Any Danger UXB?
Graham alerted me to this utterly fascinating document a couple of weeks ago, but it’s taken me a while to get through it as it’s just so interesting. It’s an in-depth report, commissioned to find out the likelyhood of there being unexploded WWI and WWII bombs knocking around Greenwich Park while the Olympics are on.
Amazingly it concludes that there is a medium to high risk, which stretched my imagination a little to start with. It felt a bit like the consultants were covering their asses. But, reading the report, I can see why they have come to that conclusion. At least BACTEC will be able to say ‘I told you so’ if anything happens.
But, oh boy, the detail. I’m sure Stephen of Blitzwalkers knows all this already but for the rest of us, there’s all kinds of what I would call goodies (if they weren’t about direct hits on Greenwich) in there – little windows into a world we can only imagine.
“As many ambulances as possible requested’ for the hit on the Maze Hill Searchlight Battery (which I didn’t even know existed.) “Fire at Vicarage” 19th April, 1941. Bomb fell thirty yards from back of house in King William Walk, 8th November 1940. Oddly, the direct hit on the Observatory is only mentioned as damage.
But it’s not just historical records – geographical conditions are taken into account, as well as the angle bombs might have fallen at which makes them harder to detect.
Apparently, it’s not just enemy bombs we need to take into consideration. Bits of Allied anti aircraft artillery rock up from time to time across the country – and the flower garden up by the deer was used for a covert anti-aircraft installation, though it’s hard to tell whether it was a defensive minefield, somewhere to store or make explosives or just somewhere the Home Guard did a bit of drilling. If it’s the first, it’s possible there’s some contamination (perhaps that’s the reason why the flower garden isn’t being used for the events?)
BACTEC seems to think that the real risk of coming across any UXBs is in heavy drilling or digging, which we are assured will not happen, but they also say there’s a smaller risk of discovering one in much shallower work. They say that they were unable to do a more detailed assessment because they were not party to the plans at the time.
If you take a peek at this fascinating document, don’t miss the appendices at the end – lots of maps, RAF and Luftwaffe aerial surveys, pictures and bomb-site info.