I’m not sure where this is, I can’t find any info out, but think it’s possibly at Harford dump, which is where most of the defused stuff ended up, or it might be the depot in Ipswich. I’m on my way to getting some names for these chaps. Interesting to note that so far 3 names have turned up and all have a George Medal. all belong to 8 Bomb Disposal Section, 4 Bomb Disposal Company. I will update this, promise*.
The Royal Engineers don’t just dig trenches and put up bridges as you can tell… Quite often High Explosive bombs were fitted with a butterfly switch which closed on impact and fired the detonator, sometimes these stuck, It was not uncommon to also fit a secondary timer fuse and an anti-handling device which were sometimes just a light sensitive cell that released a charge and fired it. So, rather than tinker with the fuse, the engineers would often drill out the case and steam out the high explosive. Because if you jolted it, it would all end very suddenly.
A fabulous photo, it is made doubly poignant that I believe all of these men died whilst defusing a bomb in Great Yarmouth not much later in the war.
*It’s Anchor Quay, Norwich, just to the rear of the first houses on Oak Street.
Theatre Street, Norwich 1942.
One of two, this is just opposite the top of William Booth Street, which used to be Church Street, right outside Hatch Brenner, next to St Stephens Church, which it just missed. The Wall pier was the giveaway. I knew it was somewhere round here, and after ten minutes looking found it, I’ve seen this described as UXB on Church Street which it quite clearly wasn’t, if this had gone off on impact, it would have probably taken the side out of the church.
I love their faces. I have a name for the lieutenant standing middle background somewhere, Which I’ll add. If anyone has any names of anyone in the local bomb disposal, I’d like to know, also the chap in the quite spivvy suit, he appears to be sporting what I think is a RAMC badge on his lapel (I could be very wrong).
Original Photo: George Swain, scanned from an original photographic print.
Theatre Street, Norwich 1942
This one is enough to make your average man’s blood run cold, I mean, he’s listening to it with a stethoscope, presumably to see if it’s still ticking… …all nonchalent like, smoking his pipe.
Waterloo Park, Norwich 1942
We walk our dog here, I stood in a flowerbed, this is a very dangerous and muddy thing to do, not maybe quite as muddy or dangerous as it was for these gentlemen. Believed to be June 1942 and would have been dropped on the first night of the raids, 27th April 1942, trying to bag city station on the banks of the Wensum where Halfords is.
Original Photo: George Swain, Private collection. Blitz ghosts.