Doodle Bugs & Buzz Bombs
This V1 flying bomb crashed without exploding! But nearly wrecked a barracks full of polish airmen A UXB V1 was a very rare thing as the vast numbers which were sent over from the Continent usually did their job of terrorising the population of the home counties. The V1 worked by employing a ram jet engine into which was fed neat petrol (Gasoline). Once the engine was running, the bomb was launched from a ski slope towards London and the The weapon guidance was by a gyro and a pre determined amount of fuel, usually just enough to get to London where the fuel ran out causing the bomb to fall to its target. The V weapons were indiscriminate in the destruction of our cities and very few were ever found unexploded.
On the 29th of August 1944, British troops in France, led by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, destroyed the V1 launching sites in the Pas de Calais. The first phase of the German V-weapon attack was over.
In total, 6,725 flying bombs had been seen over Britain, almost all of them over London, Kent and Surrey. Nearly 3,500 had been destroyed by fighter planes, A.A. guns or barrage balloons. 2,340 had hit London causing 5,475 deaths and injuring 16,000.
The Upminster Bomb Cemetery
Shown here is a map with the location of the bomb cemetery at Upminster. The location was the sandpits near Gerpins Farm in a remote area to the East of Hornchurch Airfield. Experimental and research work was done here in relative safety under the control of No 25 BD Squad.
An incident happened here, which cost the life of the C.O. The 2Kg "Butterfly" bomb or Splitterbombe SD2 had already killed a lot of BD personnel because it was impossible to move or disturb. Sometimes it got stuck in roofs and caught in trees and disturbing it to clear the area was usually fatal to the BD Operator. Usually they were dealt with by shooting or jerking with a long string. They were lethal up to 70 yards.
None were available for instructional use until Sgt. Cann & 2nd Lt. Taylor of the Royal Engineers found some in Ipswich on October 28th 1940. Noticing that the arming rods had not fully withdrawn, they screwed them back into the fuzes enabling the scientists to dismantle them and use them for instructional purposes. Flt Lt Hanford was awarded the BEM for a similar feat at Harlaxton. There was and still is no method of rendering this nasty little bomb safe once it has armed. They still turn up in woods and lofts to this day.
The tragedy mentioned earlier happened when a butterfly bomb exploded at the Upminster site on November 27th 1956 injuring Flt Lt Herbert Denning who was examining it. He died of his injuries at Oldchurch Hospital on the same day. Hornchurch closed in 1962; the bomb cemetery was evacuated and filled in for a refuse dump as shown in the photograph next to the map.
The Butterfly Bomb
The "Butterfly Bomb" or SD2 was a small weapon of about 2Kg in weight which were packed in a container holding 23 in total which resembled a 50Kg bomb. When dropped, the container split open spilling its contents of butterfly bombs. The bombs, when packed had an outer thin metal cover the same shape as the bomb which hinged in two halves and opened after a short delay to reveal vanes which rotated as it descended to remove an arming spindle to arm the fuze.
The bomb could be fitted with a number of different fuzes, i.e. No 41, No 67, No 70B. The 41 fuze was designed to explode on impact. The 67 was a delayed action and very dangerous fuze as there was no way to tell if the bomb would explode immediately it was moved or whether it was ticking or not. the 70B was just as evil because it was designed to be a booby trap and explode immediately the bomb was moved.
The problems encountered when these bombs were dropped were compounded when they were found hanging in houses, in organ lofts, on fences, on telegraph wires, down sewers, in hangars containing aircraft in fact everywhere they were dropped became an area problem for the BD Crews. The SD2 was in effect an area denial weapon.
SD 2A and SD 2B "Butterfly" Technical Specifications
Over-All Length: 3.5 in.
Filling: Cast TNT surrounded by a layer of bitumen
The body of the bomb is a cylindrical cast
iron casing. A fuzing pocket is situated transversly in the side of the body.
The SD 2A and SD 2 B differ only in the method in which the fuze is secured to
the bomb. The fuze is threaded into the SD 2A while it is secured in the SD 2B
by a bayonet joint and two U-shaped safety clips.
HITLERS LEGACY These may still be found today. Should you find one of these evil little devices today PLEASE leave it alone, do not allow anyone near it and call the Police on 999 who will call the nearest Bomb Disposal Experts to deal with it.