Explosion on H.M.S. TRIUMPH 1882

Liverpool Journal 14th January 1882,

Explosion on English Warship

Communication from an officer on board H.M.S TRIUMPH, Flagship on the Pacific Station, serious explosion occurred off Cequimbo on the coast of Chilli, Tues 2nd Nov last.

“We have had a terrible explosion of kesotine siccutive, it occurred Thurs last at 8am. Two men were killed on the spot, the third died on the afternoon of the following Saturday. Many terribly burnt. Material was stowed under the paint-room. A marine went down with a light and was blown to pieces, the 2nd killed was 35 yds off and died of concussion of the brain. The man who died later had terrible injuries, his thighs and abdomen almost blown away. The painter in the paint-room was terribly burnt, the stoker is serious suffering from internal injuries and concussion of the spine.

At the time of the explosion I was walking up and down the deck and the band was playing ‘God save the Queen’ to the colours. It gave us a terrible fright.”

The substance which caused the explosion is commonly known as patent driers used in ironclads to prevent corrosion between the double bottoms.

The TRIUMPH – iron steamship, armour plated, of 6,640 tons burden, carrying engines of 4,890 hp and 14 guns, her Capt Albert H. MARKHAM.

Jan 21st, 1882

The explosion on the TRIUMPH

The following information has been supplied by the Admiralty With reference to the accident on H.M.S TRIUMPH from the explosion of xerotine siccative [nb change of spelling] telegram received 26th Nov from Comm in Chief, “Accident on board the TRIUMPH, xerotine siccative exploded, killing, DAVIES, Marine and FOXON, Seaman and injuring 7 others. The friends of deceased immediately informed, orders sent to all stations that xerotine siccative was a dangerous explosive, and should be got rid of at once.

TRIUMPH, Capt Albert H. MARKHAM, commissioned at Portsmouth had undergone extensive refit and crew were drafted principally from the Duke of WELLINGTON Flagship, from Portsmouth.

Siccative was in common use in the navy when it was ascertained by analytic tests to be free from explosive properties. Shortly after the catastrophe on H.M.S DOTEREL questions were raised as to whether it had dangerous properties. Within the past few months its use in the navy has been discontinued by Admiralty orders.

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