Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Fauld Maintenance Unit Memorial

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Stockport
    Posts
    41

    Default Fauld Maintenance Unit Memorial

    I think the warning signs around the site say it all .

    Sorry about some of the photos being a bit poor, it was the end of the day with very low cloud and rain.














  2. #2
    Administrator NJR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    South Yorkshire
    Posts
    695

    Default

    Yes, a place I've been wanting to get to for some time.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Stockport
    Posts
    41

    Default

    We walked to it from Hanbury, and then did a lap of the crater.

    It is a huge hole in the ground, the light coloured shapes in the bottom right of the last photo are huge blocks of gypsum.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sheffield
    Posts
    623

    Default

    Don't worry about the quality of the photos! They're excellent at the side of the ones I took!

    Must agree, the size of the crater is overwhelming and any photography really doesn't capture the scale of the palce ~Haven't been there for a while but does the pub in Hanbury still have press cuttings etc. on the walls? Also remember it used to sell a particularly well kept ale

    Chris

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Staffordshire and Shropshire Border
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Fauld Maintenance Unit Memorial

    I am off to visit Fauld in my official capacity on Thursday. Whilst I won't be entering the underground complex, I will get a tour of the ground inside the wire. As most of you are aware, the site is still maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

    I understand from my civil service colleagues that the local council (?) is planning a 70th anniversary commemorative event in November. Once I discover more, I will post the details here.

    Rgds

    Jonny

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Derbyshire
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Fauld Maintenance Unit Memorial

    Quote Originally Posted by CDP View Post
    Don't worry about the quality of the photos! They're excellent at the side of the ones I took!

    Must agree, the size of the crater is overwhelming and any photography really doesn't capture the scale of the palce ~Haven't been there for a while but does the pub in Hanbury still have press cuttings etc. on the walls? Also remember it used to sell a particularly well kept ale

    Chris
    The Cock at Hanbury keeps both a well kept ale(s) and a good value/good food menu for lunchtime. It is a very well run pub in fact.

    There are photos and press cuttings on the walls in the corridor.

    If you phone them before you go to say you will be stopping for lunch, they will let you park in their car park. There is an information board in the car park itself showing the routes to and around the crater.

    WARNING: Take care! We were there on 03 Sept and there are two large bulls in separate fields on the footpath route.

    Ian

  7. #7
    SuperMod
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,539

    Default Re: Fauld Maintenance Unit Memorial

    70th Anniversary and a new memorial it seems:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...shire-30218324

  8. #8
    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Bristol, UK
    Posts
    3,396

    Default Re: Fauld Maintenance Unit

    So what caused the explosion - many web sites state that it was 'the spark from an illegally used brass chisel' (though Googling this seems to suggest that brass tools are used as they don't spark).

    Or perhaps this:
    In 1974 it was officially revealed that the explosion was caused by bombs being taken out of store - primed for use and replaced unused, with the detonators still installed.
    http://www.helenlee.co.uk/tutbury/fauld.html

    Note that site has a photo of the storage requirements, which seems to omit the 4,000lb bombs and substitute several thousand tons of army shells.

    However the prize for ingenuity must go to: http://tinyurl.com/owkfsfx

    I note that several new books on the subject are available.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fauld Maintenance Unit

    Quote Originally Posted by Carnaby View Post
    So what caused the explosion - many web sites state that it was 'the spark from an illegally used brass chisel' (though Googling this seems to suggest that brass tools are used as they don't spark).

    Or perhaps this:

    http://www.helenlee.co.uk/tutbury/fauld.html

    Note that site has a photo of the storage requirements, which seems to omit the 4,000lb bombs and substitute several thousand tons of army shells.

    However the prize for ingenuity must go to: http://tinyurl.com/owkfsfx

    I note that several new books on the subject are available.
    Nick McCamley's book "Disasters Underground" quotes from the court of inquiry, which concurs with the brass chisel theory "in all probability" causing the initial detonation and "It is known that CE (Composition Explosive) will explode easily if struck between brass and steel surfaces." So it is not so much a spart as the concussive effect. Apparently the chisel was being used to chip out CE from the exploder pocket of a bomb, a task that should not have been carried out underground if at all. I recently discussed the explosion over a pint with a friend of mine, who is an explosive engineer (Ex RLC EOD) and he said that CE can be extremely unstable, for example if it leaches into the threads of a fuse/detonator assembly, just the act of unscrewing the thread can set it off. I'm sure Peter can add more comment here.

  10. #10
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hua Hin, Thailand (resident) ex RAF Armourer 1956 - 1970
    Posts
    7,583

    Default Re: Fauld Maintenance Unit Memorial

    The truth may never be known. The main filling of MC bombs of that era varied and Amatol, Amatex, TNT/RDX, straight TNT and even Torpex was used across various marks. It was not uncommon if bombs had been poorly stored in service for the main filling to expand and extrude into the screw threads of the exploder container that screwed into the nose and tail. The exploder container was a steel cylinder closed at one end, the other being flanged and threaded to screw into the bomb using a special tool. The exploder container was filled with CE pellets sealed in by the Detonator Holder. Centrally, through the Detonator Holder and into the first pellets of CE was a hole into which a Detonator was fitted during bomb fuzing before use.

    Bombs dropped in 'safe' condition which physically prevented the pistol or fuze from arming would usually not detonate on impact. Bomb Disposal or even RAF Unit Armourers could make the bomb safe by removing the unarmed pistol or fuze and the separate detonator.

    Despite thick steel casing bombs dropped 'safe' could be, and were, damaged on impact with hard surfaces. Damaged bombs were routinely returned to RADs such as Fauld which had a resident AIS section capable of categorising damaged bombs sometimes leading to recovery for re-use.

    The report states that it was such a bomb that was in work a practice which was illegal underground and should be done under controlled conditions on the surface. If indeed the work was an attempt to unscrew and remove the Exploder Container from the nose of a damaged bomb then it means that an attempt to remove it using the correct tool had failed or that the tool could not be used because of the damage. Hence, a hammer and chisel was being used by placing the blade of the chisel into one of the slots of the flange on the end of the EC and shocking the chisel with the hammer in an attempt to unscrew the EC.

    The CE pellets are at the bottom of the tube and covered by the Detonator Holder so unless the EC was internally damaged and crushed CE was loose inside the container, I can't see CE being involved. But, if main filling had become invisibly extruded into the thread between bomb case and the EC flange then rotation (unscrewing) of the EC could cause friction and ignition leading to detonation of the main filling.

    Sorry to be long-winded but an understanding of the bomb construction is essential to understanding what may have happened.

    I would post a drawing but working from a tablet prevents me from doing so.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •