Coast Guards, Cornwall 1945

As always from British Pathé, this film from 1945 is a fabulous period piece – but look out for the cracking bit of footage about firing a rescue rocket. My thanks to Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis for the link.

The sad deaths of Just Buisson and a young helper by exploding rocket boat, Paris 1886

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Buisson and his assistant’s sad death by exploding rocket boat, 1886

The rocket boat explodes into a thousand pieces

It’s clearly French Week at, as we limber up for a lightning trip to Paris on Friday. This engraving depicts the explosion that killed the rocket power experimenter Just Buisson and a young helper, and badly burned his assistant Al Ciurcu a little way downstream from the Pont de Clichy bridge in 1886. Ciurcu recovered and continued with his rocket development work, by the way. I’d never for a second imagined that I might see a rocket engine in a clinker-built boat!

The basic boat was designed and built with displacement for a crew of six oarsmen.

The engraving below shows what the boat looked like before the explosion. For more on Buisson, a photo of his boat and a discussion of early rocket development generally, click here.

Just Buisson’s sad death by exploding rocket boat, 1886

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