The metal badge is not dated. It has a hand written paper insert, under a clear insert. The back has a medal backing insert, with a strong clasp pin. It is marked on the two sides as follows:
The badge measures about 2'' x 1/4''. It appears to be in excellent used condition as pictured.
Below here, for reference, is just a small bit of much information that can be easily found about this horrific Historic disaster that took place in New Jersey in 1918.:
“12 towns shattered by Morgan explosions; populace in flight.” October 5, 1918. Evening Public Ledger, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. “With scenes graphically resembling those of war devastated France, a dozen towns in northern New Jersey were in a shattered condition this afternoon as a consequence of the munition disaster”, read the Evening Public Ledger out of Philadelphia on the night of October 5, 1918. With explosions lasting into the next morning, and fires burning for three days, the Morgan Depot Explosion was a devastating blow to the town of Sayreville and surrounding neighborhoods. In total, over 300 buildings were destroyed and over $18,000,000 (1918) of damage was done, while it is believed that around 100 people lost their lives. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America. The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
October 4, 1918 - 7:30PM - Initial explosion sparks a fire at the Gillespie Company Plant in the town of Sayreville in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Fires set off multiple explosions that devastate the plant and nearby buildings in the town.
October 5, 1918 – 10AM - Explosions persist until the following morning. It was believed that there were over 12 subsequent explosions.
October 5, 1918 - The cities of Sayreville, South Amboy, and Perth Amboy were evacuated and a radius of over 10 miles around the plant was deemed unsafe. The fires burn into the next day. U.S. Coast Guardsmen that were stationed nearby were called in to aid in rescue operations.
T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion
Residents of Morgan, New Jersey flee from the Morgan Depot explosions to Perth Amboy.
Time - 7:30 p.m. Eastern time
Date - October 4, 1918
Location: Sayreville, Middlesex County, New Jersey
Casualties: Over 100 dead, Hundreds injured
The T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion, sometimes called the Morgan Depot Explosion, occurred at 7:30 p.m. on October 4, 1918 at an ammunition plant operated by the T. A. Gillespie Company and located in the Morgan area of Sayreville in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The initial explosion triggered a fire and subsequent series of explosions which continued for three days. The facility, said to be one of the largest in the world at the time, was destroyed along with more than 300 buildings, forcing reconstruction of South Amboy and Sayreville.
T. A. Gillespie
T. A. Gillespie Company, a subsidiary of the American Shell Company, was loading shells for efforts during World War I. The company was renamed Gillespie Motor Company in 1919, merged to form Gillespie-Eden Corporation in 1920, and disappeared sometime after 1923.
Damage to the area was estimated to be US $18 million and the U.S. Government paid US $300,000 in insurance to area residents, equal to approximately $4.9 million in 2012 dollars. According to a 1919 government report, the explosion destroyed enough ammunition to supply the western front for six months.
Martial law was declared following the accident, forcing the evacuation of Sayreville, South Amboy, and Perth Amboy, whose combined populations totaled approximately 62,000. The death toll for the accident is unclear, since employment records were destroyed by the explosion, but it is assumed to be over 100 persons, with hundreds more injured. The unidentified remains of 14 to 18 workers were buried in a mass grave on Ernston Road in Old Bridge. Evacuated and homeless persons were said to be more susceptible to the influenza pandemic that occurred the following winter, and the death toll in the area from the outbreak was high.
Involvement of the United States Coast Guard
Among many others involved in rescue operations were a number of United States Coast Guardsmen stationed in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Twelve received Navy Crosses for their heroic actions in the aftermath of the explosion, and two died in the effort. The award citations indicate that during the conflagration, they risked death when they relocated a train loaded with TNT that was threatened by the fire. One Navy Cross recipient was Joseph Stika, who later became a Vice Admiral.
Debris was scattered over a large area by the explosions. As late as 2007, unexploded ordnance or other material from the facility was being found in the surrounding area. On June 7, 2007, ordnance was found at Samsel Upper Elementary School while workers were grading an area for a playground. Explosive Ordnance Disposal crews were called in to remove the material. Previously, in 1994 and again in 1997, the discovery of shells near Sayreville’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School spurred cleanup operations by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which collected and disposed of a combined total of 5,080 pieces of ordnance.