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#1 Boreenatra

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:58 PM

Does anyone have a list or may be able to give me a link to munition factories in Rainham (I think it is the Essex one) during WW1. I have seen on an in-church memorial at St.James Church in Little Clacton, a commemoration to a man named Frank Derrett, "killed at a munitions factory in Rainham". His name is listed with all the war dead of the parish, but it seems he was a civilian. There is a death entry for a Frank Derrett in West Ham 4th Q of 1916 and he is aged 57. Census records indicate Frank's family and his son Frank and his family both lived in the Little Clacton area and I am sure Frank Snr. is my man but I can't find a list of factories in that area at that time. Local library is looking through the local papers to see if there is anything but it would be good to know exactly where and when if possible

Any help appreciated

Regards Steve

#2 Rycroft

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 06:12 PM

On ancestry marriage for Frank Derrett in 1910 only one I could find for Essex Name:Frank Derrett Date of Registration:Apr-May-Jun 1910 Registration district:Tendring
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915

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#3 Boreenatra

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:39 PM

Rycroft

Thanks for that.........he is Frank Derrett Jnr. Frank Derrett Snr was married to Laura Jane Lucas in Wandsworth in 1879. I am trying to ascertain the exact whereabouts of where he died as Rainham deaths would not usually be registered at West Ham although there may be a number of reasons why this might be.I shall order a DC to see if it is him. Again any info on munition factories might be of help

Regards Steve

#4 LiamS

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:18 PM

Hi,from a list kindly supplied in another thread here it seems there were 2 factories in Rainham
One is listed as Rainham Essex HMEF and made TNT,opened in Nov 1914,first output Jan 1915.HMEF is His Majesty's Explosives Factory I think.

The other one is listed as Rainham KNT (Kent?) and seems to have been only operational 1918 making chemicals
CWF=Chemical Warfare factory.

#5 Terry_Reeves

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:33 PM

This link may be a clue:


http://vanholby.com/page11.htm

His death certificate might be able to clear up any uncertainties, as might local newspapers who often published the names of fatalities.

TR

#6 Boreenatra

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 03:30 PM

Liam and Terry

Thanks for your replies

Terry, We saw the article and that prompted us contact Van Holby and we are awaiting a reply,so earlier in the week we got in touch with the local authorities to try and get some more info on the fire that the Romford fire crew attended. The article did not give details as to where and when and I know George Alfred Holby OBE was buried in unconsecrated ground without a subsequent headstone on the 11th November 1932, which is sad considering his history. We also don't want to fall into the trap of assuming that this was the same incident that Frank Derrett died in and also the same place however it may well be the case.

I have scanned the last quarter of 1916 and the first of 1917 in both the local papers for Havering and Barking and Dagenham and nothing shows up however it is easy to miss these things first time around so I will go back and check again. One fact did emerge, which doesn't make this any easier is that if he was killed in a factory in Rainham, it is very unlikely he would have had his death registered in West Ham, however I will order a DC to try and resolve this

Regards Steve

#7 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 07:39 PM

The other one is listed as Rainham KNT (Kent?) and seems to have been only operational 1918 making chemicals
CWF=Chemical Warfare factory.


Will have to have a search for this.

Not sure if you have now settled on Rainham, Essex but I have researched Rainham, Kent ,in the Great War, extensively and have never come across a munitions or chemical factory located here - it just wasnt that sort of place. I've also researched the Rainham families from about 1850-1920s and have never come across the Derrett family.

Regards,

Jonathan S

#8 Boreenatra

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:19 PM

Jonathan

Thank you for your reply

As you can see from my first post, Frank Derrett lived in the Little Clacton area with his family (in 1911 at least) and subsequent family members were born in the area but I can't rule out them being in Rainham or the surrounding area for the duration of the war.

I got an email today from the local studies group at Romford today and part of the reply was as follows

"Have checked the Romford Times 1916 issues Sept - Dec inc. but found no mention of Frank Derrett or Munitions factory fire.

However, Romford U.D.C. Baths & Fire Brigade committee book 1909-1919 p.240 (minutes of meeting held 18 Sep. 1916) mentions the Romford Brigade had attended a fire at FIELDS Factory in Rainham - no further details being offered, & p.274 (minutes of a meeting 19 Nov 1919) reports the nomination of Romford Fire Brigade members for their part in the munitions fires at Rainham on the 14 Sept 1916 & 13 Feb 1918.

Rainham Parish Council minutes book 1917-1922 p1. (minutes of a meeting 15 Mar 1917) mentions the Fire Brigade had a attended a fire at SALAMANS Chemical Works - no further detail provided, p.14 (minutes of a meeting 19 Apr 1917) refers to a letter from the Ministry of Munitions of War re. the Fire Brigade".


If any of the factory names ring a bell (no firemen pun intended !!) please let me know. The 14th September date does look promising though

I am indebted to Jane Finnett for her help in this matter

Regards Steve

#9 Boreenatra

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:37 PM

It would seem as though Fields were JC & J Fields who were candle / soap manufacturers early in the 1900's, a long established family business from South London

Regards Steve

#10 Boreenatra

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 10:52 AM

This may be of use to anyone looking for civilian citations post WW1 that appeared in the Edinburgh Gazette for 9th July 1920

http://www.edinburgh...3612/pages/1597

This is the first page of the list and George Alfred Holby does appear on page 1603

Regards Steve

#11 Boreenatra

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 06:05 PM

"The vanished hamlet" by E. A. Bird states that it was Fields factory that had the explosion on 14th Sept 1916 - they were employed in manufacturing TNT. The explosion was in the main factory, the office building was completely destroyed and a large section of factory wall facing the river was demolished. Some rubble landed on & damaged neighbouring cottages, but a lot of the masonry fell into the river and for some time the jetty was unusable. For a short while this site also produced poison gas.

This book also mentions another factory at Rainham Ferry engaged in war work called TYKPE & KING.


In the various editions of Kelly's(1890, 1904, 1906, 1912, 1917, 1922, 1926, 1933, 1939) and in 1917 there are 3 factories mentioned:

SALAMON & Co. Ltd - chemical manufacturers, Ferry Road

J.C. & J FIELD, Ltd. - candle manufacturers, Rainham Ferry

Frederick S HEMPLEMAN & Co - artificial manure manufacturers, Rainham Ferry



Salamon appears in much earlier editions (but still at the same locations) - the 1890 volume lists the former as a sulphate of ammonia manufacturer & tar distillers (they appear in successive editions and by 1939 they are described as creosote manufacturers),

Hempleman also appears in the 1890 edition as dried blood, fish, & guano manures manufacturers but after 1917 they don't appear at all in any of the later volumes - blown up?

Fields are listed in 1904 as candle & soap manufacturers and are there until 1933.



In 1899 & 1904 there is Henry William HARVEY - described as a chemical manure manufacturer & merchant, but later listings (through the war and after) only list him as a merchant.



The 1922 directory has BIBBS Oil & Fuel (London) Ltd - manufacturers at Rainham Ferry but can't find them listed any earlier.


Once again great detective work by Jane Finnett and all I have to do now is to get a date of death for Frank Derrett.

Regards Steve

#12 Terry_Reeves

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 08:05 PM

Steve

I would like to put forward an alternative, based on your West Ham thesis. I have a description of the "Rainham" explosives factory from the History of the Ministry of Munitions. This is from the opening paragraph:

"The Rainham Chemical Works, situated on an island wharf on the bank of the Thames opposite Woolwich, were taken over from the Synthetic Products Company by the War Department under the Defence of the Realm Act on 28 November, 1914, the day after the Act became law."

The Ministry of Munitions list this establishment as " HM Factory Rainham." but this is the name of the factory, not its location. If you go to Google maps and look across the Thames from Woolwich as per the description, you will see a projection (or island) into the Thames. A fire broke out there on the 13th February , 1918, which caused a massive explosion resulting in many deaths. This part of London was in the county of Essex at the time and the registration district for this part London was West Ham.

There is an "however" however. The Silvertown explosive factory close by, suffered an explosion on 19 Jan 1917, which killed and injured many people. This factory was owned by Brunner Mond and appears to be a different site, but also came within Essex and West Ham. I cannot be sure if these are one and the same.

If you would like to pm me you email address I will send you the MoM entry.

TR

#13 Boreenatra

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 10:46 PM

Terry

PM sent

It is difficult in the sense that I want to trace Frank Derrett and to find out why he was killed in a munitions factory in Rainham. I also wanted to know if he resided there or was there on a temporary basis. My first instinct was he was involved with Silvertown but he died in 1916. Oddly enough I had only finished reading the excellent "The Sivertown Explosion London 1917" by Graham Hill & Howard Bloch a month or so ago so I suppose it was only natural that I should think it may have been connected. West Ham is not the natural place for a death in Rainham to be registered however there may be a number of reasons for that. I have contacted a churchwarden at Little Clacton and am awaiting a reply.

Kind regards

Steve

#14 Terry_Reeves

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 08:51 AM

Steve

I think this document at the National Archives will be of help:

ADM 1/8476/301 Ammunition explosives etc. Question of safeguarding against fire. Explosion at Rainham Chemical Works1916

TR

#15 Boreenatra

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 03:02 PM

Terry


I am due a trip there in the near future so I will order it before I go...........I don't think it is worth 320 for a paper copy !!

Many thanks

Regards Steve

#16 great fire 17

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:40 PM

Hi
Did you every get the answers you were looking for? I have a copy of the paperwork you mentioned regarding the explosion at Rainham. It may interest you to know that this was not the only explosion at this factory,
Nigel

Terry


I am due a trip there in the near future so I will order it before I go...........I don't think it is worth 320 for a paper copy !!

Many thanks

Regards Steve



#17 THE SHINY SEVENTH

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:25 PM

Hi Nigel, just tried to PM you, but as you've not made the required amount of post's yet, you haven't got the facility, I think!! Anyway, its concerning the Rainham material you have, would like to get in touch if at all possible, regards Sean.

#18 Boreenatra

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:45 PM

Nigel

I would also be interested if the document helps me find any info that takes the search for Frank Derrett further

Regards Steve