Camp Grant, IL Trench Mortar Explosion, Aug 1925

8 KILLED, 11 INJURED WHEN GUN EXPLODES.

CHICAGO SOLDIERS VICTIMS OF EXPLOSION OF TRENCH MORTAR AT CAMP GRANT.

Camp Grant, Ill. -- (AP) -- Explosion of a Stokes trench mortar on the Camp Grant drill ground during firing practice killed eight negro soldiers of the Eighth Illinois infantry and injured eleven others.
The dead, all of Chicago, are:
Capt. OSCEOLA A. BROWNING, commanding the howitzer company.
Corporal HENRY WILLIAMS.
Private BEN ANDERSON.
Private DELMES CAMPBELL.
Private HERBERT DURANT.
Private CHARLIE WRIGHT.
Private TODD MOSELY.
Private ELM BAYNES.
All the wounded were taken to Rockford hospitals after receiving first-aid treatment at the camp.
From witnesses of the tragedy a hazy story was gathered.
Standing near were two small boys, visitors with the regiment, OSWALD HARIS, son of Lieutenant HARRIS, and HAROLD WILLIAMS, a guest of Captain BROWNING. From them it was learned that the first time an attempt was made to fire one of the two mortars the propelling charge failed.
On the next attempt, said the boys, some of the men were told to remove the sand which filled the projectiles. In its place they inserted some of the cordite taken from the firing rings. It was this shell which was loaded into the mortar. Just what caused it to explode inside the barrel, throwing fragments of the gun in every direction, is not yet known.
When the smoke drifted away, the dead and injured lay in a shambles about their gun.
The explosion followed by just a few hours the injury of eleven civilians who were burned during a smoke bomb demonstration.

The Pointer Riverdale Illinois 1925-08-28