The S.S. Richard Montgomery,
'The Evidence Revisited'.
'Risk and Reality'.
'The Evidence Revisited'
The Book has 287 Pages A4. Size, Indexed
with 143 Black and White Illustrations. it is
Wire-bound in Two Uniform Volumes.
The book is aimed at local residents who are puzzled or concerned about the much vaunted danger that the wreck poses: Or does actually pose big threat? This book will enable the readers to examine the evidence for themselves.
The book is available as a PDF. CD. or by Direct Download and in a wire bound printed version. A Library-Use conventionally bound version will
be available by arrangement.
Discover for yourself:
How did she get blown aground when the wind was blowing the 'wrong way'?
Was it inevitable that she was ‘Doomed’ as soon as she entered the Thames?
Could she have been saved from sinking: The answer may surprise you?
Was there anyone who bore the blame for her grounding?
What is the evidence for the presence of FUSED CLUSTER BOMBS?
What evidence is there for historical cover-ups?
How big would the predicted Tsunami be?
How big would the explosion be?
A Precis and reason for writing the book.
The reader will usually want to learn the reasons for the author spending four years and many thousands of hours researching a sunken vessel of WWII. The primary cause was being asked, when giving lecture on explosives, what effect does the exposure to seawater have on military shells in particular those on the S.S. Richard Montgomery.
The results of the first foray into the Montgomery’s history disclosed a number of reports taking the position that the Montgomery was likely to explode imminently and that the result would be cataclysmic. There were other more measured reports. What was evident was the level of antagonism that pervaded many reports and a demands for information and immediate action. In contrast to this position there were those who proposed removal of the wreck and its dangerous cargo and were scolded for their irresponsible suggestions. The conclusion to be drawn was that there seemed no universal solution. Please see 'About the Author'
The Attitude of the Public to the Richard Montgmery:
An irony exists in that of the two thousand odd Liberty Ships that were constructed only a handful still exist, but the S.S. Richard Montgomery is almost as famous (or infamous) as the others.
The Liberty Ship and the men who crewed them deserve our thanks and respect,; they provided much needed food and materiel during a dark period in our nations history.
It was felt by the author that an attempt to provide a source of information, free of bias and based upon the available primary history sources. Unsupported views were generally disregarded. An attempt has been made to write in such a manner that it will be useful to the non-technical reader, there are of inevitably some complex and less easily understood portions.
The book takes no position but is careful to forensically dissect the evidence and construct a working hypothesis. It is for the reader to use the evidence and judge the validity of the hypothesis.
The strength of feeling and outrage over the vessel is very strong and the reason for this is an important facet to understand.
Public ‘outrage’ is affected and can be amplified by the method and means adopted by 'experts' and organisations in relation to the member of the public’s engagement. It is also linked with a sense of an expectation of fairness and equity, disengagement can be amplified by what they observe as ‘unfairness’ and developing a feeling of ‘They know something but won’t tell’. This feeds into the popular engagement with conspiracy theories.
Political or State involvement will of necessity complicate and create partition of outlook. Political view and statement of view must be Risk Averse. Simply put, this means’ “I will not Do anything, or for that matter Not do anything, that might be interpreted on historical reflection as blameworthy”. The resulting written or spoken views, reports will be effectively be reduced to “Spin” or “inaction” this further increases the perceived view of unfairness.
The examination of thousands of pages of primary evidence from the National Archives at Kew, The US National Archives, and the David Cotgrove Archives has shown that there were, and are, many differing organizations who had axes to grind, including: The United States Navy, The United States Government, The British Navy, The British Government, The erstwhile Commander in charge of Southend-2, Thames Naval Control, , each had a story to tell all with subtle differences.
This book has endeavoured to continue David Cotgrove’s fine but sadly incomplete efforts to untangling the various threads and to shine a little more light on the subject.
The distance between ‘Expert mathematical' and 'Knowledge-based', traditionalist approaches to risk and the public perception of risk is a recurring theme for academic study.
Sandman et al (1993) found that people are not concerned or as affected by the technical aspects of risk as they are by the means by which the risks are communicated. The researchers found that the way an issue is reported will impact heavily on the perception of the risk. In the second study it was found that conflict among experts and a development of a low level of trust in those experts increases the perception of being at risk. rationalised as' 'If experts cannot agree between themselves, where does this leave me?''
‘Sandman, P. M. et al. (1993.’) ‘Community Outrage, and Perception of Risk’: Three Simulation Experiments.
In a parallel fashion, the member of the public might told in January that a glass of wine is 'good for you' July will dawn with another report from a scientific team that wine is bad for you, this pattern of risk perception erodes and annoys the readers and engenders mistrust for all pronouncements by experts.
The author has endeavoured to avoid this pitfall by dint of providing data, evidence and hypotheses that can be verified and are hopefully free from any personal preconception or bias. It is for you dear reader to judge whether the aim has been realised.
David Cotgrove’s Research:
The supplementary reason for undertaking the research was the discovery that Mr David Cotgrove had undertaken a research project to clarify the safety status of the wreck of the Richard Montgomery; he has left an enormous archive of evidence and some of the results of his work. The staff of the Essex Records Office have kiindly aforded me access to the archive and I thank them for their patience at my repeated visits. It is appropriate to let David Cotgrove speak for himself.
‘I have always been interested in the wreck - I saw the ship aground the morning of the day she stranded, before I joined the RAF. Later, in 1949, my friends and I sailed out to the wreck at low tide and climbed aboard to explore the mid-ship island. She lay openly in the Estuary, with no restriction on access.
In 1964 the magnitude of the wreck's explosive content became public knowledge, and my interest sharpened. I could not fail to note that the official statements were increasingly in conflict with what I knew to be fact. By 1971 I realized that the official position was not credible, and I decided to research the whole situation.
There are many reasons for my interest: my family had been involved in the local fishing industry since way back, and I keep good contacts with the fishermen. I have sailed in the Estuary all my life and know it well. Also, my work gave me a deal of experience of high explosives as member of the experimental staff at the Weapons Research Establishment for about ten years until my father's health began to fail, when I joined him in our family business.
When I had prepared a draft of my findings, I persuaded two colleagues who had helped me with the investigation to become joint authors of the final document, mainly because it needed to be a joint effort if we were to get anywhere. It was issued in April 1972 to the Port Authorities and all who had responsibilities relating to the wreck, then later to the press.
In July, I was invited to a conference of various officials to discuss the hazard, and was told that nothing could be done with the bombs because some were fused, and were very dangerous - so dangerous that divers on official surveys to examine the state of the hull, were not allowed to enter the wreck to check these bombs not even for fuses. I said that they could only be referring to the clusters of fragmentation bombs in No2 Hold. They agreed that this was so.
Following this meeting, an official admission was made by the UK Government to accept our data regarding the quantity of bombs on the wreck, and measures were implemented to improve the wrecks security. Its condition would be checked by regular diving surveys, but the bombs were to remain undisturbed and unseen.’
Questions that are asked and addressed.
During the course of talks and lectures on the subject of munitions, and the S.S. Richard Montgomery many questions arose from the listeners, the answering and response to the questions inform the structure and layout of the document.
Question: Captain Willecke; what part did he play in the history of the Richard Montgomery and what sort of man was he?
Question: How did the Richard Montgomery find herself aground?
Question: Can we be sure that the mooring allocated to the Richard Montgomery was the correct one and was it unsuitable?
Question: How did the Richard Montgomery get allocated to the mooring that she came to lay on?
Question: It is claimed that the Richard Montgomery was blown away from a safe south facing anchorage and blown in a southerly direction, According to the official records; the winds were blowing from the north until the morning of the 20th how is this possible?
Question: The Richard Montgomery was said to ‘Drag her Anchor’, what type of anchor did she have and how effective was it?
Question: How did the Richard Montgomery find herself aground?
Question: What led up to the grounding of the Richard Montgomery on August the 20th 1944?
Question: With respect to the amount and nature of the remaining cargo on the Richard Montgomery what were the basis of the disagreements based upon?
Question: There is a great deal of discussion about the various cluster bombs, fused and unfused, what does the official technical data tell us?
Question: What evidence is there that here were fused cluster bombs aboard the Richard Montgomery; if true, what risks do they currently pose?
Question: Fused cluster bombs; what evidence is there for the accidental detonation of this type of munitions?
Question: What are the critical and possible causes and avoidance of the detonation of the munitions cargo aboard the Richard Montgomery.
Question: What was the official view and what official reports are available on the effects and risks of an explosion on the Richard Montgomery?
Question: What was the nature and type of explosives found in the cargo of the Richard Montgomery?
Question: What is the technical nature of the explosive and detonation process?
Question: Is it possible to create a Tsunami or Tidal Wave by the detonation of TNT?
Question: What is ‘Equivalent Bare Charge’ and how is it important?
Question: What is ‘Blast Over-pressure’ and what are its physical effects on people and buildings?
Question: What is the wreck of the Richard Montgomery’s potential for serious destructive harm?
Question: How does the fact that the explosive is contained in very strong containers (bombs) affect the magnitude of the TNT explosions?
Question: What factors influence the risk of deliberate or 'Sympathetic Detonation' of the bombs in the holds of the Richard Montgomery?
Question: What is the predicted condition of the bombs, in for instance, in Main Hold No Three and what is the level of siltation?
Question: How are the bombs stored in the holds and how big are they?
Question: How can a Calculation of the Blast Over-pressure from Detonation of the Explosive Cargo from the Richard Montgomery be calculated?
Question: How does the fact that the cargo in the Richard Montgomery is underwater; affect the outcome if the cargo detonated underwater?
Question: How can the potential damage from a Blast Over-pressure from the Richard Montgomery be quantified?
Question: How confident can we be about the calculation of Over-pressures?
Question: Can any conclusions be drawn from the research published in this work?
Question: How did the Richard Montgomery come to 'break her back' and sink, what was the process?
Question: What was the value and significance of the many surveys conducted on the wreck of the Richard Montgomery, what was found?
Question: Over the years there were many schemes to disaster proof the wreck of the Richard Montgomery, what was suggested?
Question: What were the publics and Government’s attitude and reaction following the grounding?
Question: What detail is there on the bombs that might be found stowed on the Richard Montgomery?
Question: What information does the National Archives in Kew hold on the Richard Montgomery?
Question: There have, at times, been rumours that the Richard Montgomery’s cargo contained Poison Gas, is there any evidence for this?.
Question: Are there any lists of the men who served on the Richard Montgomery?