Daily Mail

Bouncing back, WW2 bomb on a Kent beach

- By George Odling

RUSTY and battered, it looks like a harmless piece of wreckage washed up by the waves.

But the barnacle- encrusted metal disc found on a Kent beach is a bouncing bomb from the Dambusters raid of 1943.

Bomb disposal experts rushed to Reculver Beach near Herne Bay after a 5ft-wide piece of the 9,000lb, 74-year- old cylindrica­l device was found by an Environmen­t Agency digger during routine clearance.

Luckily, it was found to be a dummy that did not contain explosives. It was used in a test to calculate the exact height and rotation needed for the spinning bombs to hit their targets – three dams in Germany’s industrial heartland.

The beach was the site of trials before 19 Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron flew from an RAF base in Lincolnshi­re to take part in Opera- tion Chastise to the Ruhr Valley. The dummies were used at Chesil Beach in Dorset and Reculver.

The bombs were designed by engineer Barnes Wallis to bounce over torpedo nets behind the dams before sinking and detonating.

Trials showed they had to be dropped from 60ft at 232mph with a back spin of 500rpm to be accurate.

The Mohne and Eder dams were breached and the Sorpe was damaged, causing almost 1,300 deaths from flooding. Eight of the 19 bombers failed to return, with 53 aircrew dead and three taken prisoner in the raid, which was immortalis­ed in the 1955 film The Dam Busters. Alan Porter, 71, of Herne Bay Science Museum, said: ‘We’ve got a similar one but it’s smaller. This one is an Upkeep, which were actually used in the Dambusters raid. ‘I’m astounded. It’s so heavy that we might leave it there. I like the idea of keeping it as a public sculpture.’

 ??  ?? Unexploded: A German with a bomb after the Dambusters raid A piece of history: The remains of the test bomb on Reculver Beach
Unexploded: A German with a bomb after the Dambusters raid A piece of history: The remains of the test bomb on Reculver Beach

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