Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Three Molotov Breadbaskets

In the first picture, as depicted by the yellow pins is the area and fields where the incendiary bomb clusters fell from the mother Molotov Breadbasket bombs. Two of these incendiaries did not explode. One was found by a school chum of mine, Michael Bates, on White Place Farm. The other by myself, under an elm tree on Widbrook Common. My uncle William T.G. Hatch called in the Bomb Squad to defuse it and then it was used for training purposes by the Cookham Fire Brigade.
Above is a photograph the one kilo incendiary bomb used in the Molotov Breadbasket. All of these bombs were dated 1936 on the magnesium casing. Which on exploding would start to burn. Sand or soil were the only materials that could be used to extinguish these fires. Water was useless, so thank goodness in this case they all landed in open ground, where the village firemen were able to extinguish them by using a spade or a shovel and, in one case, a tin helmet was used.

In the picture above is shown the approximate position of where the three high explosive bombs fell in what was once a mature fruit and nut orchard. This is now an artificial pond made by Priors Gravel who now own Sheephouse Farm. There were two farm working families living in the cottages marked with the letter "A." Both were out that evening when the bombs fell and one, a Mr. Stanmore reported, that his windows had been blown out by the blast and in his bed he found a large piece of shrapnel. In his words the following morning: "It were right where I lay."
My uncle Jack had been picking Damson Plums earlier that evening, and one bomb demolished the tree from which he had been picking.

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