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Thread: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

  1. #1
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    Default Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    This tale comes from "The Australian Armourers Association" Web page.

    "Apparently when Lincolnshire County Council were widening the road past RAF Scampton's main gate in about 1958, the 'gate guards' there had to be moved to make way for the new carriageway. Scampton was the WWII home of 617 Sqn, and said "gate guards" were a Lancaster...and a Grand Slam (10 Ton) bomb.

    When they went to lift the Grand Slam, thought for years to just be an empty casing, with an RAF 8 Ton Coles Crane, it wouldn't budge. "Oh, it must be filled with concrete" they said. Then somebody had a horrible thought .... No!..... Couldn't be? ... Not after all these years out here open to the public to climb over and be photographed sitting astride! .... Could it? .... Then everyone raced off to get the Station ARMO. He carefully scraped off many layers of paint and gingerly unscrewed the base plate.

    Yes, you guessed it, live 1944 explosive filling! The beast was very gently lifted onto an RAF 'Queen Mary' low loader, using a much larger civvy crane (I often wonder what, if anything, they told the crane driver), then driven slowly under massive police escort to the coastal experimental range at Shoeburyness. There it was rigged for demolition, and when it 'high ordered', it proved in no uncertain terms to anyone within a ten mile radius that the filling was still very much alive!

    Exhaustive investigations then took place, but nobody could find the long-gone 1944, 1945 or 1946 records which might have shown how a live 22,000 lb bomb became a gate guard for nearly the next decade and a half. Some safety distance calculations were done, however, about the effect of a Grand Slam detonating at ground level in the open. Apart from the entire RAF Station, most of the northern part of the City of Lincoln, including Lincoln Cathedral, which dates back to 1250, would have been flattened. "


    The is clearly a typo with refence to 1944 explosive filling, because Grand Slam was not available until 1945, But can anyone confirm the general accuracy of this tale? Had a live bomb sat by the A15 for 13 or 14 years in plain sight of everyone...?
    Last edited by antarmike; 07-10-2008 at 20:07.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    I have heard this story before, although it may be apocryphal. I'm not sure believe the bit at the end about flattening everything within an 8 mile radius either!

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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    It is a bit cock if they were happy to explode it at Shoeburyness just a few miles from Southend and only three from the still very dangerous wreck of the Richard Montgomery. Unless they planned to steam the explosives out.

    Maybe it was a Tallboy instead of a Grand Slam?? Dunno.
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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    Quote Originally Posted by Snapper View Post
    It is a bit cock if they were happy to explode it at Shoeburyness just a few miles from Southend and only three from the still very dangerous wreck of the Richard Montgomery. Unless they planned to steam the explosives out.

    Maybe it was a Tallboy instead of a Grand Slam?? Dunno.
    That raises an interesting point Mark - wasn't it 2010 when they reckoned the Montgomery's cargo would be so unstable as to be a real risk of detonation from passing ships????

    Or am I confusing it with another wreck????
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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    Some years ago off St Brelade's bay in guess where? There was discovered the wreck of a merachant ship that had been sunk by the RAF containg a large amount of ordnace. It was decided the best thing was blow it place. Dire warnings of possible destruction , headlands closed, and all us kids sneacking about round the states Police and the Honarary's (IT would have been rude not to) So there we were expecting (or hoping for) a tidal wave . One large thud about 30 feet of water spout and a few dead fish. Most disapointing.
    It does make you laygh, one small 250kg bomb in England, thousands evacuated , streets closed. In Belgium or Malta, fine we'll send the truck in a couple of days.
    Last edited by Tony B; 09-10-2008 at 20:18.
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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    If this photo is to be believed, the Lanc and what appear to be two Tallboys where there in 1967, Was the Lanc resited in 1958? And what are these two Tallboys?
    http://www.servicepals.com/index.cfm.../imageID/5374/

    Tallboy and Grandslam?
    Last edited by antarmike; 09-10-2008 at 21:22.

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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    Hi Mike nice picture I think the smaller bomb is a Tallboy 11,885lb and the larger a Grandslam 22,000lb "Earthquake"
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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    And to add further confusion the dtae I have for the runway extension being built at Scampton is 1955, By 1958 Nuclear weapons were already at Scampton and the Vulcan V bobers were in placfe by May 1958.
    Last edited by antarmike; 09-10-2008 at 21:12.

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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    In 1953 Scampton became a Master Diversion Airfield and the Watch Office received a glass penthouse for use by the Local Controller.
    Scampton was selected in 1955 to be one of ten airfields which were to accommodate part of the RAF ‘V’ Bomber force, in this case the Avro Vulcan. This required an extension of the runway to 9,000ft, which took place in 1955 and the provision of extensive new ground facilities, including a high security area for the storage and maintenance of nuclear weapons and heavy-duty hardstandings for the aircraft.
    The first nuclear weapons to be delivered to Scampton during 1958 were the twenty kiloton atomic bombs given the Rainbow Code, ‘Blue Danube’. They were replaced by the smaller ‘Yellow Sun’ Stage 1 (Mk. 1s) which were the first of the UK’s operational thermonuclear weapons.
    The development of the ‘stand-off’ nuclear missile ‘Blue Steel’ required the construction of new specialist buildings: the Missile Servicing and Storage Building (MSSB) which was erected between the main hangars and the airfield, and the highly volatile High Test Peroxide (HTP) and kerosene fuel storage buildings which were located at some distance from the MSSB.
    Additional structures and parts of the layout relate to changes made during the Cold War. In particular the runway was rearranged to a NE/SW alignment, and extended by 3,000 yards to project beyond the north east corner of the base, requiring the diversion of Ermine Street. Areas of hard standing with associated operational readiness platforms (ORPs) were also provided.
    Technical buildings were also added to in this period. The Unit Storage to the far north of the site were constructed for storage and maintenance of nuclear bombs. Upon the introduction of the Blue Steel stand-off missile, new buildings were constructed just to the north-east of the hangars, to develop, maintain and fuel the missiles. A new Control Tower was constructed close to these buildings to provide a view of the newly expanded runway.
    Domestic areas were developed as a response to the increased numbers of personnel using the site. These included new barrack blocks to the southeast of the hangar crescent and larger areas of family accommodation, built during the 1950s to the south of Pollyplatt Lane and in the 1960s at the far western end of Pollyplatt Lane.
    On 30th June 1968, Blue Steel operations at Scampton were terminated, as the Royal Navy, with the submarine launched ‘Polaris’ missile, assumed responsibility for the UK nuclear deterrent.

    RAF Scampton in 1978. Taken from Blake, RNE, 1984 Airfields of Lincolnshire since 1912

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    Default Re: Grand Slam and RAF Scampton

    It seems to me the dates in the Aussie webpage are all to cock. If the A15 was re-alighened in 1955 to go round the extenteded runway, why on earth only three years alter would the council be addinng a carraigeway?. I have my doubts about this story....
    Last edited by antarmike; 09-10-2008 at 20:58.

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