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Carte de visite
Elliott & Fry - Photographer
55 & 56 Baker Street, London England
c. 1881

Coming from a family of seven brothers five of whom served in the military, Francis Michael Goold-Adams was something of a rising star in Her Majesty’s service when his career in the Royal Artillery and his life were cut tragically short.

Born in 1854 the son of Richard Wallis Goold-Adams and the former Martha White, Francis entering the Royal Artillery in 1873 served in the Anglo-Afghan War of 1878-80, and saw action at Ahmed Khel and Urzoo. He must have been better than
average officer of artillery since not long after his return to England he was promoted captain (1881) and assigned to the Royal Artillery School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness as Assistant Superintendant of Experiments.

On 26 February 1885 Captain Goold-Adams was part of a team that was testing a new type of artillery fuse. A Gunner Allen was tasked with fitting the fuse to a nine-inch shell and apparently, there has been some error made in the machining of either
the fuse or the shell itself. Allen applied too much force and the shell detonated with the entire team close about the shell.

The event which occurred about 3:30 in the afternoon was recorded in the 28 February 1885 edition of The Times in graphic detail. Gunner Allen was vaporized and nothing was found of him afterward. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Lyon, Superintendent of the Royal Laboratories at Woolwich Arsenal and inventor of the fuse being tested lost both legs and died from shock. Captain Goold-Adams also lost both legs and was killed instantly. Warrant Officer Daykin, Gunner Underwood, and Colonel Fox-Strangeways, commandant of the School of Gunnery each lost one leg but also died from shock later that night. Several others were injured to one degree or another, some quite severely. Major Bally of the Royal Artillery who was some 300 yards from the explosion was struck in the head by a shell fragment knocked unconscious.

Francis Michael Goold-Adams was married to Miss Evelyn Lucy Philips-Wynne in 1881 and the couple had three daughters.   His brother, Major Sir Hamilton John Goold-Adams, GCMG, CB (27 June 1858 – 12 April 1920) served as a colonial
administrator in South Africa and as Governor of Queensland in Australia from 1915 to 1920.

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