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Author Topic: Bouncing Bomb's  (Read 17179 times)

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Offline ETA

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Re: Bouncing Bomb's
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 16:48:36 »
The task was carried out over a weekend, and it was mostly Territorial Army personnel who did it, supported by the regular Army and RAF.

The practice bombs were various prototypes of different shapes, sizes and so on, and were dropped by modified Mosquito aircraft.  Some of the prototypes disappeared into the mud, while some were not worth recovering at the time.  The bombs were mostly Dambuster prototypes, though some other bomb types were found.  They were exposed by various low tides.

The project was planned by a Major Ian Stanton and Captain Paul Sanderson, both Royal Engineers from the Regular Army.  It was carried out by soldiers from 101 (London) Engineer Regiment (EOD) (Volunteers) from Rochester, Dartford and Holloway.  Other people assisted: a liaison officer from RAF Manston was present, as was a SNCO from the RAF's EOD Flight in Wittering (whose task it was to confirm that there was no explosive hazard, although it was already believed that they were filled with concrete, chalk and clay - "chicol" - to make them the same weight and density as the live bombs would be).  The guest of honour, so to speak, was Barnes Wallis Junior, son of the bouncing bombs' inventor.

Over the course of the weekend 30 May - 1 Jun the operation took place was headed up by the CO of 101 Regt, Lt Col Robert Murfin TD RE(V), and his spokesman, Captain Alan Conroy RE(V) was the Press Officer.  The first bomb out had been washed close to the shore by a heavy wind/tide combination and was dragged out on the end of a long hawser.  The remaining three had to be rolled by teams of men up to their necks in mud, and later on, as the tide came in, mud, using traditional weight-moving techniques as it wasn't possible to get either plant or boats to the bombs' location on the mud flats.  The largest bomb, a cylindrical UPKEEP, had to be anchored and left to the following tide after a hawser slipped and it was deemed too unsafe to carry on that evening.

After the recovery, there was a lot of interest in who would keep the bombs once they had been declared Free From Explosive and released by the MOD.  They were initially held by the Invicta Military Preservation Society, where they were cleaned up and some restoration took place.  They were displayed together to the public at the War and Peace Show at the Whitbread Hop Farm 18 - 20 Jul 1997.  One, a HIGHBALL, was sent to the Mosquito Museum in Hertfordshire.  A trial device  was retained by the MOD and placed in its own bomb museum in Chatham, while the other two went to public museums in Kent.

I think that's about all I can tell you - if you want to know more about the bombs themselves then most of what I know is already on the Internet.

AnDy

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Re: Bouncing Bomb's
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 23:49:20 »
Please continue...Were all ears.. :)

Offline ETA

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Bouncing Bomb's
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 19:21:21 »
There were also several prototypes recovered from the North Sea off Reculver in May 1997 by the Army.  It was quite an epic recovery - 4 bombs were recovered during a low tide.  The only clippings I have kept are from the Kent Messenger of before and after the weekend, but I can fill in  few more details if anyone's interested.


 

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