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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

UXB - any WW1 organisation


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A not insignificant amount of bombs fell on London, Paris, various German cities and other places. Although I have seen no evidence of deliberately delayed fuses by the very nature of things some will not have exploded. There is an account in one book on British WW2 bomb disposal of the duty officer being alerted that the clearance of bomb damage had revealed a number of UXBs of hitherto unknown design. He attended with a heavy heart as a new design could well mean a new and unknown type of fuse with different anti handling devices. He was somewhat relieved when the bombs turned out to be WW1 in origin with relatively simple fuzes. The bombs had hit the building in a WW1 raid, passed through the roof and several floors and ended up in the basement. The damage had been repaired without any one uncovering the bombs which had stayed there until the Luftwaffe hit the building in WW2.

This does show that there were UXBs in WW1 - was there any organisation, procedure etc for dealing with such in Britain, France or Germany?

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I am reading 'First Blitz',by N.hanson at present and have come to the point where the Smuts Committee on AIR ORGANISATION and HOME DEFENCE AGAINST AIR-RAIDS is coming into effect. So far[and I've sneaked a look at the index and found no ref. to UXBs] I have not found any sort of organisation that is specific to unexploded bombs,although there IS a ref. to a "delayed-action bomb".

A wonderful photograph of a CHIEF CONSTABLE,no less,examining an undetonated incendiary,would point to the Police being very much involved at this stage and Constables may have needed a little inspiration from the top in what would have been a very nervy job! Apparently,MANY incendiaries failed to detonate.

Your tale from WW2 does appear to go some way to answer a question I posed in the thread on London Air Raids. Thanks.


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It was just another job for the Royal Engineers to grapple with. If bomb disposal was done in the front line it could result in the VC; I've come accross at least one, but I don't have the list with me.

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