|William Howard Livens|
|March 28, 1889 – February 1, 1964 (aged 74)|
|Place of death||London|
|Years of service||1914–1919|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Order|
|Other work||Consultant to Petroleum Warfare Department in World War II|
William Howard Livens DSO MC (28 March 1889 – 1 February 1964) was an engineer, a soldier in the British Army and an inventor particularly known for the invention of chemical warfare and flame warfare weapons. Events 37 - Roman Emperor Caligula accepts the titles of the Principate, entitled to him by the Senate. Year 1889 ( MDCCCLXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Events 1327 - Teenaged Edward III is crowned King of England, but the country is ruled by his mother Queen Year 1964 ( MCMLXIV) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the 1964 Gregorian calendar. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All The Distinguished Service Order ( DSO) is a Military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other Commonwealth countries awarded for The Military Cross ( MC) is the third level Military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993 other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including The Distinguished Service Order ( DSO) is a Military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other Commonwealth countries awarded for The Military Cross ( MC) is the third level Military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993 other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to Events 37 - Roman Emperor Caligula accepts the titles of the Principate, entitled to him by the Senate. Year 1889 ( MDCCCLXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Events 1327 - Teenaged Edward III is crowned King of England, but the country is ruled by his mother Queen Year 1964 ( MCMLXIV) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the 1964 Gregorian calendar. The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of Chemical substances to kill injure or incapacitate an enemy. A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of Fire.
Livens' parents were Frederick Howard Livens (1854-1948) and Prissie Abbott. They married on 9 October 1886 at the Upton Congregational Church. Events 768 - Carloman I and Charlemagne are crowned Kings of The Franks. Year 1886 ( MDCCCLXXXVI) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Frederick Howard Livens was Chief Engineer and later Chairman of Ruston and Hornsby in Lincoln. Ruston was an industrial equipment manufacturer in Lincoln, England, the company's history going back to 1840 Lincoln (ˈlɪŋkən is a Cathedral city and County town of Lincolnshire, England.  Frederick and Prissie had three children, William Howard and two younger daughters.
Father and son had a close relationship and collaborated on many projects.
In 1903, Livens was sent to Oundle School, a famous public school located in the ancient market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire, England. Oundle School is a public school located in the ancient market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire, England. An independent school in the United Kingdom is a school relying upon private sources for all of its funding predominantly in the form of school fees Oundle is an ancient Market town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England, with a population of 5345 (2001 Census) Northamptonshire (or archaically the County of Northampton; abbreviated Northants England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland While there, he enrolled in the Officer Training Corps (OTC) wherein he served with the rank of sergeant. Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries police forces and other uniformed organizations around the world 
On leaving school in 1908, Livens went to Christ's College at the University of Cambridge from 1908 to October 1911. Christ’s College is one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge. The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University) located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the There he enrolled in the college OTC and served with the rank of private and he was captain of the Cambridge rifle team. A Private is a Soldier of the lowest Military rank (equivalent to NATO Rank Grades OR-1 to OR-3 depending on the force served in  He was a crack shot with a rifle, making a record score in a competition with a team from Oxford University and also an excellent shot with a pistol. A marksman is a person that is skilled in Precision shooting, using projectile weapons such as with a Rifle but most commonly with a Sniper rifle, The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University" or simply "Oxford" located in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England is the 
Livens trained as civil engineer, but when the First World War started, he joined the British Army. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All 
On 4 August 1914, on graduating from the Officer Training Corps, Livens applied for a commission in the Royal Engineers. Events 70 - The Destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. Year 1914 ( MCMXIV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers ( RE) and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps  He was enrolled as a Second Lieutenant on 30 September 1914. Second Lieutenant is the lowest commissioned officer Military rank in many Armed forces. Events 1399 - Henry IV is proclaimed King of England. 1744 - France and Spain defeat the Year 1914 ( MCMXIV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year  Livens was given a clerical post in the Motorcycle signalling section at Chatham. Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway and of which two-thirds is in Gillingham and one third in Chatham, Kent, England 
According to his obituary:
|“||When he paraded for instruction in revolver shooting the sergeant in charge, not knowing his reputation as a shot, carefully explained to him how to load his weapon and take aim and the details of firing. The supposed tyro was then told to fire 10 rounds at the target and after each shot the sergeant kept repeating sympathetically: "Sorry, Sir, you're not yet on the target". After the 10 shots had been fired Livens mildly suggested a closer look at the target and all 10 shots had hit the inner bull!||”|
According to Simon Jones' book World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment, on learning that, apparently, his wife had been killed when the luxury liner RMS Lusitania had been sunk by a German torpedo with the loss of 1,100 passengers and crew, he vowed to kill an equal number of Germans. Simon Jones may refer to Simon Jones (actor (born 1950 British actor (played Arthur Dent in the BBC Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio and TV-series Construction and trials Owned by the Cunard Steamship Company built by John Brown and Company Lusitania was named for the ancient Roman province of To this end he began experimenting with gas and flame projectors of various types and continued in his work even after hearing that his wife had not, after all, been on board the Lusitania.  This version of events is consistent with family tradition. However, according to Who's Who in World War One by John Bourne, it was the first use of poison gas by the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres on 22 April 1915 that prompted Livens' vengeful ambitions. John Bourne may refer to John Bourne (artist (1943—) British artist and painter John Bourne (cricketer (1872—1952 English cricketer The use of poison gas in World War I was a major military innovation The Second Battle of Ypres was the first time Germany used poison gas on a large scale on the Western Front in World War I and the first time Events 1500 - Portuguese Navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral becomes the first European to sight Brazil. Year 1915 ( MCMXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year  This alternative account is consistent with livens later statement that he began work on the projector at the end of April 1915 - the Lusitania was sunk in May 1915 - and with the fact that Livens married Elizabth Price in 1916. 
Livens began experimenting privately. He fitted out makeshift laboratories at his Chatham barracks bedroom and in the officers' garage. For a firing rage he used vacant land near one of the old forts which overlooked the Thames estuary.  Here he worked on developing flame throwers and small mortars to throw oil and gas. 
Late in August 1915, Livens left Chatham to enlist in one of the newly formed Royal Engineer Special Gas Companies where he was one of very few members to have a background in engineering rather than chemistry.  He was soon in charge of what came to be Z company that was given the responsibility of developing a British version of the German flamethrower that had recently been deployed on the Western Front. 
However, flamethrowers proved difficult to perfect.
One day, during an attack on the Somme, Z company came encountered a party of Germans who were well dug in. Grenades did not succeed in shifting them, so Livens improvised a sort of giant Molotov cocktail using two 5 gallon oil drums. The Molotov cocktail, also known as the booze bomb, alcohol bomb or Molotov bomb, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary When these were thrown into the German positions the effect was so good that Livens' comrade Harry Strange wondered whether it would be better to use containers to flame to the enemy rather than relying on a complex flame thrower. 
Reflecting on the incident during the battle of the Somme, Livens and Strange considered how a really large shell filled with fuel might be thrown by a mortar.  Livens went on to develop a large, but simple, type of mortar that could throw an entire 3 gallon drum of oil which would burst when it landed, spreading burning oil over the target, the weapon became known as the Livens Projector. The Livens Projector was a type of mortar that was used by the Allies in World War I for Chemical warfare. Livens came to the attention of General Gough who was impressed by his ideas and "wangled" everything that Livens needed for his large projector. General Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough, GCB, GCMG, KCVO (12 August 1870 &ndash 1963 was a British World War I general who 
On the 25 July 1916 at Ovillers-la-Boisselle during the Battle of the Somme, Z Company used 80 projectors when the Australians were due to attack Posieres. Events 285 - Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler Year 1916 ( MCMXVI) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year Ovillers-la-Boisselle is a commune in the Somme département in the Picardie region of France. The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, fought from July to November 1916 was among the largest battles of the First World War The early versions had a short range and it was necessary to place the projectors 200 yards out in no-man's-land. No man's land is a term for land that is not occupied or more specifically land that is under dispute between countries or areas that will not occupy it because of fear or uncertainty The resulting barrage was highly successful in neutralising the German machine-gun posts. 
Z Company rapidly developed the Livens Projector, increasing its range, first to 350 yards and eventually an electrically triggered version with a range of 1,300 yards. This version was successfully used at Messines Ridge in June 1917. 
The Livens Projector was then modified to fire canisters of poision gas rather than oil. This system was trialled in secret, at Thiepval in September 1916 and Beaumont-Hamel in November. Thiepval is a commune in the Somme département in the Picardie region of France. Beaumont-Hamel is a commune in the Somme département in the Picardie region of France.  The Livens Projector was able to deliver a high concentration of gas a considerable distance. Each canister delivered as much gas as several chemical warfare artillery shells and without the need to reload a barrage could be launched quickly, catching the enemy by surprise. Although each projector could be fired just once during an attack, the weapon was sufficiently inexpensive to be deployed in hundreds or even thousands.
The Livens Projector was ideally suited to static trench warfare. Newer versions continued to be developed, maximum range finally reaching 2,800 yards. Its production was given a high priority, the total for the Allies of the Great War eventually exceeded 150,000 units.  Livens witnessed some projector attacks from the vantage of an aircraft and was said to have estimated that ". . . if the projectors were used on a large scale the cost of killing Germans could be reduced to sixteen shillings each. "
At the beginning of 1916 and his massive fixed flame projector was used on 1 July 1916 at the battle of the Somme. "July 1st" redirects here For the Ayumi Hamasaki song see H (song. Year 1916 ( MCMXVI) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year The Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river.
Livens also experimented with firing orange boxes filled with explosives from a hold in the ground, the intention being to cut barbed wire. A wooden box is a container made of Wood for storage or shipping Barbed wire, also known as barb wire (and frequently in dialect form spelled bob or bobbed) is a type of fencing Wire constructed 
On 14 January 1916, Livens was awarded the Military Cross. Events 1129 - Formal approval of the Order of the Templar at the Council of Troyes. Year 1916 ( MCMXVI) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year 
On 1 January 1918, Livens was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. New Year See also New Year The Ancient Romans began their consular year on January 1st since 153 BC Year 1918 ( MCMXVIII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common 
Livens was demobilised from the army on 11 April 1919. Events 491 - Flavius Anastasius becomes Byzantine Emperor, with the name of Anastasius I. Year 1919 ( MCMXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common 
Just before the end of the First World War, Livens wrote a patent for an improved version of his projector.  In mid-June 1919, Livens and his father jointly wrote a patent for an improved projectile for the Livens Projector, the principal enhancement being the construction of strong but light-weight casing by using drawn manufacturing technique. 
In 1920, Livens applied to the Royal Commission on awards for inventors in respect of his wartime work on flamethrowers and the Livens Projector. He had to wait for a hearing, which was complicated by the fact that his old comrade Harry Strange also made a claim in connection with the invention. The hearing was delayed until 27 May 1922 by which time Livens had agreed that Strange should have a share of the "plunder" from any award that might be obtained. Events 927 - Simeon the Great, Tsar of Bulgaria, dies 1120 - Richard III of Capua is anointed Year 1922 ( MCMXXII) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar.  The hearing was detailed and a number of witnesses were called including the recently retired General Gough and Charles Howard Foulkes who was then a colonel. General Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough, GCB, GCMG, KCVO (12 August 1870 &ndash 1963 was a British World War I general who 
In 1922 Livens was awarded £500 for his work on flamethrowers and £4,500 for the Livens projector and its ammunition.  (A considerable sum, £5,000 in 1922 is equivalent to just over £200,000 in 2007. )
In 1924, Livens invented a small dishwasher suitable for use in a domestic setting. A dishwasher is a mechanical device for cleaning dishes and eating utensils They can be found in Restaurants and private homes It had all the features of a modern dishwasher, including a front door for loading, a wire rack to hold crockery and a rotating sprayer.  According to family tradition, Livens built a prototype for the benefit of the family; but when it was tried out by their maidservant, she was later found in tears with water flooding across the floor. At that point the experiment was abandoned!
Livens' wife died in 1934. 
At the outbreak of war, Livens was offered the RAF rank of Air Commodore. Air Commodore ( Air Cdre in the RAF, AIRCDRE in the RNZAF and RAAF, A/C in the former RCAF) is a rank in However, he did not enlist, preferring to make his contribution to the war effort as a civilian - in which role he was free to disagree with his seniors.
In 1940, as a German invasion of Britain threatened, the British developed a number of innovative flame warfare weapons. British anti-invasion preparations of World War II entailed a large-scale division of military and civilian mobilization in response to the threat of invasion Livens joined the team of developers working at the newly formed Petroleum Warfare Department under the directorship of Sir Donald Banks. Banks described Livens thus:
|“||Colonel Livens was the typical inventor. His equipment as one remembers it was an old club blazer with numerous pockets out of which explosives of all kinds, fuses, wire and gadgets would emerge and hey presto! the most surprising detonation would occur in disconcerting places. ||”|
The Petroleum Warfare Department experimented with several proposed systems, including a number suggested by Livens. These included a system resembling his projector to send "flaming comets" onto the landing beaches, but the suggestion with the most promise was the Flame Fougasse and it was widely adopted. A fougasse is an improvised mine constructed by making a hollow in the ground or rock and filling this with explosives (originally Black powder) and projectiles 
A flame fougasse comprised a 40 gallon light steel drum filled with petroleum mixture and a small, electrically detonated explosive as a propellant charge. A fougasse is an improvised mine constructed by making a hollow in the ground or rock and filling this with explosives (originally Black powder) and projectiles The barrel was dug into the roadside with a substantial overburden and camouflaged. When the Ammonal-based propellant charge was detonated, it caused the barrel to rupture and shoot a flame 10 feet (3 m) wide and 30 yards (30 m) long. 
Tens of thousands flame fougasse barrels were deployed. Almost all were removed before the end of the war, although, incredibly, a few were missed and their remains have lasted to the present day. 
The flame fougasse has remained in army field manuals as a battlefield expedient ever since.
On 22 July 1947, Livens married Arron Perry at St Paul's Church, Winchmore Hill. Events 1099 - First Crusade: Godfrey of Bouillon is elected the first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Year 1947 ( MCMXLVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 
Livens became interest in Spiritualism and he was a honorary vice-president of the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain He was a great friend of Lord Dowding who had similar interests. Spiritualism is a Religion founded in part on the writings of the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772 The Spiritualist Association of Great Britain was established in 1872. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswell Tremenheere Dowding 1st Baron Dowding GCB, GCVO, CMG ( 24 April 1882 &ndash 15 February He attended a number of séances, including on 15 November 1932 witnessing a séance with the famous medium Rudi Schneider, although in this case it was a null result — nothing happened. A séance (ˈsay-ons is an attempt to communicate with spirits The word " séance " comes from the French word for "seat" "session" Events 655 - Battle of Winwaed: Penda of Mercia is defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria. Year 1932 ( MCMXXXII) was a Leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. Rudi Schneider ( 27 July 1908 – 1957 son of Josef Schneider and brother of Willi Schneider, was an Austrian Spiritualist and 
Livens enjoyed sailing small boats and was a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. The Royal Thames Yacht Club ( RTYC) is the oldest Sailing club in the United Kingdom.
Livens was at one point an assistant editor for Country Life magazine. Country Life is a British weekly Magazine. It covers the pleasures and joys of Rural life as well as the concerns of rural people 
A number of authors credit Livens with the rank of Major or Colonel. Major is a Military rank the use of which varies according to country Colonel ( RP ˈkɜnəl GA ˈkɜrnəl is a Military rank of a Commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every country  However, there is no evidence that he ever attained a rank higher than Captain. According to a family tradition, he was the youngest Staff Officer in the British Army and wore the appropriate collar tabs; because these were later only worn by Colonels and above, it seems possible that this distinction in uniform caused some confusion.
|NAME||William Howard Livens|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||English soldier and inventor|
|DATE OF BIRTH||1889|
|PLACE OF BIRTH|
|DATE OF DEATH||1 February 1964|
|PLACE OF DEATH|