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The Uplees Explosion

Thank you to Paul Reid who recently sent me an email, with some precious family photos attached and some information about his family and how they were directly effected by the horrendous Uplees Explosion in 1916.

I would like to share with you his family account and personal photos.

Paul Reid's Grandfather was: Rickman Munnery Moore Palowkar ( Born 31-03-1885). He married  Beatrice Mary Palowkar nee Baker ( Born 06-09-1888) in 1912 and she very sadly was a widow in 1916.

They had three children: Margaret ( no dob given ) Dorothy ( Born 06-07-1915) and Rickman ( Born 12-11-1916)

On 2 April, Beatrice was in the early stages of pregnancy and at home in Faversham looking after their two young children when news broke of the explosion.

"Apparently the Uplees plant explosion, according to the local newspapers was caused by spontaneous combustion. This is not what my mum ( Dorothy Kathleen) said had happened. She always said it was a German spy disguised as a Catholic priest who caused the TNT plant to explode and the only way that they were able to identify granddad was by his mop of hair.  They only reported the event one month after it had happened in the papers and stated that all the shop windows on the seafront at Southend-on-sea were broken and some at Canvey island. The bang was heard as far north as Harwich and probably Felixstowe."

Beatrice Mary Palowkar                                 Rickman Munnery Moore Palowkar

The Mass Grave following the Uplees explosion

The funeral of Rickman Munnery Moore Palowkar

You can read more about the Uplees Explosion here.

Lucy Guthrie


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