THE 1940 REORGANISATION OF

RAF BOMB DISPOSAL

By the summer of 1940 the Air Ministry realised that the "X" Squads were overtasked and stretched too far so a decision was made to disband the "X" Stations Squads in favour of official RAF Bomb Disposal Fights comprising of:


  • 1 Officer of Flying Officer Rank
  • 1 Flight Sergeant Armourer
  • 2 Sergeant Armourers
  • 12 Corporal Armourers
  • 12 Ordinary Airmen (ACH.GD) for digging parties
  • 2 or 3 Drivers (MT)

Motor vehicles were also provided as was the most up to date equipment for dealing with UXO.  Each Flight was given a number and a name.  Each Flight had a designated area of responsibility and operated within its own area.  The area HQ list is as follows.


Stations designated as RAF BD Flight Headquarters
MOUNTBATTEN
FELTWELL
EVANTON
MIDDLE WALLOP
SEALAND
SKEABRAE
REDHILL
HUCKNALL
SULLOM VOE
DETLING
DIGBY
KENLEY
STORMY DOWN
CHURCH FENTON
HORNCHURCH
COLERNE
THORNABY
WATTON
HALTON
JURBY
LINDHOLM
NORTH WEAL
KIRKBRIDE
WICK
COSFORD
BELFAST
STORNAWAY
BRAMCOTE
GRANGEMOUTH


These flights became operational in October 1940


The newly operational Flights were very efficient in dealing with UXO and their equipment enabled them to undertake excavation to almost any depth.  A lot of their tools were non magnetic or non ferrous for an added degree of safety when working on or around an unexploded bomb or missile.  The Flights had the most up to date equipment for dealing with German and also Allied bomb fuzes of all known types at the time.


RAF Bomb Disposal qualifying courses were started in March 1940 at the School of Technical Training at Melksham in Wiltshire where selected personnel were sent to undergo training in the art of Bomb Disposal.  They were taught procedures and methods enabling them to deal with all types of munitions.


The course lasted six weeks.  If the trainee passed his course with a mark of 65% or more, he was promoted to Corporal in the trade of Armourer/Bomb Disposal.  He also received a rise in his pay from Group 5 to Group 2.