2019 Stokes Mortar Bomb Tragedy

At 1020hrs on 1 April 2019 a short but moving service of Remembrance was held by  the gate that leads onto the former RM Rifle Range in Kingsdown.

The service was held to mark the 101st anniversary of the incident that happened on this day in 1918 when four Royal Marine Artillery Gunners were killed instantly with many more seriously injured when a bomb exploded in the barrel of the Stokes Mortar they were firing. A further Royal died of his wounds in hospital on 3 April.

The service started with an introduction by Bill Butler of the RMHT to explain the circumstances of the incident and how it came about that it was being remembered today, and the service was then led by the Reverend John Lines MBE.

'Dusty’ Miller paraded the Branch Standard, and the Chairman of the Downs Branch RBL Edward Barkway carried their Standard.

Also present were Mike Scurfield who sounded the Last Post and Reveille, Bob Davies who read the Royal Marines Prayer, John Elms who gave the Exultation and our President Col David Storrie OBE who gave the Kohima Epitaph. Also attending were Tony Eldridge and John ‘JC’ Puddle.

Some thirty people had gathered for the occasion, wreaths were laid and Bob fixed a Branch Remembrance Cross to the gate.

Those that lost their lives that day long ago were:

Bombardier Fred Belfield   19

Gunner Samuel Houchen  26

Gunner Albert Aldridge      22          We Will Remember Them

Gunner Arthur Large          26

Gunner Ernest Caffey        23




Stokes Mortar Bomb Stokes Mortar Bomb A