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Friday, 27 May 2011

War Diary Entry: 25th May 1916

COs conference here at 11.30am. Welch and Ellis stopped to lunch. After lunch we all three motored over to the Army Trench Mortar school at Valereux as they were having a big demonstration with the Stokes mortar at 3pm. About 2.25pm when we were ¾ of a mile away we saw 2 very big explosions at about 2 second interval followed by a lot of stokes bombs going off in the air. We thought they were merely ranging with the heavy Stokes mortars for the show. On arrival we learned there had been an accident and the show was off. One Stokes bomb in a big pile had gone off by accident putting the whole lot up. One man was killed and there were between 10 & 15 officers and men lying about being bandaged up, and several others torn and scratched. Pitt-Taylor and another fellow on the Army staff were a good deal torn and bleeding but walking about quite cheerfully. Arnan (OC TM School) had a bit in his cheek. The show was cancelled and everyone returned home. It was lucky it did not happen an hour later when there would have been the best part of 1000 officers and men standing round including all the staffs in this area.
Headlam, Burnett-Steward, McMullen, Clarke Blandy and Lewis from our 4th Bn; and several others were there. Hardness Lloyd, Morgan, Ellis & Heider dined.

1 comment:

  1. I was interested to read this account as my grand uncle was killed in a similar "accident" in November 1916, where a mortar he was firing exploded killing him and 2 other NZ soldiers.