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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS --

USS Missouri (BB-11) Turret Fire, 13 April 1904

On 13 April 1904, while engaging in target practice, a twelve-inch gun in USS Missouri's after turret "flared back" hot gasses into the turret when the breech was opened for reloading. A bag of propellant was set afire and the conflagration spread from the turret into the ammunition handling chamber below. Though the fire was confined to those two areas, it took the lives of 36 of the ship's officers and crew. It also demonstrated the dangers of contemporary gun and ammunition handling arrangements and spurred corrections to both that significantly reduced the risk of other accidents of that type.

This page presents views relating to this tragedy.

For additional picture coverage on this ship, her crew and activities, see the pages linked from:
USS Missouri, Selected Views.

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 101213-KN (Color)

USS Missouri (BB-11) Turret Fire, 13 April 1904


Color-tinted photograph, printed on a postal card, showing the bodies of the victims of the tragedy being landed for burial.
The original postcard was published by the Rochester News Company as Number 3 in the series How the United States honors its Naval Heros.

Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), Retired, 1984.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 103KB; 740 x 490 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 91708

USS Missouri (BB-11) Turret Fire, 13 April 1904


Color-tinted photograph, printed on a postal card, showing the funeral procession for the victims of the tragedy.
The original postcard was published by the Rochester News Company as Number 5 in the series How the United States honors its Naval Heros.

Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), Retired.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 96KB; 740 x 445 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 94969-KN (Color)

USS Missouri (BB-11) Turret Fire, 13 April 1904


Color-tinted photograph, printed on a postal card, showing the burial ceremonies for the victims of the tragedy.
The original postcard was published by the American News Company as Number 6 in the series How the United States honors its Naval Heros.

Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), Retired, 1983.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 101KB; 740 x 465 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 50689

William Christopher Davidson, USN


Who was killed in the USS Missouri (BB-11) turret fire, 13 April 1904.
He was an 1895 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and held the rank of Lieutenant when he lost his life.
Photograph by A. Pamamura (?--name is conjectural), Yokohama, Japan. Davidson served in the Asiatic Squadron from 1895 to 1900, in the ranks of Naval Cadet, Ensign and Lieutenant(Junior Grade). The photo was probably taken during that time.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 68KB; 510 x 765 pixels

 

For additional picture coverage on this ship, her crew and activities, see the pages linked from:
USS Missouri, Selected Views.

Return to Naval Historical Center home page.

21 January 1999