farmland

A local farmer recently discovered a suspicious device on her farmland. She called the police after suspecting it could be an old bomb of some sort.

Police officers attended the scene in West Boldon along with a bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps.

The heavily corroded item was then confirmed to be an unexploded German incendiary bomb.

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The Tyneside and Wearside region was bombed on numerous occasions during WW2. However the raids were not as heavy as those experienced by some cities, e.g. London and Liverpool. Newcastle was the most heavily bombed target in the local area. By the end of the war, almost 400 people had died during raids on the city.

Capture 1 Controlled explosion carried out at farm in South Tyneside
The 1kg incendiary bomb, as found.
West Boldon’s vulnerability

All over Britain, small German incendiary bombs caused thousands of fires and were even responsible for the largest conflagration since the Great Fire of London. They were easily affected by the wind and many ended up littering open ground far from their intended targets.

Although largely agricultural at the time, West Boldon’s farmland was relatively close to known Luftwaffe targets. One of the closest, the railway infrastructure associated with Tyne Dock, was just 3km to the north.  As a result, West Boldon would have been vulnerable to wayward bomb strikes.

Small German Incendiary Bombs

Of all the bombs dropped on Britain by the German air force of WW2, these small devices were the most numerous type. The Thermite incendiary material  burned at extremely high temperature, setting fire to any combustible material in its proximity.

This example is the standard B1 EZ type, which weighed 1kg. There was also a 2kg variant which incorporated a small high explosive delay charge. The inclusion of these models acted as a deterrence to anyone attempting to extinguish the bomb before it could fully ignite.

The incendiary component within the bomb burns aggressively at over 1,000°C.  Therefore, all models of these bombs should be considered dangerous, not just the 2kg explosive type. This is indicated by the fact that this UXO item was destroyed at the scene, rather then transported elsewhere.

In soft farmland, these slender bombs could easily penetrate to their full length. Consequently, many went unreported and many are still found today.

05Apr photo2 Controlled explosion carried out at farm in South Tyneside
German 1kg incendiaries packed into a cluster bomb / canister.