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WWII bombs near Walkern

by janet on 16 September 2012 · 7 comments

WWII bombs near Walkern

Many thanks to Clive Semple for the following message and to Julian Evan-Hart for his detailed reply…

I have been trying to find the story of the five bombs that were dropped near Walkern during the war. I am interested because my family were evacuated to a cottage at Shaw Green, Rushden and the outer casings of a group of incendiary bombs fell during that night and landed in the field beside our house. Next morning we found them and there was German lettering on them which was very exciting. I was about ten years old at the time. During the night one piece of the casing got stuck in a tree close to our cottage and made a clicking noise as the wind caused it to swing backwards and forwards. We spent most of the night under the dining room table because we thought it was a time bomb. Next morning the Home Guard came and took the pieces away. Later that day we heard the news that bombs had fallen on Walkern.

 

From Julian Evan-Hart

Incendiary bombs dropped all over this area during WW2. I know of a string of them released in fields at Aston heading towards Walkern. I have found at least five nose cone sections deeply buried at about 12 inches and the surrounding clay is still showing evidence of extreme heat subjection caused by the thermite fillings which burned at over 2000 degrees.

These little bombs were of two varieties the EB1AZ 1kg bombs were the first most likely to be encountered from 1939 to the end of 1940, there then followed in 1941 a Mk2 variety that lasted until the war ended. This was some 6 inches longer and had a high explosive steel nose cone with a slow burning delay fuse up to half an hour. The Germans developed these as they fully knew the EBLAZs were being extinguished with buckets of sand, etc.

Both varieties were not released singly from aircraft but from large time-delay canisters containing 100, 200 units etc. These were often found in a very battered condition some distance away from main impact spread. I have a complete EB1AZ Mk1 in my collection and a Steel nose cone from a Mk2 as well.

If the gentleman concerned could pinpoint the field at Rushden it’s almost certain that nose sections will still remain here – a metal detecting search would easily locate them… what a timeline that would make for him eh?

Now the EB1AZ family were very sleek and didn’t have anything sticking out from them to cause them to stick in a tree. I’m wondering if the gentleman may have actually seen the 1kg Schmetterling Bomb AP more commonly referred to as the Butterfly bomb. This was like a tin of beans with a rod sticking out from the side which had two self fusing wings on it. These things were always getting trapped in trees and gutters and as they were high explosive the only way to get them was to shoot the with a .303 rifle.

The only way an EB1AZ would stick in a tree was if it penetrated into the wood and stuck there, but the wind wouldnt cause it to flap about. However alternatively the steel end tail casing of an EB1AZ might well detach and could get stuck in a tree if it still retained its gathering hook – a mystery which metal detecting could also solve I guess.

There was also a V2 rocket that landed near Walkern in 1944 but as yet I have been unable to locate this.

Since it was during the night that the gentleman recollects the incendiaries falling, then that gives us a date range of September 1940 to around June 1941 – unless it was later in war and a different type of bomb. Incendiary bombs fell all over this area as did the odd SC50 and SD50 Oil, HE and phosphorous versions, but normally in small strings or singly. This was often German bombers seeing a lone light on during blackout and

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Whitehead April 13, 2016 at 6:42 pm

To corroborate Don Swain’s account, I can recall discovering an incendiary bomb in Froghall Lane some time in the early-to-mid 1960s. At the time we lived at Cottage Pasture, and my dad wanted to have a new driveway dug next to the Savage family house. We discovered the unexploded bomb (about a foot or so long, flat nosed with crude fins) buried in the dirt.
My brother and I wanted to put it out in the field and shoot at it with a .410. For some strange reason my dad, and his WWII vet friends were against the idea. Seems like their early 1940s experiences had somehow blunted their sense of fun and adventure!
In the end the bomb was tossed into the back of the lorry that took away, and dumped the dirt and clay excavated from the new driveway. I have no idea where it was dumped — so it’s probably still awaiting its next discovery.
Another story I can share regards a discovery a bunch of us kids made while playing near the river bank behind the post office and village playground. I can’t remember exactly who all the others were, but I think Gary and Clive Reeds were there. Anyway, one of the gang announced that he had “found a tortoise” in the river bank. It certainly looked a bit like a tortoise’ shell, but when excavated out, it was found to be all metal. We kicked and threw it around for a bit, at least until somebody offered the thought that it “looked like a grenade!” After a rapid dispersal, and informing someone’s dad, the bomb disposal folks arrived and confirmed that it was indeed a standard grenade — a legacy of Home Guard exercises no doubt?
Happy days, although sometimes I wonder how we survived them!

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Don Swain October 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm

There were 2 incidents I can remember of German bombs in the Walkern area. My Sister Peggy
had come to collect me from Walkern School and as we were walking home along Stevenage Road a German plane shed his load of incendary bombs on the southern side of Froghall Lane
Peggy pushed me in to a hedge and landed on top of me .I guess the plane had been on a mission
over London and was getting rid of his load on the way back home.
I also remember a V2 exploding at Walkern Park at night time some of my mates and I went to see the large crater.
We also used to see V1 Doodlebugs heading for London and knew we were safe as long as flames were coming fro the rear of the devise.

Don Swain

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Julian Evan-Hart May 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Dear Don I would be very interested in the precise spot that the V2 landed in at Walkern Park as I have been keen on locating this for a number of years potentially with a view to possible excavation….kind regards Jules.

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conrice burrows September 18, 2014 at 8:59 pm

landed in peter leaches field backing on to walkern park

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Julian Evan-Hart April 10, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Dear Conrice apologies for severe delay in replying. I was wondering if you could give me some more precise details as to where the V2 exploded. Kind regards Jules.

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Flora Moxon September 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Last year I purchased one of the Wealden cottages (36, High Street) in Walkern.
The builder who carried out the renovation of the cottage in 2009-2010 told me that a WW11 device (thought to be a bomb) was discovered in the floor of the adjacent cottage during the renovation. The device was removed by the local bomb disposal unit and turned out to be a “flare” device dropped to provide light in the projected bombing target area…
I understand that the event received media attention since local residents were evacuated while the “bomb” was removed!

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