In the beginning there were many conferences and meetings between the Home Office (HO) and the War Office (WO) (now the Ministry of Defence (MOD)) as to who would be responsible for the disposal of unexploded bombs and missiles.


It was agreed that rather than the Civil Defence (CD) and Local Authorities (LA), the Armed Services should be responsible for all unexploded ordnance (UXO) on their property and installations plus all civilian areas.


Arrangements were made to strengthen the BD Organisation and make clear the question of priority when dealing with UXO the different priorities (in order) are listed below:


  1. To deal with all UXO concerning Railways, Important Telecommunications Networks, Ordnance Factories and Oil Storage Depots.
  2. To deal with important roads, Essential Public Services, Electricity, Gas and Water Supplies and storage depots other than oil
  3. Health, i.e. Hospitals & Sewerage
  4. Any other property not related to the War Effort.


In the early days of Bomb Disposal, the responsibility of UXO on RAF property rested with the armament personnel on nominated "X" Stations.  Some primitive equipment and instruction was available for the purpose of these "X" Stations.


The nominated personnel were known as "X" Station Demolition Squads ad consisted of three Armament personnel of Senior Non Commissioned or Junior Non Commissioned Rank.  The list of "X" Stations at the time was as follows.


LIST OF "X" STATIONS
ABBOTSINCH
FARNBOROUGH
NEWARK
ACKLINGTON
FAULD
NORTHCOATS
ALDERGROVE
FELTWELL

NORTHOLT

ALTRINGHAM
FINNINGLEY
NORTH WEALD
BASSINGBOURNE
HALTON
OXFORD
BIGGIN HILL
HARPUR HILL
PADGATE
BIRCHAM NEWTON
HARWELL
HAWKINGE
PEMBROKE DOCK
BRAMCOAT
HEMSWELL
BOSCOMBE DOWN
PETERBOROUGH
HENDESFORD
SEALAND
CALSHOT
SHREWSBURY
CAMBRIDGE
HENDON
SILLOTH
CARDINGTON
HENLOW
ST ATHAN
SOUTH CERNEY
CARLISLE
CATTERICK
HIGH WYCOMBE
HONINGTON
ST EVAL
CHILMARK
HORNCHURCH
STRADISHALL
CHURCH FENTON
HORSHAM
TANGMERE
COSFORD
HUCKNALL
TERNHILL
COTTESORE
INVERGORDON
THORNABY
CRANWELL
JURBY
CRAVEN
THORNEY ISLAND
TURNHOUSE
CROYDON
KENLEY
KINLOSS
DEBDEN
UPPER HEYFORD
LECONFIELD
USWORTH
DETLING
LEUCHARS
WADDINGTON
LINTON ON OUSE
DISHFORTH
WATTISHAM
DREM
MANBY
WATTON
DRIFFIELD
MANSTON
MARHAM
DUXFORD
DYCE
EAST LAYS
WEST RAYNHAM
WICK
WYTON
MONTROSE
MOUNTBATTEN
EVANTON
MARTLESHAM HEATH
YORK






LOOKING AT THE WARTIME RAF BOMB DISPOSAL ORGANISATION IN MORE DETAIL

At the time the "X" Squads were operating there was little information available on German bombs and bomb components or even other types of enemy ammunition.


The procedure followed by the "X" Squads was to uncover or recover German bombs, unscrew the locking ring holding the electrical fuze and remove the fuze.  The bomb was then demolished in situ or transported to a safe site for disposal later.


The fuze was sent post haste to BD Headquarters for examination and dismantling to find an immunisation method.  Once a method was determined for a particular fuze and the necessary equipment manufactured it was sent to all squads with a set of instrucions and correct procedures for its use in dealing with that particular type of fuze.


Accidents were commonplace when withdrawing fuzes and were unavoidable in the early days but the "X" Squads who carried out this dangerous operation gained a vast amount of knowledge about the enemy weapons they were dealing with.

The Ministry of Defence In London Whitehall

The War Office in London Whitehall

The Home Office in London Whitehall