A terrible accident happened at Rushden on Sunday afternoon when three lads were injured by the explosion of a cartridge used for blasting rock.
James Walden, 14, living at 112, Glassbrook-road, and Sid Tompkins, of Sartoris-road, Rushden, had been for a walk across Knuston fields, and, near there, procured a cartridge from a shed in the stone pits belonging to Mr. John Clark. They evidently thought it was something of an inflammable nature but did not know its power. They pocketed the cartridge and proceeded home. On the way they happened to meet a friend of theirs, Harry Joyce, of Sartoris-road, with whom they walked for a distance. They asked Joyce for a match with which to light the “fuse” as they thought it to be, and, apparently, Joyce did not know that there was any harm to be done, so tried to light it himself. He could not do so, however, and Walden borrowed the matches and inserted one alight in the end of the cartridge. Instantly the thing exploded with a terrific noise and a great volume of smoke that deafened and blinded them for a time.
Each of the lads ran home scarcely knowing what had happened, and certainly not knowing what the others did. Walden’s right hand was almost shattered by the explosion, and he had to be immediately taken to the Rushden Cottage Hospital. Joyce’s trousers were torn and his legs badly burned and scratched by the explosion, while Tompkins escaped comparatively lightly. His injuries were confined to a torn hand. Needless to say, the shock to all three was very considerable.
Mr. J. Wright, of the St. John Ambulance, rendered first aid to Joyce and subsequently the lad was attended by the nurse. Tompkins was able to go to work the next day.
On enquiry last night we were informed that Walden, who had lost part of three fingers and part of his thumb, is now making as much progress as can be expected under the circumstances.
Joyce was allowed to leave his bed yesterday for the first time since the accident, and he is progressing fairly well. Tompkins has fortunately been able to keep at work all the time as usual.