South-East History Boards
July 23, 2017, 22:07:17 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
Welcome to the South-East History Boards, covering Kent, Sussex, Hants, IoW and Surrey
 
   Home   Help Forum Guidelines Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Private William Marchment RMLI, bridge collapse  (Read 768 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
John
Editor
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 17363



« on: October 29, 2016, 19:03:55 PM »

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 08 August 1868

CHATHAM.
A very sad accident occured on Monday at Chatham. Some siege operations were to take place on Tuesday in which all the men in garrison were to take part, and there was a rehearsal of these on Monday. A body of engineers, under the command of Prince Arthur had made a temporary bridge across a trench and a number of troops proceeded to cross by means of it; as they were doing so the bridge gave way and a number of men fell, one over the other, into the trench. Unfortunately they had fixed bayonets, and what might have been otherwise little more than a disagreeable contretempts, was thus converted into serious disaster. One poor fellow was killed by a bayonet wound almost instantly, and a number of others were more or less severely hurt. Our correspondent informs us that the bridge was constructed precisely like one which answered perfectly last year, and it appeared quite safe. Two hundred men had crossed when it gave way. By a telegram received on Tuesday morning we learn that only one man is dead, and that all the injured are doing well. Two officers were among those who fell; they were only slightly hurt.

(Buried at Fort Pitt Military Cemetery)

There are 1 attachment(s) in this post which you cannot view or download
Marchment W.JPG
Logged

I voted to leave the European Union..
John
Editor
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 17363



« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 19:14:26 PM »

Kentish Independent - Saturday 08 August 1868

THE ACCIDENT AT CHATHAM.
The jury which sat on the body of poor Marchant (sic), the Marine, who lost his life in the rehearsal of siege operations at Chatham, has returned a verdict of "Accidental death." No other would appear to have been admissible under the circumstances, although a perusal of the report of the inquest leaves the impression that with more care the fatal occurrence might have been averted.

The facts are very simple. In prospect of the operations which were to take place on Wednesday, a spar bridge had been thrown over the ditch, at part of Chatham lines known as the Redan. It was proved that the bridge was made of the best materials, and constructed in the usual manner. Three companies of Royal Marines passed safely ever it on Monday, when suddenly a rope which passed round one of the blocks that supported the bridge broke, and the bridge gave way, precipitating a number of men into the ditch. Unfortunately, they were marching with fixed bayonets, and as they fell one upon another from a height of seventeen feet, many of them were wounded. Among them Private Marchant received a severe wound in the chest, of which he soon died.

It does not seem possible to trace the break-down to anything peculiar in the construction of the bridge, over which a field piece had been previously dragged without accident. The structure gave way, in the opinion of Major General Simmons, because the men - of whom, as another officer tells us, there were thirty-eight - crowded on it too much, and brought upon some part of it a greater weight than it was intended to bear; or it might have been from the men "keeping step," which in soldiers is a thing very difficult to prevent. Gen. Simmons considered the bridge “quite strong enough to carry the number of men for which it was intended, but totally inadequate for the same number of men in a close body. If the men were at intervals of four apart, the bridge would have stood. The fact of crowding and "keeping time" was further deposed to by Sergeant Instructor Foster.

There is one remark which we make with all the diffidence inspired by respect for the scientific corps of the army, but which we will not repress, because it is sure to occur to thousands of readers. Movements such as have been described are in mimicry of war, and are supposed to be among the best means available in time of peace of instructing the soldier in the duties expected of him on the battle field or at a siege. It would seem then that the material and the equipage with the aid of which such operations are conduced, should resemble as nearly as possible those which would be employed in actual warfare. Now, would such a spar bridge as was used last Monday, be used in the presence of an enemy, and would troops be sent upon it with the knowledge that it would be likely break if the men pressed upon one another? In war nobody would expect the men crossing a bridge to remain four feet apart; they would be pretty sure to advance with a rush. It seems to us that if this were a service bridge, it should have been made stronger. If it were a mere garrison toy, no wonder it gave way when the soldiers broke the rules of the game. — Daily News.
Logged

I voted to leave the European Union..
John
Editor
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 17363



« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2017, 09:09:09 AM »

Penny Illustrated Paper - Saturday 15 August 1868

DISASTER AT CHATHAM.
We are enabled to present our readers with an Illustration of the fatal accident which took place at Chatham on the 3rd inst. during the rehearsal of some siege operations.

An assault was made by a column of Royal Marine Light Infantry on a portion of the works near St. Mary's Barracks over a spar bridge, which had been constructed for the purpose within the besiegers' trenches, and was carried to the ditch for the purpose of the assault. The operation of throwing the bridge across was successfully performed, and about three companies of the Royal Marines had passed safely over, when a check occurred at the head of the men crossing, and the bridge became unduly crowded. As the men continued in motion while pressing on from behind, the strain became too great, and a rope broke, which caused the timber work of the bridge to give way, precipitating a number of men into the ditch - a fall of about 17 feet. Unfortunately, the bayonets were fixed, and a great number of wounds were received from them, the accident resulting in the death of one private of the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the injury of eleven others of that corps, as well as of three men of the Royal Engineers.

An inquest was held on the body of the deceased, William Marchant (sic), and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death." It is satisfactory to report that the wounded men are progressing favourably in Fort Pitt Hospital, where they have been visited by Prince Arthur.

There are 1 attachment(s) in this post which you cannot view or download
Bridge collapse.jpg
Logged

I voted to leave the European Union..
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2011, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!