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Ossington_2008
01-10-2008, 17:57
Spalford was a bomb storage/disposal sub-site for RAF Norton Disney, located between RAF Wigsley & Swinderby railway station near the Notts/Lincs border. Wigsley A/F in the background.
Once abandoned, it became an SSSI & bird Sanctuary, open to the public. Dunno how someone can just come in and de-wood it though.
http://i388.photobucket.com/albums/oo322/Ossington_2008/23-7-08Spalford4.jpg

Carnaby
04-10-2008, 14:17
open to the public. Dunno how someone can just come in and de-wood it though.]
93 Maintenance Sub-unit opened in March 1943 to store chemical weapons. It had a mile of Sommerfeld Tracking.
An interesting site!. I first visited it decades ago as I had a plan from RAFM which showed an spot marked as 'contaminated area'. Being an idiot I went to have a look. In the centre of the wooded bit was an area almost completely devoid of vegetation. There were the broken remains of concrete fence posts scattered around and a few remnants of barbed wire. I later met a woman walking her dog and she mentioned that a few weeks ago the dog had strayed into the undergrowth. A few hours later the dog became seriously ill by fortunately recovered a few days later.

A return visit many years later. with Ossington_2008, to the same spot revealed new eight-foot concrete fence posts, chain link fencing and warning signs. The military were also performing a thorough investigation of the entire site (still completely open to the public). There were remains of 6lb incendiaries around, plus some bundles of 'Window'. Wonder what its like today?

The fenced area was here (http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=53.202548~-0.755348&style=h&lvl=19&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1), and was used as a mustard gas burning site c.1951. By November 1952 it was reported as completely clear of contamination.

Guess we weren't too careful in those days.

Graham

SWINDERTIM
14-10-2008, 23:16
I have the AHB records for 93MU Norton Disney, which was home to an FFD (Forward Filling Depot) for mustard gas. The records show that Norton Disney and its sub site at Spalford were completely clear in the mid 50's. The site was then made "completely clear" in the 80s......and became "completely clear" in the 90s.

I would regard the phrase "completely clear" as somewhat suspect.

I have been doing much research into 93MU. It would be an understatement to say that the MOD are uncomfortable discussing it.

Here be dragons, methinks.

Incidentally 93MU was originally RAF Swinderby. Then they built an airfield called.........RAF Swinderby so the MU became Norton Disney.

T.

PNK
15-10-2008, 20:58
"completely clear" has a similar meaning to "perfectly safe" rather like the NHS phrase "comfortable".

Peter

Carnaby
16-10-2008, 18:49
SWINDERTIM said

Incidentally 93MU was originally RAF Swinderby. Then they built an airfield called.........RAF Swinderby so the MU became Norton Disney.
Yes weird this especially as the airfield is right next to Norton Disney, and the MU is right next to Swinderby.

Graham

Hawkeye001
17-05-2009, 21:51
This was a munitions dump as well as a store for chemical weapons. At the end of the war all the Mustard gas was burnt on site and currently the government are conducting tests on the soil due to some new EU laws. It is now a nature reserve.

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/008-2-1.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/006-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/007-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/010-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/011-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/012-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/013-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/015-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/018-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/019-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/020-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/021-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/023-3.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/024-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/025-3.jpg

Enjoy !!!

HawkEye001

Carnaby
18-05-2009, 11:13
So after numerous other 'final attempts' to clean the site up, this appears to be it!

Graham

Carnaby
23-07-2010, 14:14
Just noticed that the three contaminated burning areas are new very obvious by their fencing. LINK (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=53.20252867468284&lon=-0.7551437616348267&gz=19&oz=8&gt=1)

Graham

canberra
21-08-2010, 18:33
It seems that this site amy have been the RAFs equivalent of Bramley. This was a storage area for mustard gas that the army cleared in the late eighties, wonder if it was cleared by the same Sappers?

PETERTHEEATER
22-08-2010, 07:39
I should think so. We wouldn't risk our necks if we could get the pongos to do it:)

canberra
22-08-2010, 09:49
I think that the Sappers have the responsibility for the clearance of chemical warfare munitions.

ColinBa
23-08-2010, 17:59
I think you will find that DSTL at Porton Down have a special section run by Gareth Johnson to deal with any CW found in the UK.

canberra
23-08-2010, 19:08
Well as I said in a previous post the site at Bramley was cleared by the Sappers.

JohnLes32
01-11-2012, 20:59
Having spent almost two years at Norton Disney(93 MU) and being part of an ordinance demolition team 1951-1953 I never saw any sign of mustard gas. We would travel by wagon to Spalford Wood two or three days a week to destroy mostly ammunition, which we carried in the wagon from Norton Disney, I can't remember that anything was stored at Spalford Wood, it was an almost desolate area with deep sand pits to facilitate explosive detonation. We would destroy 20mm aircraft ammo using plastic explosives and detonators, small arms ammunition was destroyed by burning in 5000lb bomb rings. These were in stacks five high, primed incendiary bombs placed in the bottom and ammunition heaped on top of them, the rings covered with steel sheeting and weighted down with sand bags, the incendiaries would burn and the ammo would fire.....................it sounded like thousands of fire crackers going off and would burn for two or three hours at a time. I would have thought that as the site was being cleared or cleaned that remnants of ordinance would be found. In my time at Norton Disney I never saw any signs of Mustard Gas either, it could have been put there after 1953 of course. I have read also that Norton Disney was an airfield and have to say that is not true, it is was situated alongside Swinderby railway station and the name changed to Norton Disney when Swinderby Airfield was estabished on the A46 between Newark and Lincoln( I think this was around 1939), in fact the village of Swinderby was half way between Norton Disney camp and RAF Swinderby which was a Pilot training base( we would aften enjoy a pint and a game of dominoes in the Plough public house in the village). The camp was alomgside the railway station to put a siding into the camp to allow goods train wagons to be brought in to the camp, this of course allowed the transit to and from the bomb dump of heavy ordinance..250, 500, 1000lbs bombs and aircraft depth charges 250lb each, I recall working overtime preparing a consignment of Depth charges being sent to RAF Selita in Hong Kong.......we were given a weekend pass as a reward!! In August of 1953 I was posted to the Suez canal Zone were I served out my time until 1955. In the sixties I went back to see what was left of RAF Norton Disney and found almost nothing there, the billets had gone, the cookhouse was falling down and in bad condition and the what had been the CO's house at the entrance to the camp was now the home of a local gamekeeper.....................I do remember there were always lots of pheasants wandering about the place.......Partridges too. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who may remember me from those good old days!!!

PETERTHEEATER
02-11-2012, 07:42
Welcome to AiX John, from one ex-RAF Armourer (1956 - 1970) to another. You must be an octogenarian now and it is fortunate for me to be connected with someone who actually worked at an FAD.

Can you confirm that the three HE Store groups were served directly by standard gauge rail spurs from the main line or was everything transhipped via a loading platform near to Swinderby station?

By Spalford Wood, are you referring to Spalford Warren? The area to the left of the latter is now extensive gravel/sand pits.

Was Eagle Hall Wood (adjacent to the north of the FAD) also used for munitions storage in temporary huts or open stacks?

Thanks for your personal memories that really help us to understand what happened here operationally.

PETERTHEEATER
02-11-2012, 09:20
This may be of interest:

http://robedwards.typepad.com/files/mod-briefing-on-project-cleansweep-july-2011.pdf

Carnaby
02-11-2012, 13:33
From my notes:

The Norton Disney sub-site at Spalford became a burning and demolition area in 1951. Half sections of inverted Nissen hutting were sunk to a depth of seven foot in the soil. A concrete base was added, with six inches of sand for protection. Liquid mustard was poured into the container and incinerated. Two months later MoS inspectors from Kidbrooke and Rhydymwyn visited the site and following an inspection of the boreholes declared that the ground was very seriously contaminated, probably due to an impermeable layer.

JohnLes32
03-11-2012, 00:44
Hello Peter......I will be an octogenarian when boxing day gets here!! As you say, there can not be many of us left who worked as bomb armourers on bomb dumps. I can confirm that we had a main line spur directly into Norton Disney and had to drag the trucks down to the bottom end of the camp with a tractor pulling them to get started and then running alongside the trucks to apply the brakes it was not a very precise method but somehow we managed. I dont really know if it was Spalford Wood or Warren..................we were just told it was Spalford. Sorry but I dont Know where Eagle Hall Wood is or was so cant help you there.......sorry. I enjoyed talking about my mermories and would be happy to add more as I remember things from those days, I have recently joined the Canal Zoners and Suez Veterans association and really enjoy the quarterly news letters and as with here I hope to contact one or two of my old friends and workmates..........sorry to disapoint ref mustard gas.....I was on demolition duty many times during my two years there and never saw or heard of it at all, in fact there were a couple of shanty huts on the site with people living in them, we had to go over to them and tell them we were about to blow and to stay inside, we also had to hoist red flags on a couple of lanes running nearby and stop traffic until the armourment officer blew his whistle to announce all clear!! One of our guys who was on red flag duty on the lane picked up a shiny object which turned out to be a 20mm round we had just sent into the sky and it exploded in his hand......................he was in hospital for weeks!!

PETERTHEEATER
03-11-2012, 06:48
Eagle Hall Wood was the one directly north of the most northerly bomb store; also known as Great Low Wood, here:

http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=53.17365778082132&lon=-0.7125815540920303&gz=16&oz=9&gt=1

In the right hand window can be seen the overgrown HE Bomb Stores, top, centre (squarish) and bottom (triangular) and the track of the rail spur. Of course the wood has expanded a little since your time but did exist pre-war and with a few paved tracks through the wood might have been used for storage of SAA and Pyros and GD ammo.

Yes, the current Spalford Warren is mostly postwar plantation growth but looking at a 1955 OS map there was a small wood there during your time with old sand pits just to the south and I reckon these were your demolition sites.

You have prompted me to explain to our AiX readers that the Armament Trade during WW2 and post-war was split essentially into Armourer, Bombs and Armourer, Guns. It was probably mid to late 50s that they were amalgamated with new tradesmen being instructed on all aspects. But, the Armament Trade continued to have two skill levels, Mechanics and Fitters the difference being in the level of training and duration and subsequent qualification.

JohnLes32
03-11-2012, 12:30
Hello again Peter, with regard to Armourers in my day, there were three types.....................Gun Armourer, bomb armourer and Turret armourer.............this was from the days of B46's, Lincolns and Halifax's, there were still mosquitos, Wellingtons and Shackeltons flying about. Looking at the os maps i find it difficult to remember just where everything was. I can see what was the railway station alongside Norton Disney(is the line still active?)...there is so much woodland...................I remember there was a small spinney at the bottom end of the bomb bay area.....................but now it looks like Sherwood Forrest. We had pyrotechnics at Norton Disney as well of course and in some unlocked sheds you could pick up molotoff cocktails, grenades,smoke flotes flame flotes etc................of course only authorised personel were allowed beyond the danger area barrier....but who knows who could get in there after hours? From Norton Disney we also had a team travelling to RAF Fulbeck, a disused airfield and here they would carry out routine maintenance mainly on 250lb and 500lb bombs. I was on guard there a couple of times and the highlight was catching pigeons in the hangers and eating them for supper..................there were no other facilities there, we had to bring our own san dwiches although we could make tea or coffee. I can still see trains of bomb trollies each trolly loaded with two bombs..one at each end. They were being worked on, not unlike the production line at Ford or Vauxhall.....................goodness knows what happened to all those bombs, we did steam the explosive out of some of them but it was a long process...................I( suspect that many of them were flown out to sea and dumped). Better go now......work to do in my greenhouse

PETERTHEEATER
04-11-2012, 05:50
Thanks, I forgot the Armourer, Turrets. Turret training was eliminated from the syllabus just as I started training at Halton in 1956 although they still had turrets in the 'shops. We were given some basics and overview on one or two types.

Yes, the railway through Swinderby Station is active and can be seen here:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=swinderby+uk&hl=en&ll=53.169425,-0.702457&spn=0.00133,0.002411&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=56.506174,79.013672&t=h&hnear=Swinderby,+Lincolnshire,+United+Kingdom&z=19&layer=c&cbll=53.169478,-0.702439&panoid=qYtt629nncy7n75Kmi5t7w&cbp=12,220.67,,0,6.51

Fulbeck airfield, a former operational Bomber unit is nine miles to the south of here, Immediate post war it was used by 255 MU to collect and dispose of RAF surplus stores. It is recorded that many auctions were held there in 1948. Then, your lot moved in (93 MU) as a sub-unit of Norton Disney and began the onerous task of bomb maintenance whilst the Air Ministry decided the future RAF requirements. Presumably, as with other disused airfileds used for open storage and inspection of surplus bombs, the former bomb dump was used, in particular the Fuzing Point sheds provided under cover facility for inspection. Ultimately, many bombs went to the ROF Pembrey for steaming out and recovery of explosives but more went for deep sea dumping at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Carnaby
04-11-2012, 13:21
Fulbeck airfield, a former operational Bomber unit is nine miles to the south of here, Immediate post war it was used by 255 MU to collect and dispose of RAF surplus stores. It is recorded that many auctions were held there in 1948. Then, your lot moved in (93 MU) as a sub-unit of Norton Disney
In October 1946 Spalford stored 3,000 tons of weapons, but Fulbeck was already in use LINK (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?1059-Fulbeck&p=114237#post114237)

JohnLes32
04-11-2012, 20:08
At the time I was working at Spalford (June 1951 to July 1955) there were no weapons there...................perhaps they had already been disposed of or removed, it was after all five and a half years later. The area of Spalford where we carried out daily destruction of ammunition was pretty desolate................there were certainly no heavy ordinance storage facilities, in fact there no personel on site after we left to return to Norton Disney at the end of our day, it is of course possible that the area is much bigger than I thought. We did used to from time to time drive the 15cwt bedford truck we used up and around the metalled roads as our MT driver tried to teach a few of us to drive.........with little success I must add!! Learning to drive a wagon on metalled roads across sand dunes was not easy!! The area of Spalford we worked in was a series of deep sand craters which we used to carry out or explosions, there were a couple of minor roads passing accross the edges of the area and as I explained before we had red flags hoisted by sentries who would shelter in sandbad dugouts at the side of the road. Everything we destroyed we carried in our trucks from Norton Disney every day................we had no storage there at all, we only ever destroyed aircraft and small arms ammunition, sometimes pyrotechnics................incendiary bombs mainly

PETERTHEEATER
05-11-2012, 09:30
Re Post # 32; thanks Carnaby, it makes sense to me that Fulbeck would have been used as a surplus munitions store very soon after war's end. The 255 MU presence with 93 MSU would not have conflicted because the former would have occupied the Technical Area and the latter bomb store although there was probably some 'sharing' of runway/perimeter sections by 255 MU for its bulky items.

Carnaby
19-11-2012, 23:24
By 1957 operations at Spalford were controlled from Morton Hall, which housed 5131 Bomb Disposal Sqn and 6204 Bomb Disposal Flt.

Spalford was described as waste ground used for the demolition of bombs, and includes a burning pit for the destruction of incendiary and pyrotechnics. The site has been cleared of all buildings except a few Nissens. There was no personnel accommodation

Morton was described as: SHQ Signals and Office in converted country house, with four large Nissens. Cinema used as lecture room. NAAFI Institute, 6 acres of playing fields.

SSQ was at RAF Swinderby

Personnel:
40 single officers, 17 SNCOs, 222 airmen
19 married officers, 2 SNCOs, 22 airmen
5 single WRAF officers

Messing for 58 + 30 + 250
Catering capacity 90 + 90 + 350


Two 15,000 gallon high-level water tanks
Two 55kW standby generators.

Source: SD747
Morton Hall Thread (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?5890-Morton-Hall-nr-Swinderby-Lincolnshire)

PETERTHEEATER
20-11-2012, 03:50
I joined 5131 Squadron (then at Stafford) and was posted to 6204 BD Flight (then at Debden) in 1964 so they had moved again by that time!

JohnLes32
21-11-2012, 01:00
Thank you Carnaby, I have been trying to find out when Norton Disney actually closed down, and what happened to all the heavy ordinance there, I still dont know but Morton Hall was actually a military hospital when I was stationed at Norton Disney(51-53)..................I have never been there but knew of a couple of people who were there for a few weeks at a time. With regard to Spalford and a burning pit, we had three of four pits going there in my time, these were constucted using 5000lb bomb rings. We would stack them five high, place half a dozen primed incendiaries in the bottom and pour bucket fulls of ammunition(small arms) on top of the incendiaries, cover the top of the rongs with sheet steel and sandbags the light the incendiaries fuses....................there would be a lot of noise from the pits of all those bullets going off inside the rings..............these would burn for two or three hours during which time we would be in our dugout reading our newspapers etc...we could not leave the site until the burning was complete. We also on other days destroyed 20mm aircarft ammuntion, this was done by blasting stacks of the ammo....nose down in the sand using plastic explosive and detonators. We would spend the morning setting up the stacks, usually half a dozen all connected to the dynamo exploder and during the afternoon these were each charged and exploded with quite a big bang. We never destroyed any bombs at Spalford, it would be normal to steam the explosive from bombs rather than explode them and this was a long job. We had a lot of bombs at Norton Disney, these were stored in blast proof bomb bays, there were 250lb, 500lb and 1000lb bays, we had arial depth charges also...................................where did it all go to?? and when?? can anyone throw any light on the matter for me?? I wonder if any of my old mates are still around......Bob Biddulph, Taffy Welch, Scouse Makin.........................the CO was Flight Leutenant Duckworth, armourment officer was Warrant Officer Pape these two were of course much older than the likes of myself at eighteen yeatrs of age

PETERTHEEATER
21-11-2012, 05:31
As you say, the steaming out process was time consuming and the removed fillings still has to be disposed of. As far as I know, many thousands of surplus RAF HE Bombs went to Pembrey ROF where they were broken down and the HE recovered. Others, rejected due to condition or age went for deep sea dumping.

The name Warrant Officer Pape rings a bell with me but from where?

JohnLes32
21-11-2012, 10:26
Thank you Peter, I can't imagine that they would spend too much time steaming out, I always suspected(and others did too) that most of it is at the bottom of the ocean. I remember the WO Pape retired while I was at Norton Disney, he took us all out in one of the wagons to a pub in Lincoln, we had a good night out and on returning to camp he went straight to the sergeants mess to continue boozing. We decided to send him on his way by removing his bed from his room(at the end of our billet). At about two am I awoke to find the billet in termoil with old Papie roaring at us and stamping on two fire extinguishers and spraying everyone in sight.there was a wild dash for the door at the rear of the billet with foam and whatever else dripping from the ceiling!! It took us all the next morning to clean the place up..................still the old devil came and shook hands with every member of his team before he left later in the day. Have you any idea when Norton Disney closed down...also Spalford with its huge sand pits.....................I bet there are still bits of ammo lying around there.

JohnLes32
06-12-2012, 00:39
Hello Swindertim.......do the records show when Norton Disney was a forward Filling Depot for mustard gas? I was stationed at Norton Disney from 1951 to 1953 and at that time it was a bomb storage unit(otherwise known as a bomb dump). We had a lot of heavy ordinance there left over from the war, and a lot of aircraft and small arms ammunition......but there was never any sign or mention or warnings that mustard gas was anywhere in the area or confines of the camp, there were no emergency procedures or fenced off areas whithin the the Danger Area where the bomb bays housed the bombs. I find it hard to understand how it was never mentioned or encountered, either at Norton Disney or Spalford where we carried our explosive demolition mainly of aircraft and small arms ammuntion.......................I never came accross any mustard gas there either and spent two or three days a week there on demolition duty.I did go back to where the camp(Norton Disney) used to be in the sixties and there was nothing there apart from the cookhouse which was falling down, all the billets had gone and the commanding Officers house near the entrance to the camp was a gamekeepers house. I wonder what happened to all the ordinance and rather think it is at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. At Spalford there would be plenty of evidence and bits of Incendiaries and shell caseings laying about as we put plenty of it up into the sky in my time there. I would appreciate any info you can pass on to me as I wonder what became of it all and if any of my old comrades are still around to talk about it all to.

Carnaby
06-12-2012, 14:51
We need a Norton Disney thread. We now have one.

http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?9629-Norton-Disney-93-MU-%28Swinderby%29

JohnLes32
20-05-2013, 21:58
Hello...I havent been on here recently. I have become involved with the Canal Zoners and Suez Veterans association, and have actually spoken to a couple of ex comrades. We are trying to put together a map of our unit(107 MU Kasfareet) and getting there slowly.................it is difficult after all the years ago it was. I am trying also to put together a map of Norton Disney as I remember it( if only there was somebody else out there to confer with). What about the great East coast storm of 1953? Can anyone remember that? We were gathered up and taken to Colchester by road and billeted at Roman Way Barracks(reopened for troops working the floods). We were out by lorry in the dark and returned in the dark, sandbagging breached sea walls in freezing weather with snow blowing into our faces....duffle coats, sea boot socks, wellies..as they got wet they weighed a ton!! The coast was alive with millitary......I remember we were at Walton on the Naze most of the time, and on one occasion had to blow a hole in the sea wall with explosives to allow sea water to get off the land and back into the sea. Every night when we arrived back at the barracks there were urns of tea laced with rum..wow...it was terrific and soon warmed us up. I think we were there for three weeks but really can't remember. Does anyone else remember the Great Storm of 53? I will be back on line again soon with my map of Norton Disney

PETERTHEEATER
21-05-2013, 07:35
Welcome back John. I shall be looking out for your map.

PNK
08-09-2013, 20:06
According to the 5131 Sqn ORB, 6204 flt were at Spalford range (as it was written in the ORB) between 23/7/1956 and 22/10/1956. They were based at Morton Hall from 9/7/1956. Also a boiling out site was commenced in Sept 1956. The incident number was 1774 and the map reference 113/833680.

It seems to be a short time to cover this area but this ORB finishes in 1956 so this may have been for a specific area of the site required for farming or forestry? The entry in SD747 for 1957 (Carnaby's post) may refer to this incident as it might have been submitted in 195 but published in 1957.

JohnLes32
11-09-2013, 23:34
This all happend after I left Norton Disney in Augusr 1953. There was some boiling out done at Spalford during a couple of our visits, this was being carried out by army bomb disposal. We could see them doing some steaming from where we were working. I am still certain there was no Gas of any type at Norton Disney whilst I was there Sept 1951 to August 1953, I am also sure there was no rear entrance during my time there, after working at the far end of the Danger Area every day for two years there is no way we would be unaware of another entrance. Of course it could have been added later as indeed the mustard gas may have been. There were no prohibited areas or notices warning of gas storage which would surely have been the case if gas was there. We did have plenty of heavy ordinance and I assume the bomb disposal teams did plenty of steaming before the empty bombs were dumped out at sea??? I am struggeling to remember the domestic layout of the camp but will eventually put together a map of the camp as I remember it, I could do with some help..................is there anyone left who can help out? I do wish there was someone else who was there at the same time as me!!!

BDU
16-01-2014, 00:45
This was a munitions dump as well as a store for chemical weapons. At the end of the war all the Mustard gas was burnt on site and currently the government are conducting tests on the soil due to some new EU laws. It is now a nature reserve.

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/008-2-1.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/006-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/007-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/010-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/011-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/012-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/013-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/015-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/018-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/019-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/020-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/021-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/023-3.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/024-2.jpg
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h280/Hawkeye001/025-3.jpg

Enjoy !!!

HawkEye001
I got my truck well and truly stuck here delivering equipment , this is a 5131 BD Sqn site . The blue ISO containers are the office,locker rm,canteen,stores,toilets.

BDU
16-01-2014, 00:47
I think that the Sappers have the responsibility for the clearance of chemical warfare munitions.

Wrong .

canberra
16-01-2014, 12:39
So who does then? After all it was the Sappers that cleared Bramley.

ColinBa
16-01-2014, 20:33
DSTL, Gareth Johnson and his group.
Follow this https://www.rhydymwynvalleyhistory.co.uk/documents/Little_Heath_Johnson&Rogers.pdf

Ossington_2008
16-01-2014, 21:34
Excellent. Is there a similar report available on Spalford?

Hugh
17-01-2014, 07:35
Hi. I was involved in investigating the area several years ago. The "known" burn areas for mustard gas were re fenced in the late 1990s I remember taking a TV crew around at the time (BBC I think). There was very little mustard related items visible, but the area had a lot of other items such as marker marines, parachute flares, and many aircraft relate items.

We had a large sifting machine running whilst I was there, and we fed it with a JCB. It was a daily task covered by 5131 (BD) Sqn. at RAF Wittering. We would leave very early from the Squadron, run up the A1 in convoy, collect the JCB from the chicken farm where it was secured at night, and start work. There were some of the team carrying out sweeps with metal detecting equipment, digging on readings, but the amount of items was so great in the main area that the JCB was used to stock pile the sand for sifting. The mechanical sifter made life much easier, until the rain came! - There was over 2 feet of sandy sludge in the area of the sifter, and we spent most the time digging the mud off everything!

I spent around 6 months going up and down the A1 ( it was a long day, getting back to Wittering around 6pm or later) . I lost track of the job after my time there, but would not be surprised if they are still finding ordnance. There was a lot demolished in the area after the war.

I saw some old photographs of the period that the area was being used to destroy the war stock, and it was completely bare of any vegetation looking like the moon ! There were many craters where items were blown up .

We met with someone at the time who claimed that their dog had got sick in the woods. (probably the person mentioned in the earlier post). We scoured the area in question, but could not find anything that would have caused a problem. Yes there was a lot of ordnance junk everywhere and there were known areas of mustard gas burns, but nothing we found that was on the surface.

Quite an interesting clearance and a great lesson in ordnance identification!

JohnLes32
13-02-2014, 18:42
Hello Hugh, very interesting to read your thread. You may have read some of my earlier comments with regard to Spalford and demolition of ammuntion carried out by a team I was part of between May 1951 and August1953. I was stationed at 93 MU Norton Disney, our armourment officer was Warrant Officer Pape. In deep sand pits we would destroy 20mm,303, 9mm and incendary bombs on a daily basis. We would use rings from 10,000 ib bombs stacked five or six high(these rings were approx 5 feet in diameter). Incendary bombs would be primed with slow burning fuse wire and placed in the bottom of the rings just like kindling wood, the ammo would be poured in from boxes on top of the bombs, the top of the rings would be covered with steel sheeting and sand bags placed on top to keep the exploding shells confined. We would get four of five rings ready in the morning and spend the afternoon in our dugout as the ammunition burnt away making plenty of noise. 20mm aircraft ammo was actually blown up in its wooden boxes, top and bottom removed, placed face down in the sand, percusion caps facing up, plastic explosive rolled flat and placed over the ends of the rounds then a detonator squeezed in the plastic at the end, another row of boxes would be placed on top of these, same again with plastic explosive(known as PE) detonator again, and another row on top of that again. Each box contained 25 rounds. When the dets were joined with electric leads and connected to the long long lead going back to the dynamo exploder in our sandbagged shelter(about 100 yards away). We would prepare four or five of the stacks and then get into our shelter where WO Pape would shout "FIRE" as each stack was connected to the exploder. All of this was done in the sand pits at Spalford on a daily basis, and there must have been plenty of shrapnell in and around the site. There were a couple of minor roads running quite close to all this and we had barriers and guards to stop traffic when we were blowing..red flags would be hoisted around the site. At this time there were no signs either at Spalford or Norton Disney with regard to Mustard Gas, and 93 MU was quite small, we had plenty of heavy ordinance there but there was no mustard gas at that time, it would be impossible for it to be there without anyone knowing about it. After 1953(Aug) when I was posted out to the Suez Canal Zone it may well have been placed there, however when I went back there in the late sixties the camp had been closed down, the CO,s house was now a Gamekeepers house and some of the buildings were still there although looking a bit sad, there were no notices to keep away etc. I can recognise nothing from your photos, as both Norton Disney and Spalford were free from trees, it looks like woodland in your pictures, and of course sixty odd years have passed by. I can trace nobody who was there when I was, all of the facts and figures stated are from those people who came along years afterwards, and I supect one or two conspiricy theories are gaining momentum. However it is good that there is still interest, I hope you enjoyed my accound of how it was at Spalford I have previously written about Norton Disney, the train spur and sending bombs and depth charges to far flung places. I would be pleased to hear any other accounts of your exploits in and around 93 MU and Spalford.

Hugh
14-02-2014, 01:02
Hello John,
Its great to hear from you ! 45 years after you were there , and now another 10 plus years we connect! I love this sort of thing! Thank you for the account, it was great to read. I love to hear from old armourers and EOD types!

I see by your account that you used the rings from 10,000lb bombs as a burning fixture. Would that be the HC cookie types? We did find some badly rusted rings and thought that they were from an old nissen hut frame. Perhaps that is what we found.

As to your technique for popping 20mm rounds is not much different today, we used the same for practice rounds. HE it Incy would be laid flat so we could put PE on the heads as well as the case.

You mention no mustard gas when you were there. And that Norton Disney didn't have any either. That must have been brought in after you had left the area. Our Sqn. did the clearance of Norton Disney, and I know that there was a whole pile of Mustard related ordnance recovered. I believe the old flying cow spray tanks were the big finds there. I was not on that one so cant say for sure. The area in Spalford was only a small area that we saw. It was in the western end of the site and the fenced area was about a 50 foot square it looked (and smelled) of a classic mustard burn with quite a bit of slag visible on the surface. Not sure what became of that area, as we only fenced it off for future investigation.

Im keeping this reply short for the moment, as I am rushing it. Just had to reply as soon as I could to you!

Thank you for the account, it was great. I will take sime time soon to try to relate a few more stories from our time there.

Hugh

JohnLes32
22-02-2014, 23:03
Hello Hugh….really great to hear from you. In myprevious mail I made a mistake. The bomb rings I talked about were from 5000lbbombs not 10000lbs, they were used to join up 5000sections into bigger bombs ofI believe up to 20000lbs. They would be winched into the bomb bay and the doorsleft open due to the size of the bomb…….wouldn’t fancy being on the ground whenone of them fell nearby!!!
The photos with this mail are from Norton Disney taken in 1952 anddue to the modern day PC’s have been enlarged up from two and a quarter inchprints taken with cameras of those days.
The picture of Terry Edwards with a bomb on his shoulder shows howmany bombs we had in storage, this is one Bomb Bay and we had six, all insidehigh earth embankments covered in grass and approx. eight feet high withconcrete side entrance walls to allow cranes and lorries in for loading andtransportation. The actual bombs in thephoto are empty, they were practice bombs for pilot training and could befilled with sand or water when being used…..Terry just wanted everyone to seehow strong he was. We did have plenty of live bombs in the other bays from250lbs, 500lbs,1000lb,2000lbs and depth charges for aircraft which were 250lbs.
The picture in our little working bay is Depth Charges being servicedprior to being sent to Seletar in Hong Kong, we had to send two hundred if Iremember rightly. The bung at the end of the charge would be removed with thedepth charge on its end, the explosive checked for sweating or cracking, thecasing would be painted green and a metal plate fixed to the end of the chargeto show history of servicing etc………………these plates were provided by AISinspectors who were our Senior NCO’s. I remember having a bag of six inch nailsand a hammer and moving from railway wagon to wagon nailing down three inch by two inch lengths of timber at four feetapart, just wide enough for the charges to fit in, they would be lifted in by Colescranes and chocked at each end so they would not move back or forward. We had anumber of Coles cranes on the camp as you can imagine, how else would we liftthese heavy objects.
The photos outside the Station Armoury show SergeantHammerstein(seated) who put together a bayonet fighting team, and they tookpart in competitions all over the place at Military units. The guy in theglasses on the photos in Bill(scouse)Makin , and the picture of the two scruffstogether no ties on are Myself on the left and Taffy Welsh, and the sittingdown picture is of myself and Bob Bidulph on our way down to work in our workbay in the Danger Area..we had a perculater there so never went short of hotdrinks, the NAAFI Van would come down with our dinner break food as it was toofar back to the mess in the daytime.
We did go to RAF Fulbeck sometimes were there was a lot of heavyordinance, I remember working on a train of trollies in a hanger with one5000lb bomb on each trolly. I had to fix a metal plate to the end of each bombas it was serviced, the details on the plate being its history as recorded bythe AIS inspector, in this case Sergeant Harry Ramsey who travelled with usfrom Norton Disney. We also spent most of March on the South East coast at thetime of the great storm which caused massive flooding and loss of life right downthe East Coast. We were based at Roman Way Barracks in Colchester, left everymorning in the dark and came back at night in the dark, we were repairing thesea walls with sandbags…hard going but lots of hot tea with rum in it on ourreturn.
I can’t remember much of Spalford except for really deep sand pitswhere we did our blasting, on the way in the morning we would stop in one ofthe villages to buy newspapers and milk for our flasks of tea, we would use themilk bottles to roll the PE flat. There was also a road going through the edgeof the range were red flags would be hoisted and the traffic stopped althoughthere was not much about in those days. There was a house or shack I shouldcall it and we had to tell the people living there to keep inside until thewhistle sounded, the Armourment officer(WO Pape) would blow his whistle beforewe started blasting and also at the end……one long blast, the red flags would belowered then.
I would love to know how you found Norton Disney when you cleared itHugh, I went back there in the early sixties and it was closed then, the CO’housewas now a Gamekeepers house and the cookhouse and a few remaining huts looked in bad shape. We used to be able totalk to people on the station platform as they waited for their train….ourbillets were no more than thirty feet or so away from the fence separating usfrom the station.
Just thought of something else, we had a number of small nissen hutscontaining pyrotechnics such as flame floats, smoke floats, very pistol ammo,small arms and up to 20mm ammo. There were also some molotof cocktails…………………..reallycrude things too. There was also a parachute shed with lots of silk parachutesjust all over the floor, I took one home and my girlfriend(now my wife of fiftyeight years)made a couple of blouses and some underwear from them….all quiteluxurious in those days of clothing coupons. That’s it for now Hugh…keep intouch please.
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Hugh
24-02-2014, 23:23
Hello again, John.

Your latest installment is great! - I have a photo of myself doing the same as your friend Terry! I had a fiberglass display bomb on my shoulder as opposed to a practice one!

The photos are great, I particularly like the one with the Bren gun, one of my favorite guns! Looks like that must have been the small arms armoury.

Sorry for not replying sooner, but have not been on the site fro a while. I have to cut this one short also, but I will stay in touch and sort out some of my other photos really soon.

Hugh