Wow. Thats some story.
A live gate-guard....
This is a story I came across recently and thought I would share. It also beggars the question how many other historic pieces of kit used as monuments by proud cities or towns could hold little surprises!
Some old pics of the Bomb in question...I looked at them and thought bloody hell.Apparently when Lincolnshire County Council were widening the road past RAF Scampton's main gate in about 1958, the 'gate guards' there had to be moved to make way for the new carriageway. Scampton was the WWII home of 617 Sqn, and said "gate guards" were a Lancaster...and a Grand Slam bomb.
When they went to lift the Grand Slam, thought for years to just be an empty casing, with an RAF 8 Ton Coles Crane, it wouldn't budge. "Oh, it must be filled with concrete" they said. Then somebody had a horrible thought .... No!..... Couldn't be? ... Not after all these years out here open to the public to climb over and be photographed sitting astride! .... Could it? .... Then everyone raced off to get the Station ARMO. He carefully scraped off many layers of paint and gingerly unscrewed the base plate.
Yes, you guessed it, live 1944 explosive filling! The beast was very gently lifted onto an RAF 'Queen Mary' low loader, using a much larger civvy crane (I often wonder what, if anything, they told the crane driver), then driven slowly under massive police escort to the coastal experimental range at Shoeburyness. There it was rigged for demolition, and when it 'high ordered', it proved in no uncertain terms to anyone within a ten mile radius that the filling was still very much alive!
Exhaustive investigations then took place, but nobody could find the long-gone 1944, 1945 or 1946 records which might have shown how a live 22,000 lb bomb became a gate guard for nearly the next decade and a half. Some safety distance calculations were done, however, about the effect of a Grand Slam detonating at ground level in the open. Apart from the entire RAF Station, most of the northern part of the City of Lincoln, including Lincoln Cathedral, which dates back to 1250, would have been flattened.
Wow. Thats some story.
A live gate-guard....
D'oh! Very strange story, indeed.
Surely somebody must have wondered why it was so heavy when they loaded it up? Or if the guys loading the bomb didnt know where it was going, just another day of loading bombs, and the guys moving the plane into position didnt know what was on it!
that is one hell of a lack of communication.
Lol, sexy looking bomb, shame they destroyed it.
no harm no foul. i'd get a replica made. thats some cool history for the town. you could tell tourists or passerby's the story and let them know its real. instill some awe as they carefully move by. act woefully ignorant as they gawk, get in their cars and haul ass.
Flatten Lincoln.......hmm, about 30 quid's worth of damage then
If the bomb had gone off and flattened Lincoln cathedral the the RAF pilots at Waddington would not have a landmark to navigate by anymore.
Nice find Superbootie
There was Another Bomb nearly the same weight that the Lanc also carried ..I remeber seeing a pic of it looked like a oversized Oil drum .. and designed by Sir Barnes Wallis .. I'll try find more info ..
Last edited by timetraveller; 11-06-2007 at 04:18 PM. Reason: edit ..correction
The "over sized oil drum" to which you refer was code named 'Upkeep' (9200lb/4173kg total weight) containing 6600lb/2994kg of RDX high explosive and are more commonly known as "The Bouncing Bomb" made famous by RAF 617 Squadron in the attack against the Ruhr dams. Wallis also created a smaller version of 'Upkeep' known as 'Highball' which were spherical in shape and intended to be carried in tandem aboard RAF Mosquito aircraft. Each 'Highball' contained 600lb/272kg of Torpex high explosive.
The only aircraft capable of carrying these was the Lancaster. Mind you they removed the upper turret and front turret so that the aircraft had a better range and ceiling. Once these aircraft had dropped their bomb they were the fastest Lancasters around. See attached pics.
They are as follows:
Top L - R: 12000lb Tallboy being hiosted, Tallboy in bomb bay (note doors were modified and the bomb held in place with a chain), Lancaster with a Grand Slam (Fuselage was modified and no bomb bay doors.
Middle: L - R Grand slam carrying Lanc showing fuselage mod and no front/upper turrets, 2 Grand slam Lancs with a standard B.I Lanc.
Bottom: There she goes - A test Grand slam after release at Ashley Walk bombing range, Hants.