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He recalled how: ‘For the most part the course at Melksham gave us a good grounding on bombs and fuzes, on how they acted, on safety precautions, and on some of the methods of bomb disposal such as the use of special machines to cut out discs of metal by remote control. You can write a poem to go in our on. Posts: 12 Quote: Originally Posted by MPN11. Wine accessories fitted inside box, including Cork Screw, pourer, and other anscilliaries for your wine. The squadron was formed in 1943 and by 1945 it had made safe 176,000 weapons. A Mk8b Wheelbarrow bomb disposal robot at RAF Wittering (Picture: MOD). After 80 years, the RAF's bomb disposal squadron has been disbanded. 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron was created 75 years ago and is based at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire. Discover our brand new green space in which to picnic and relax, When you need to refuel during your visit why not visit Claude's between Hangars 2 and 6? Engraved wooden box, with Bomb Disposal crest, date. Since June 1995, and their disbandment in 2020, 5131 (BD) were based at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire and had responsibility for the disposal of air delivered weapons in the United Kingdom. There is still the same pendulum between the development of bombs, with new features intended to make them increasingly dangerous to their intended victims, and the development of new techniques by which these devices can be made safe. to our Health and Safety measures. I think twelve of those were IEDs or something, I can’t remember but it was just the sheer work, I was finishing one, doing the next, doing the next, doing the next, doing the next so it was just continual, catch a bit of sleep and as soon as I could, do some more.’. RAF bomb disposal teams have, from the Second World War onwards and alongside their British Army, Royal Navy and civilian colleagues, made a significant contribution to this work. LONDON (AP) — It's the end of an era for Britain's Royal Air Force: Its only bomb disposal squadron is being disbanded, 75 years after it was formed to disarm unexploded German bombs. What is on record is the minutes of a conference held at the Scopwick airfield in November 1917 that co… Cosford is now in Tier 3 and closed area & closed until further notice. 42 (Expeditionary Support) Wing (42 ESW). The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone one from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts. Here, we look back on the history of RAF bomb disposal. 5131 was the only UK military EOD team that was qualified to deal with ejector seats, aircraft canopies and bomb disposal work undertaken in the airfield environment. The clockwork mechanism could be set to detonate a bomb after an interval of anything up to more than eighty hours after being dropped, and there was no way of knowing how any particular bomb had been set; from the point of view of the bomb disposal teams, they could potentially go off at any moment. The RAF's only bomb disposal squadron, formed 75 years ago to deal with unexploded German bombs, is to be disbanded, with the Army taking over its duties. A Royal Air Force bomb disposal squadron formed 75 years ago and currently based at RAF Wittering is to be disbanded. Although the RAOC had expertise in handling munitions, skilled personnel were not always called on in such situations. So why not adopt this armband for a piece of RAF history? However, the decision's been made. In 1982 an RAF bomb disposal team was sent to the Falkland Islands as part of the task force following the Argentinean invasion. which is very sad for the trade, very sad for the air force. It was intensive training, and being new to the service and somewhat awed by the mass of information we were expected to absorb, we worked hard and soberly. How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum Cosford by car, train, bus or bike. Bomb disposal has developed a great deal since 1939, when Arthur Merriman and Eric Moxey approached the UK’s first unexploded bombs of the Second World War. These squadrons would continue to serve through the rest of the war, several of them landing in Normandy in 1944 and one – No. In addition, considerations such as climate, terrain and the threat of Taliban attack made the use of robots and protective ‘bomb suits’ impractical on many occasions. Courses in bomb disposal were run at various locations during the Second World War, including the RAF Armament School at RAF Manby in Lincolnshire. Charlton was later sent to the Far East where, under slightly mysterious circumstances, he recovered a number of Japanese bombs and fuzes from China, providing valuable intelligence on a previously unknown area (a fuze was the component of a bomb that causes it to explode. Watch The RAF Museum Virtual Conference 2020, Battle of Britain Groundcrew 7 to 13 September, Battle of Britain Aircrew 31 Aug to 6 Sep, Sir Alan Cobham ; A Life of a Pioneering Aviator, An Enduring Relationship : A History of Friendship between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman. DBD (Directorate of Bomb Disposal) had been accommodated in Romney House, Marsham Street, London, throughout the war. Warrant Officer Hunt is the last Squadron Warrant Officer for 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron. However, during the conflict in Afghanistan the RLC’s High-Threat IED course – the training course through which a bomb disposal operator became qualified to deal with the devices found in Iraq and Afghanistan – was opened to personnel from other branches of the armed forces and Dave Lowe, an armourer by trade, was the first member of the RAF to pass this highly demanding course. Fabulous condition! While the weapons used by the armed forces of nation states are likely to have been produced by a known manufacturer and to conform to identifiable patterns, the unpredictable nature and highly variable quality and complexity of IEDs have made them particularly difficult to deal with. The UK’s first unexploded bombs of the Second World War were dealt with by Arthur Merriman, a civilian specialist who had served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during the First World War, and Flight Lieutenant (later Squadron Leader) Eric Moxey at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands late in 1939. With the peace came demobilisation and a drastic reduction in all army units. The RAF’s specialist bomb disposal unit, No. Even so, weapons such as this could cause a great deal of disruption simply by their presence, and introduced a greater degree of danger and uncertainty to the bomb disposal operator’s work; this was even more the case when used in conjunction with other types of fuze, such as those designed to detonate the bomb if it was moved or tampered with. The first action of the war leading to the award of a George Cross (although not the first medals to be awarded) was that of Flight Lieutenant (later Squadron Leader) John Dowland and Mr Len Harrison (an ex-RAF civilian armaments instructor) for their actions in dealing with an unexploded bomb in a steamship at Immingham Docks near Grimsby in February 1940. And the one in the roof, we couldn’t get at really, we’d have [had] to drop it to get at it, so again I was convinced it wasn’t going to go off so we left it and the army follow-up teams took it out.’. Want to know more about how to leave a Legacy to the RAF Museum? In announcing the news on Thursday, November 8, a spokesman said the decision to disband 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron had been taken as there was a "high level of duplication" between the British Army and RAF's bomb disposal capabilities. Thread Tools Search this Thread 18th Nov 2018, 22:10 #21 HamishDylan . Some of the techniques have themselves endured for a long time, perhaps in some cases by virtue of their simplicity – the use of a cord to pull a component out of a bomb from a safe distance is one example. RAF Bomb Disposal unfortunately has just been, it's just been announced as just being disbanded. The IEDs (or ‘roadside bombs’) used in Iraq and Afghanistan during the early years of the 21st Century posed a further significant threat and these, as with the bombs found in Northern Ireland, would normally be dealt with by the ATOs of the RLC. Specially created for visitors 3 - 8 by our Access and Learning Team, See what events are planned at our London site, Read the latest news from our London Museum, Iconic and fascinating objects from the Museum’s collection. Bomb disposal did not escape. Let us not forget the RAF Regt mini-tanks. The device, estimated to have weighed up to 10,000 pounds, was discovered in a sand quarry less than 2000 metres from the village of Corfe Mullen. The squadron latterly operated out of RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire as an element of No. This was more amusing than instructive because, at the first lecture, the instructor began by saying: “Of course we know nothing about German bombs yet, so we will give you this brief course on our own bombs and pyrotechnics”. Take part in the Lancaster Challenge and keep fit while helping the Museum during this difficult period. No. The yard was mostly engaged in breaking up surplus RAF aircraft. Location: Wiltshire. Plan your visit, see when the RAF Museum Cosford is open. The impact on training of the experience gained in a short time is perhaps illustrated by Alec Haarer, who trained in bomb disposal at RAF Melksham towards the end of 1940. The organisation of RAF bomb disposal developed further in April 1943, with the formation of a wing headquarters overseeing the work of six bomb disposal squadrons. My role includes caring for the film and sound collection, cataloguing new material, recording of oral history interviews, processing enquiries from the general public, film and television producers and the preparation of audio-visual material for the museum’s exhibitions. Two RAF bomb disposal specialists, Ted Costick and Alan Swan, each awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, highlight some of this work. It can be the sheer amount of IEDs, so it could be that there’s so many of them that it was dangerous by that virtue, it could involve suicide bombers, so they’ve got a suicide bomb threat and multiple devices linked together.’. As Dave Lowe, an RAF bomb disposal operator, explained, RAF bomb disposal teams provide ‘specialist knowledge for things like ejection seats and missiles … it gives a subject-matter expert view on air-delivered weapons, on how they operate, how they work and what needs to be done to them’. "For 75 years the squadron has lived by its motto - 'To make the harmful harmless' - in their operational role and the countless occasions in which they have assisted the civilian authorities to maintain public safety.". Bomb disposal specialists also had to be fully aware of traps built into British bombs. RAF Harlaxton was a Royal Air Force station near the village of Harlaxton, 3 mi (4.8 km) south west of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England. Published Great aviation gift ideas for all the family, Leave a gift that inspires future generations, Fascinating workshops to inspire the next generation, Copyright © 2018 Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum. Chocks away! Join other runners, joggers and walkers as they undertake our virtual challenge. The JSBDS was made up of Royal Engineers and Royal Navy demolition parties being trained alongside their RAF counterparts. 45 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps in France, recalled how a suspected unexploded bomb on the Squadron’s airfield was dug up for inspection by a team with no training or experience in bomb disposal work – and discovered to be an unexploded British anti-aircraft shell. 1 x Bottle of Red wine, produced locally to RAF Wittering, the home of RAF Bomb Disposal. In our final week of lockfdown we look at some of our highlights from the last 12 weeks. He screwed them back by hand into the fuzes enabling the bomb disposal scientists to dismantle them and use them for instructional purposes. Mike Stocks, a former commanding officer of No. Here, we look back on the history of RAF bomb disposal. Army bomb disposal experts at the site prior to Brimstone clearing the site of UXO. I became the curator of film and sound at the RAF Museum in 2010. In Afghanistan, the IEDs found were not necessarily very complex in their design, but the sheer number of devices planted by the Taliban caused a significant problem for western forces in the country. At RAF Wittering, Group Captain Tony Keeling said, “Everyone at RAF Wittering and across the wider Royal Air Force will be deeply saddened by the disbandment of 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron. RAF Wittering bomb disposal squadron to be disbanded The bomb disposal squadron based at RAF Wittering is set to be disbanded. The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force.Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Nevertheless, when, a few days after the blitz on Ford, two holes in the ground were discovered, obviously containing unexploded bombs, “Fish” sent for me and said: “You’ve just done the unexploded bomb course at Manby, so go and dig ‘em up”.’. Sit in our Mk16 Spitfire and receive a tour of its cockpit or try out our new virtual reality experience and pilot your own Spitfire. In August 1940 due to the increased workload generated by the war, twenty five more mobile bomb disposal squads were formed. [18][19]Between 1970 and 1987, 5131 used Orford Nessas a site to … 5131 Squadron, explained how ‘We had a call-out responsibility for improvised explosive devices and conventional devices, so we had an area, a patch based around Wittering that we had to respond to, in 10 minutes and 30 minutes respectively for the teams.’. Squadron Leader Eric Moxey, who had participated in the disposal of the unexploded bombs at Sullom Voe in the Shetlands and made a significant contribution to the development of the automatic fuze extractor, was called to RAF Biggin Hill on 27 August 1940 to deal with unexploded bombs that appeared to have new features, possibly including the ZUS 40. 233480. Over thirty five years of exemplary service ended today when Warrant Officer Phil Hunt of 5131 (Bomb Disposal) Squadron retired from the Royal Air Force. Whilst dealing with eight that had fallen on RAF Harlaxton and failed to explode, Flight Sergeant Hanford of RAF Bomb Disposal from nearby RAF Digby noticed that the arming rods had not fully withdrawn. Alan Swan and his team then moved on to Goose Green: ‘My prime directive was to go to Goose Green and clear a Harrier landing strip, which we did, and when we got there we found napalm by the ton on these steel-runnered sledges in the establishment, where the people lived and so that was a major effort trying to get that out without striking sparks and then when we blew it up, Christ, I didn’t know that napalm would blow up like that but it was a massive explosion, massive, and we looked up and we could see one of these things had flattened out, it was the size, like two of those doors, we could see it spinning, coming down to earth, like that, we were running this way, that way, wow, it would have taken you to pieces.’, RAF bomb disposal teams would continue to deal with a variety of situations, involving conventional and terrorist weapons, through the years after the Falklands War, but it was not until the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s that an RAF bomb disposal team would again deploy overseas. Experience, however, developed rapidly with the rising tempo of German air raids on the UK. Contact us on 020 8205 2266 or london@rafmuseum.org. Again the shells should not have been destroyed on the bombing range as … Some things, on the other hand, have changed little. 407270, RAF's Only Bomb Disposal Squadron To Be Disbanded, Troops Give Civilians Insight Into Bomb Disposal Work, Support Worker - Residential/Supported Living Support Staff. If the fuzes could be recovered intact they would provide valuable information, essential for operators dealing with similar bombs in future. As Alan Swan remembered: ‘It was a bomb in the roof, a bomb in the fridge; the bomb in the fridge had a fuze that I think, they made it up, just welded this on, welded that on, and we had no kit that we could [use] to get at it, and I spoke to the colonel and he said ‘well, we’re going to Stanley shortly, so is it going to go off? Find out the latest news and updates for our Cosford site, Plan a day, see the opening hours & closure dates for RAF Museum London. Join Date: Sep 2007. I said “well, I would say no”, but, I said, just to put my money where my mouth is, I’ll sleep in that room and a) it was the only empty room, because it had an unexploded bomb in it and b) I was convinced it wasn’t going to go off. Charges apply. Sign up now to the Lancaster Challenge starting on 9 January 2021 on 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Avro Lancaster. How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum London by car, train, bus or bike. 13 Bomb Disposal Section 1 Squadron, RAF Regiment 148 Squadron 11 Operational Training Unit 4 Squadron Far East Air Force Queen's Colour Squadron, RAF Regiment 11 Squadron RAF Odiham Station Flight 514 Squadron 166 Squadron Royal Air Force Training Base, Leuchars 138 Squadron 230 Squadron 15 Bomb Disposal Squad 1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit 1 (LAA) Wing, RAF … The airfield was located in a triangle of flat fields midway between Harlaxton Manor (now the University of Evansville's British campus) and the nearby village of Stroxton.. and the main proportion of Bomb Disposal. From his own experience, Lowe recalled how: ‘There was a big clearance of a road and there was basically an IED belt along this highway, if you want to call it that, it wasn’t tarmacked or anything but we needed to clear that road to link up forces and it was a huge operation and in two kilometres of road in about 48 hours I think I probably did nineteen tasks. 14 BD Coy disbanded in February 1946, followed by 20 BD Coy in May. Mervyn Base, an RAF armourer who trained in bomb disposal at RAF Melksham in 1940, similarly remembered how ‘This course was largely based on the practical knowledge gained by Army personnel in the field, and as a result was somewhat limited’ and that at the end of the course the officer in charge said ‘Well chaps, that’s all we know to date, the rest I’m afraid you will have to find out for yourselves’. Mr Hunt joined the RAF in 1984 as a weapons mechanic at the age of sixteen. 5131 Squadron, disbanded last month, with its responsibilities passing to the British Army. Properly, as it was in farm land, it should have been referred to civpol, the fields would have been evacuated, a main road closed and the Army called. The RAF’s only bomb disposal squadron is to be disbanded with the Army taking over its duties. An RAF spokesman said Friday there will be "no change to public safety" when the 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron is phased out in April 2020. An example of the ZUS 40 was retrieved for examination only days later in south Wales by Lt Archer of the Royal Engineers. However, when the Home Guard disbanded in 1944, it appears that unauthorised disposal of surplus ammunition occurred at the site. Armament School at Manby, in Lincolnshire, for a one week course on “Unexploded Bombs”. Contact us on 01902 376 200 or cosford@rafmuseum.org. It lived up to its motto 'to make the harmful harmless'. Whether dropped by the Luftwaffe or planted by the Taliban, this, more than anything, has stayed the same. All members of the squadron had first trained as weapons technicians and will be redeployed across the RAF, the spokesman said. We knew that safety for ourselves and our men depended on our ability to recognize one fuze from another and how it operated.’. RAF Bomb Disposal to be disbanded. Please read on >, 93% of visitors give the thumbs up Over many years an increasingly sophisticated organisation has developed to deal with these weapons, to which all three services have contributed, together with government and civilian agencies. 6209 Bomb Disposal Flight. A group to coordinate the celebration of the disbandment of 5131(BD) Sqn and RAF EOD Like every airman of his generation, basic training was completed at RAF Swinderby before trade training at RAF … 5131 (Bomb Disposal) Squadron, recalled how, in conjunction with the Royal Engineers, they ‘carried out hundreds of tasks in Kosovo, the guys were doing between eight and thirteen tasks a day, the teams, they were going out at first light, back at last light, we worked with loads of different nations out there, we worked with loads of the non-government organisations, Mine Action Clearance and all those sort of people.’  The value of deploying both RAF and Royal Engineers to Kosovo was also highlighted; as Haygarth explained: ‘They were really good with land-service ammunition, mines and mortars and things, we were really good with air-dropped bombs.’, Dave Lowe, an RAF NCO with No. It had been dropped during an attack on the dam in October 1944, and was made safe by a German specialist, Walter Mitzke, working with Flt Lt J M Waters, officer commanding the RAF’s No. At this eatery you will find a variety of delicious home-made offerings to suit all tastes and pockets. Second World War bombs have, however, continued to appear up until the present day and there has, since 1945, been an ongoing need to deal with these weapons as they are found. Turkish air attacks during the conflict of 1974 provided a considerable amount of work for Costick and his bomb disposal teams, including a bomb buried in mud, a 750lb bomb in a 6th-floor hotel room in Famagusta and the clearance of a number of unexploded weapons from Nicosia International Airport. The technology involved has clearly developed a great deal, and the situation in Iraq or Afghanistan in the early 21st Century was a long way removed from that of the UK in the 1940s. Charity Registered in England No. The squadron will be phased out by April 2020. LONDON (AP) — It's the end of an era for Britain's Royal Air Force: Its only bomb disposal squadron is being disbanded, 75 years after it was formed to disarm unexploded German bombs. Flt Lt Alan Swan, commander of the team, was called on to deal with two unexploded bombs lodged in the hospital at Ajax Bay. Sign up to receive the Newsletter to be kept up to date with current news and future events. By June 1940, Manby housed the Joint Services Bomb Disposal School. An RAF spokesman said the closure was not a money-saving exercise but was about ending a duplication of effort with the Army’s bomb disposal units. The_Royal_Air_Force_Museum_London-London_England.html">. The Y fuze, first dropped on London in 1943, was another development, specifically designed to kill bomb disposal operators, and it was only due to luck, in that the first bomb encountered was faulty, that officers of the British Army’s Royal Engineers were able to retrieve an example and develop a procedure for dealing with it. Find out about our recruitment process, what you gain and who our volunteering is for (everyone! He has successfully undertaken many dangerous missions with undaunted and unfailing courage.’. According to Chadwick it was ‘easy to identify but not to deal with’ and a number of British Army bomb disposal specialists were lost to it, in addition to its intended German victims. Our London site is now in a Tier 4 A spokesman for RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, where 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron is based, said there will be "no change to public safety" and no redundancies as a result of the change. LONDON (AP) — It’s the end of an era for Britain’s Royal Air Force: Its only bomb disposal squadron is being disbanded, 75 years after it was formed to disarm unexploded German bombs. Find out more >, , < a target= '' _blank '' href= '' https: The_Royal_Air_Force_Museum_London-London_England.html! To EOD alerts throughout the United Kingdom and had an additional role to undertake worldwide and currently based at Wittering. 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