Thursday, 24 November 2016

Tragic Bomb Explosion

Friday 24th November: Details of an inquest into the tragic deaths of Rifleman G. F. Harrison and Rifleman W. A. Good are published. Both men died during a demonstration on bombs to a class of 15 men. Harrison was the tutor and had lectured before on the subject. For the demonstration he had 5 or 6 bombs on the table and 2 rifle grenades. After speaking about the Mills bomb, Harrison put questions to the class and then picked up a rifle grenade and took it to pieces, explaining its different parts. He then put it together again. On stripping it again, he gave a practical demonstration of the grenade’s direction of travel. Witnesses were unsure what happened next and what exactly caused the grenade to detonate, but testified that Harrison believed the bombs were not charged. Most men managed to flee when the grenade went off. However, Good died instantly and Harrison ten minutes after a doctor arrived on the scene.

The Coroner ruled that this was a tragic accident and that the injured soldiers still recovering were not going to be able to add much to existing testimony. It was recommended that future lectures be given with dummy bombs. At the inquest, Major Lupton expressed on behalf of Colonel Hepworth and the officers of the Battalion their deepest regret at the unfortunate accident and extended their sympathy to the bereaved relatives. 

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 24/11/1916

Mills bombs used during WW1 (Wikipedia, taken by Jean-Louis Dubois)

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