This second of three posts continues the story of Albright and Wilson’s toxic war story of the useless “Aw bombs”- commissioned for an anti tank war that never came to Britain where the Home Guard were issued them in wooden crates of 24.
They were primarily used for training and demonstrations, but after the war many were buried and abandoned, only revealed during building developments where they posed further hazards to those who uncovered them. Here are some more of these finds as reported in press articles of the time.
An article from The Birmingham Daily Post of 8th April 1959 reports on a finding on a building site in Hertfordshire. The bottle, like the one pictured above, was obviously faulty or had been broken during disturbance. No matter the length of time unopened, the white phosphorus in the glass container still provided a serious risk when exposed to air.
More “queer shaped bottles” were discovered reported on 6th December 1962 again in The Birmingham Daily Post, but this time in Warwick. Again they ignited causing injury to those who had found them. Again they were callously left buried by the Home Guard.
A further discovery occurred and was reported near to a Tamworth church in the same title on 7th February 1966 during the building of a new school.
Nine bombs were destroyed by the bomb disposal unit, a task which would become a common reaction to such finds going forward.
The story from one of the former Home Guard about “getting rid” of the dangerous weapons is perhaps typical of this not so “greatest generation” . Just like Albright and Wilson who manufactured them, they left behind a legacy of danger for the future.