WWII bombs near Walkern
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