Rushden and district people were painfully shocked on Saturday when the news became known of the tragic death of Mr.Frederick Carl Bailey, aged 28, son of Mr. And Mrs. J. S. Bailey, of 36, Portland-road, Rushden. Mr. F. C. Bailey, who was chief engineer at the factory of Messrs. C. W. Horrell, Ltd., was undertaking cleaning-out of the gas-plant “scrubber”. The scrubber is a kind of tank about nine feet from the grating inside to the top and 3ft. 6ins. in diameter. A pipe leading in one side of the tank carries impure gas from the anthracite stove, and, going through the tank to the top, the coke etc., purifies the gas, which then goes to the engines. The door of the scrubber where the bottom layer of coke is put in, was opened on Friday night, and on Saturday the top of the scrubber was removed, and the whole contents cleared out the empty scrubber was left for about half-an-hour, but the anthracite stove, with just sufficient fuel to keep going was not interfered with. Re-filling operations were begun, the coke being put in the door opening. Mr. Bailey then decided, in order to pack the coke in, to climb into the scrubber and pack it down as it was handed to him from an assistant climbing up outside. He asked Mr. A. Robinson, caretaker of the premises, to give him a hand, and Mr.Robinson did so, but on climbing to the top and looking down, he saw Mr. Bailey doubled up at the bottom. Robinson shouted for assistance, and another employee, Ernest Austin (deceased's assistant) got quickly into the scrubber, and finding the deceased unconscious, tried to lift him to the top. After several unsuccessful attempts he climbed out with the idea of getting a rope, but he lost consciousness as soon as he got out. Robinson then went down and succeeded in getting a rope round the deceased, but could not lift him out. Robinson was only just able to get out when he, too, became unconscious and fell headlong against Mr. L. Wood, foreman of the finishing department, who, with a good many others, had by this time come to the scene.
Among others who were eventually able to rescue Mr. Bailey were Messrs. C. W. Horrel, W. Mc. Horrell, W. Dunmore, A. Austin, H. Geary, Harris, C. Lawrence, etc. The injured rescuers were attended to, and the body of Mr. Bailey was handed down to Mr. L. Waring, who carried Mr. Bailey into the nearest open space, and at once artificial respiration, keeping it up until the arrival of Dr. Baker. The doctor could unfortunately only state that the heart had ceased to beat. At the request of Mr. C. W. Horrell, artificial respiration was kep up a little linger, Mr. Herbert Mackness assisting. Dr. Baker again made an examination, and said that Mr. Bailey was probably dead when lifted out. Meantime, Pte. Burgess, of the Rushden St. John Ambulance, had already applied artificial respiration to Austin and Robinson, who were by that time able to walk.
The police were acquainted and a message was sent to the home of the deceased. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bailey were unfortunately out of town. Mr. C. W. Horrell sent his car to fetch them home, and the news was gently, broken to the parents. First-Class Sergt. Prigmore was notified, and brought the Ambulance stretcher to remove the body.
All who knew the deceased are deeply grieved at the tragedy. Everyone has always spoken in the highest terms of his corial nature and his sound character. He was on that account, not to mention his undoubted skill as an engineer, valued by his employers.
On completing his apprenticeship with Mr. J. S. Clipson in 1913, he went to Barry, South Wales, and from a situation there he entered the Mercantile Marine Service. On the outbreak of war he was engaged on transport work between America and Europe on the "Great City," and also in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and was in the last British ship as junior engineer to come down the Dardanelles from Crimean ports. Thence he went to India. On his return he joined the Naval Service in the Mercantile Marine Auxiliary Branch, being chiefly engaged on Special Service work, rising to the rank of chief engineer. His last Admiralty work was assisting the salvag¬ing of German ships sunk at Scapa Flow as chief engineer of the "Moon Fleet." Shortly after demobilisation in 1920 he was engaged by Mr. Horrell.
The Ministry of Shipping gave the late Mr .F. C. Bailey an excellent conduct reference on his leaving the service. The document shows that he served under a special Naval agreement from January 9th, 1917, to January 21st, 1920. He started at the beginning of that period on H.M.S. Vindex as junior engineer, and was promoted Second Engineer on April 3rd, 1917, being transferred to the Doria. Other vessels he served on were the Fyide, Sunhill, Mearim, and Dreadful. Then, on August 24th, 1918, he was again pro¬moted, this time to the rank of Chief Engineer, serving on the Estoy, Sunhill (his old ship), Mary Tavy, back to the Sunhill, and finally on the Moonfleet.
The late Mr. Bailey was one of the-first members of the St. Mary's C.L.B. on its formation in 1906, and held the rank of sergeant at the time he left the town.
Too high a tribute can scarcely be paid to Austin and Robinson for having risked their lives in trying to rescue Mr. Bailey. Both were completely overcome, and were very near reaching the fate of the deceased. On regaining consciousness they almost collapsed again on learning that their fellow worker was dead.
An inquest was conducted at the "Rose and Crown" Inn on Monday, by Mr. J. Cairns Parker, Deputy Coroner for the Division. Insp. Hobell and P.C. Lawman were the Police representatives. Mr. C. W. Wing, (solicitor to the company) attended to represent Messrs. C. W. Horrell, Ltd. Mr. J. H. Nicholl (Northampton) attended as Inspector of Factories for the county. Mr. Geo. Wingrove, sen., (president), and Mr. W. M. Fleteher (secretary) of the local branch of the Amalgamated Engineers' Union, were also present.
Joseph Samuel Bailey, father of the deceased, 36, Portland-road, identified the body as that of his son, Frederick Carl Bailey, 28, engineer, who had been living with him. Deceased had worked for Messrs. C. W. Horrell, Ltd. Witness last saw his son alive at 7 a.m. on Saturday the 9th. He was in his usual health. Witness had heard that the deceased had fainted once at sea whilst in the Navy during the war. Deceased had worked at Horrells nearly two years, and had been used to similar work most of his life.
Mr. W. Mc. Horrell (a director of the firm), 51, Hayway-road, said that the deceased was chief engineer and was generally looking after the machinery on Saturday. He also emptied the "scrubber" of the gas-producing plant, which was done about every six months. Deceased had previously done the job quite satisfactorily. He was responsible for cleaning out the "scrubber.'' The firm had not issued any special rules to the deceased as to how he should carry out his duties. About 11.50 a.m. on Saturday he (witness) was informed that a man was gassed. Witness 'phoned for four doctors, all of whom were out. Witness then cycled out and found Dr. Baker. The deceased had asked during the week if the scrubber should be refilled during that slack time. Witness agreed to the operation being carried out. There was no hurry to get it done.
Dr. H. Stainer Baker, Rushden, said that just after noon he went to the factory and found the deceased on the floor. An ambulance man immediately the deceased was got out of the scrubber had straight away used artificial respiration, which he kept up until he (Dr. Baker) arrived. Air was entering the lungs freely, but as the heart had stopped, the breathing could not be taken up. Death was the result of poisoning from gas, probably carbon monoxide. Deceased was probably dead when recovered from the tank. All that was possible had been done for the deceased. By Insp. Nicholl: The other men who had been affected by the gas were almost well again before he (Dr. Baker) left the premises.
Ernest Albert Austin, 92, Glassbrook-road, said he was an engineer's assistant, acting under the instructions of the deceased. On Friday evening the deceased and he started emptying the scrubber. They turned off the plant, and took off two doors from the back of the scrubber, to let the "smell" out. On Saturday they cleaned out the old coke from the door opening and then waited half-an-hour to ventilate the scrubber. Witness had many times assisted at the job before. There was no recognised time for ventilation. They might have gone straight on with the refilling. They put the first lot of coke in the door, putting in two layers. Next they had to fill from the top. It was not necessary for anyone to enter the scrubber. He had never known anyone but deceased to get in to pack the coke. The idea of the deceased was to prevent the coke from breaking up. They were using the usual sort of coke. The depth of the scrubber to the first door was about 9-ft. Witness was going to hand coke to the deceased. Another employee, Robinson, went to hand in some coke, and said, "There is something wrong with Bailey." Witness got up the ladder and saw the deceased on his hands and knees. Inside were a set of steps. Witness climbed down and tried to get deceased out. Deceased was unconscious. Witness felt all right until he got to the top again having tried without success to get Bailey out. As he (witness) got to the top he became unconscious. He had known deceased to go inside once before. The anthracite stove was "going," and there, were a few buckets-full of anthracite in. There was no stop-cock between the anthracite stove and the tank, consequently there was a little gas passing through into the scrubber at the time deceased was in. There had been a fire in the stove previously when deceased had entered the scrubber.
The Coroner : Why did you not take the fire out?
Witness: Deceased wanted to go straight on with the work of completing the job.
By Insp. Nicholl: The coke would be above the door when deceased entered. The top of the scrubber was taken off on Saturday morning.
Abner Robinson, 7, Fletcher-road, caretaker, said at 11.40 deceased came and asked him to give a hand at filling the scrubber. Witness a few minutes later filled a skip with coke and went to the top of the scrubber and saw the deceased at the bottom doubled up. Witness called for Austin, and when Austin got out of the scrubber he (witness) went down and put a rope round deceased's body. Witness came over queer, so he had to try and get out. As he got to the top he became unconscious, but he understood that someone assisted him out.
The Coroner found that the deceased came by his death through asphyxiation, whilst carrying out his duties. It did not appear that there was anybody to blame. The deceased seemed to have known all about the gas plant, and was probably anxious to do as much as he could for his employers by packing the coke in instead of merely throwing it in. He was overcome by the gas fumes and unfortunately died from gas poisoning. It was a very sad case of a good workman and a decent young man losing his life.
The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon. Messrs. C. W. Horrell’s factory was closed from 12.30 until 4p.m. A service was held in St. Mary's Church, the Rector (Rev. P. E. Robson) and the Rev. R. H. Hanson (Curate) officiating. Mr. J. Enos Smith presided at the organ and played Andante (Mozart) before the service began and Handel's “Dead March” and “Marche Funebre” (Chopin) at the end. The body of the church was filled by many mourners, practically all the employees of Messrs. C. W. Horrell, Ltd., being present. A number of the men were in their working attire, a very fitting tribute to their deceased friend.
The immediate mourners were Mr. and Mrs. Bailey (father and mother), Miss Bessie Bailey and Miss Sylvia M. Bailey (sisters); Mr. Frank Bailey (brother), Miss May Brown (fiancée); Mr. J. Shuttleworth, of Manchester (uncle), Miss Doris West (friend), Mr. J. S. Clipson, Miss Doris Cox, Mr. G. Curt (friends). Also present were Messrs. C. W. Horrell, W. Mc. Horrell, H. Geary (representing the directors and staff of Messrs. C. W. Horrell Ltd.), George Wingrove, senior, and W. M. Fletcher, representing the A.E.U., of which deceased was a member, A. Robinson, E. A. Austin, H. A. And J. R. Clipson, E. Pack (Central Machinery Co.), E. Cox, H. Tear, G. Hyde, C. Espin, etc.
Psalm 23 was chanted by the surplice choir, and the hymn “Now the labourer’s task is o’er” was sung. The Rector read the appointed lessons. The bearers were the following foremen from Messrs. C. W. Horrell Ltd.: Messrs Herbert Mackness (clicking), W. Dunmore (lasting), E. Wood (finishing), and F. Newell (stockroom).
At the grave-side several hundreds of people were gathered round, the Rector pronouncing the committal sentences.
Mr. Arthur Sanders carried out the funeral arrangements. The coffin, of un-polished oak, bore the inscription:
Frederick Carl Bailey.
Died July 9th, 1921.
Aged 28 years.
Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Bailey and family, and Miss M. Brown (fiancée) desire to express their heart-felt thanks to all who rendered assitance to their son, all who have in any way shown sympathy with them in their heavy bereavement: also to those who sent floral tributes. Will friends please accept this acknowledgement, as it is impossible to thank everyone individually.
The wreaths were inscribed as follow:
In ever-loving memory of our dear son and brother, from Dad, Mother, Bess, and and Maggie; also Aunt Sue."Until we meet again."
In ever-loving memory of my dear brother, from Bert, Bagdad, Mesop.
To the loving memory of dear Fred, from Brother Frank and Doris."Father , in Thy gracious keeping, leave we now Thy servant sleeping.''
In ever-loving memory of my darling, from his sweetheart May."Sleep on dear love, and take thy rest."
Deepest sympathy from directors and secretary of C. W. Horrell and Co.
With loving memory of Fred, from Auntie Maggie and Uncle Joe (Tyldesley).
With loving remembrance from grandma and grandpa (Weybridge).
In affectionate remembrance, from your loving cousin Thersa (Penarth).
With sincere remembrance of dear Fred. Mrs. A. Brown and family; also Reg. "God moves in a mysterious way."
In fond remembrance from George.
To dear Uncle Fred from his little Joan.
From Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Brown.
Mr. and Mrs. Clipson and family. With loving memory.
To a dear old pal, with affectionate remembrance, from. Eric, Len, Joe, Tommy, Jim, and Cyril.
With love to dear Fred, from Kathie. "One of the best."
Deepest sympathy, Mr. and Mrs. C. Espin.
Sincere sympathy, all at 40, Robinson-road.
Deepest sympathy, employees of the Finishing, Shoe-room, and Engine Staff. "Thy will be done."
Deepest sympathy, Clicking and Clos¬ing Departments."In the midst of life we are in death."
Deepest sympathy, from Factory and Office Staff."At rest."
Deepest sympathy from Rough, Leather, and Lasting Departments. "Rest in peace."
In deepest sympathy, from Cecil and Nellie Adnitt.
In tender remembrance, Doris and Harold.
In affectionate remembrance of dear Fred. Mr. and Mrs. Cox and family (Fairlawn).
Deepest regret and sympathy, from old friends and neighbours (Kings-place).
Deepest sympathy from Janet.
Deepest sympathy from St. Peter’s Choir.
Dei-pest sympathy from Mr. and Mrs. Whitby and family.
Sincere sympathy from 32 and 31, Portland-road.
Deepest sympathy. Mrs. Linnitt and Lizzie, also Ada and Jenny (Canada).
Deepest sympathy, Conservative Club.
Mr. and Mrs. Desborough. The Boat House, Felmersham.
To the Editor of the "Rushden Echo."
Sir,The Directors of the firm would like to express through your columns, their best thanks for, and appreciation of, the services rendered by several gentlemen during the sad occurrence at our works last Saturday, in so readily assisting by rendering first aid and helping in other ways. As we do not know them all personally we trust they will take this letter as a token of sincere appreciation find thanks. We are, sir, Yours respectfully,
p.p. C. W. HORRELL, LTD.
Harold Geary, secty.
July 13th, 1921.