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Chilwell munitions factory explosion - why wrong date?


potty5
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Dear forum members, I am currently writing a book on the fallen of my home town of Crewe and also including a month by month timeline of events which happened on the home front. I have written up to October 1917 but can't understand why two reliable publications Times Diary of the War and A Concise Chronicle of Events of the Great War 1914-1918 clearly state that the Chilwell munitions factory explosion occurred on October 5, 1917 when other titles list the explosion as happening in July 1918. Does anybody know why the mistake or was there two explosions??? Thanks.

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Hi potty,

I'm not familiar with the incident in question but two possibilities come to mind:

1. A typo that has occurred at some point & repeated

2. A big explosion and smaller explosion

On the second point, it may have been kept quiet for moral reasons, there are a few such examples from WW2 or because two explosions at the same place is bad headlines or a big explosion & a not so note worthy small one.

Either way I'd say best line of enquire would be the local newspaper archives or ask a local historian (if you’re not the local one already) for a pointer to a reference.

Hope it helps, I'm going to Google now to find out more about the explosion & keep us all posted on the book,

Alex

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Potty,

Been having a look around it seems 1st July 1918 was the big one very hard to find anything on the 1917 explosion. Guessing that anyone killed would be listed with CWGC as a civilian casualty as I would consider it war work, there are no civilian war dead listed at all in a search from 1st - 31st October 1917. However neither does 1st July 1918 list any civilian war dead even though sources say 134 people were killed in the explosion.

So like I said before, see what the local newspaper archives says. beyond that I'm officially stumped :unsure:

Alex

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Potty,

Been having a look around it seems 1st July 1918 was the big one very hard to find anything on the 1917 explosion. Guessing that anyone killed would be listed with CWGC as a civilian casualty as I would consider it war work, there are no civilian war dead listed at all in a search from 1st - 31st October 1917. However neither does 1st July 1918 list any civilian war dead even though sources say 134 people were killed in the explosion.

So like I said before, see what the local newspaper archives says. beyond that I'm officially stumped :unsure:

Alex

Alex, Munition workers, unless Australians, were not eligible to be commemorated by the CWGC.

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The Chilwell explosion of July 1918 was severe, killing around 120 of the workers of B Shift and leaving others badly burned. According to a privately-published book by Lottie Martin (a friend's Grandmother who worked there as a crane-driver from April 1916) there had been a number of small explosions. One she mentions in particular was in the Melt Shop and killed two men, which may be the October 1917 incident. They were working 80 hours a week, btw, 12 per weekday and 18 over the weekend as the two shifts changed over.

That of 1st July occurred at about 6.55pm, roughly an hour after the shifts changed. When they were allowed to return to work, a few days later, she records "There was a great hole in the wall of the filled shell store and, as we travelled up and down in the overhead travelling cranes we could see the rescue squads still at work." She continues "But work soon resumed to normal and, strange to say, we none of us seemed to have any fear that there might be another of these dreadful scenes; the shells must be filled and the convoy sent on their way for things were very serious on all fronts."

Hope this helps,

Keith

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The Chilwell explosion of July 1918 was severe, killing around 120 of the workers of B Shift and leaving others badly burned. According to a privately-published book by Lottie Martin (a friend's Grandmother who worked there as a crane-driver from April 1916) there had been a number of small explosions. One she mentions in particular was in the Melt Shop and killed two men, which may be the October 1917 incident. They were working 80 hours a week, btw, 12 per weekday and 18 over the weekend as the two shifts changed over.

That of 1st July occurred at about 6.55pm, roughly an hour after the shifts changed. When they were allowed to return to work, a few days later, she records "There was a great hole in the wall of the filled shell store and, as we travelled up and down in the overhead travelling cranes we could see the rescue squads still at work." She continues "But work soon resumed to normal and, strange to say, we none of us seemed to have any fear that there might be another of these dreadful scenes; the shells must be filled and the convoy sent on their way for things were very serious on all fronts."

Hope this helps,

Keith

Hi Keith

Have you got the name of the book you mentioned by Lottie Martin? Is it possible to get hold of a copy and if so could you give me some additional information? Thanks Viv

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It's called Never Let Anyone Draw The Blinds and was, as I wrote, privately published. It does have an ISBN, though, which might let you get somewhere: 0 9510405 1 0.

Keith

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It's called Never Let Anyone Draw The Blinds and was, as I wrote, privately published. It does have an ISBN, though, which might let you get somewhere: 0 9510405 1 0.

Keith

Never Let Anyone Draw The Blinds

Available on Amazon here from £1.79

ups link not working new link here

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I can confirm that this is the book in question.

Keith

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