dover. Here a public house was badly damaged and a soldier killed. The second attack was on August 12th when a Roland Scout plane dropped high explosives on the airfield at Dover. Seven RNAS machines gave chase but the raider escaped. The third attacker was an Albatross plane which dropped three bombs on the Duke ofYork's School. The lack of warning as to its approach led to great dissatisfaction among the flying services but there was thick haze at 10,000 feet. Eight RNAS and two RFC aircraft chased the invader but lost him in the clouds.
October 12th: The price of bread in most Kent shops is now 10d Bakers blame the rise on the soaring cost of flour. Bread is the staple diet of the poor.
October: Whitefriars Press has bought the printing works known as Messrs Bradbury, Agnew and Co in Medway Wharf Road, Tonbridge and extended them considerably. This means they have the capacity to produce the popular satirical magazine Punch and more than two million Penguin books every year. Tonbridge is on the road to being the headquarters of the printing industry in Kent.
October 31st: British casualties for the last three months are around 40 per cent of total war casualties 350,000 men.
November 24th: Sir Hiram Maxime the great inventor, died today bringing a very full life to a close. Towards the end of his life he was asked about the lack of monuments in his memory particularly at Baldwyn, Park. He said that the authorities had demonstrated their appreciation by building the largest, finest and bestequipped lunatic asylum in the world there!
November 28th: Since the Battle of the Somme opened in July, 500,000 Allies and 650,000 Germans have been killed.
December 7th: After three days of plotting and controversy inside the coalition government, The King has appointed David Lloyd George to succeed Herbert Asquith as Prime Minister.
September 29th: Medical scientists have discovered a procedure by which internal organs can be photographed. They are calling the invention the X-Ray.
August 11th: A number of auto mobile companies have amalga mated to form the East Kent Road Car Company. They are Thomas Tilling, the British Automobile Trading Company Ltd, Margate and District Motor Coaches Ltd, Wacher and Co Ltd and Ramsgate Motor Coaches.