A balloon carrying Mr Walter Powell (MP for Malmsbury) was involved in a fatal disaster over The English Channel near Bridport.  The War Department had loaned the balloon to the Meteorological Society who used it to take observations of the atmosphere. After taking off near Bath the crew were forced to make a landing on the cliffs between Eype and Bridport when disaster struck.

(click for large picture)

Picture from The London Illustrated News Dec 31st 1881... 

Picture from The London Illustrated News Supplement Dec 31st 1881...


The rest of the story from Captain Templer's second and detailed report sent to the Meteorological Office on 31 December is as follows:-

`(On 10th December 1881) Crewkerne was sighted when we were at 2,000 feet altitude, and Mr. Powell allowed the balloon, at my request, to descend, and we passed Beaminster, where we first heard the sea, and immediately I verified my position, and we prepared to effect our descent. The horizontal velocity was increased to thirty-five miles an hour. The balloon was descending most favourably near Symondsbury when Mr. Powell threw out some ballast. On his telling me that he had done so I immediately opened the valve. He then asked me if this was necessary? I answered, "We are nearing the sea," and he replied "I am afraid I rather overdid that last ballast. Glancing downwards I found that our pace had increased. I asked Mr. Agg-Gardner to hold the valve open while I looked out for a place to descend; he did this, but almost immediately I took the valve line and never allowed the valve to close until the line was torn from my grasp after I had been thrown out and dragged about sixty yards.

Read More... http://www.athelstan-museum.org.uk/powell/01.php (halfway down the page)

The Saladin over Eype Beach.



New York Times article (Wednesday 24th January 1883 )...

Ebay item - page from ILN...

About Walter Powell...

Powells will...

Saladin def...

Thanks to Pymore Goat...

Does anyone have any further information on this? 


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