‘The ghost of an awful energy’ – the great Kent explosion of 1916

In the aftermath of 2 April 1916, men plunged into drainage dykes to retrieve the dying and the dead; they threw timbers from ruined buildings across the sea of mud surrounding the crater, and pulled their comrades, or what was left of them, from the ooze. Some stood up within the circle of destruction to find they were naked and almost unharmed, but the men beside them blown to pieces. Others had died 100 yards away, victims of flying debris or the blast wave’s capriciousness.

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