Tag: Bomb Disposal

Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer GC

Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (03/02/1915 – 03/05/2015) was awarded the George Cross for extensive work on defusing German bombs dropped on United Kingdom during World War II.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 35292, Page: 5653, reads

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the GEORGE CROSS in recognition of most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, to: —
Second-Lieutenant (Acting Lieutenant) Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (126305), Corps of Royal Engineers.”

Stuart  Archer was the only VC or GC (up till 03/02/2015) to reach the age of 100. He passed away on 3rd May 2015 and was cremated at the New Southgate Crematorium.

DRW © 2018. Created 23/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

Alexander Fraser Campbell GC

Alexander Fraser “Sandy” Campbell (02/05/1898 – 18/10/1940) was awarded the George Cross for his actions on 17 October 1940 in Coventry.

“He was 42 years old and serving in the Corps of Royal Engineers when he and Sergeant Michael Gibson were called to deal with an unexploded bomb which had fallen on the Triumph Engineering Company’s works. War production in the two factories had stopped because of it, and a large number of people living nearby had been evacuated. Campbell found the bomb was fitted with a delayed action fuse which it was impossible to remove, so he decided to transport it to a safe place. This was done by lorry. He lay alongside the bomb so that he could hear if it started ticking and could warn Gibson, the driver, to stop and run for cover. Next the two men carried the bomb a mile to Whitley Common, where they successfully made the bomb safe. Both men were killed the following day trying to defuse another bomb.”

Following a funeral service at Coventry Cathedral on 25 October 1940, the squad were buried in a collective grave in Coventry’s London Road Cemetery. The squad comprised Second Lieutenant Alexander Fraser Campbell GC and Sappers William Gibson, Richard Gilchrest, Jack Plumb, Ronald William Skelton, Ernest Arthur Stote and Gibson.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 17/03/2017. Images and information courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:50

Richard John Hammersley Ryan GC, RN

Richard John Hammersley Ryan (23/07/1903-21/09/1940). was awarded the George Cross for his actions on 16-21 September 1940 in Dagenham, Essex.

“He was 37 years old and serving in the Royal Navy when he was one of two officers who dealt with a Type C magnetic mine that fell at Clacton. When the first magnetic mines fell on London, Lt Cmdr Richard Ryan, with Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth, came forward without hesitation for the perilous work of making them safe, although with their unrivaled knowledge they were well aware of the dangers. The clock of the bomb fuse was normally timed to explode 21 seconds after impact. If it failed to do so, it might be restarted by the slightest movement. Together they dealt with 6 of these mines, one of them in a canal where they worked waist-deep in mud and water, making any escape impossible. The fuse could only be found and removed by groping for it under water. At Hornchurch they made safe a very hazardous mine which threatened the aerodrome and an explosives factory, and then they went to Dagenham to tackle a mine hanging from a parachute in a warehouse. Tragically, it exploded, killing them both.”

He is buried in Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery

DRW © 2014-2018. Created 16/03/2017

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:36

Reginald Vincent Ellingworth GC

Reginald Vincent Ellingworth (28/01/1898-21/09/1940) and Richard Ryan were awarded the GC for their actions during operations between 16 and 21 September 1940 at Clacton, Essex.

“He was 42 years old and serving in the Royal Navy when he was one of two officers who dealt with a Type C magnetic mine that fell at Clacton. When the first magnetic mines fell on London, Richard Ryan GC, with Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth, came forward without hesitation for the perilous work of making them safe, although with their unrivalled knowledge they were well aware of the dangers. The clock of the bomb fuse was normally timed to explode 21 seconds after impact. If it failed to do so, it might be restarted by the slightest movement. Together they dealt with 6 of these mines, one of them in a canal where they worked waist-deep in mud and water, making any escape impossible. The fuse could only be found and removed by groping for it under water. At Hornchurch they made safe a very hazardous mine which threatened the aerodrome and an explosives factory, and then they went to Dagenham to tackle a mine hanging from a parachute in a warehouse. Tragically, it exploded, killing them both.”

He is buried in Milton Cemetery in Portsmouth.

© DRW 2013-2018. Created 15/03/2017

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:38

Edward Womersley Reynolds EGM

Edward Womersley Reynolds (1917 – 14/12/1955)  was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM) for two separate incidents in Bristol in the late summer of 1940.

The Citation reads:
“Lieutenant Edward Womersley Reynolds, 101 and 102 Bomb Disposal Sections, RE.
On 17th August 1940, a 250kg bomb landed in a garden, but did not explode. On digging down 17ft, he found that it had a new type of fuse, about which no instructions had been received. However, he removed the fuse and found that it had a clockwork delayed action. This was of great merit due to the lack of any exact knowledge of this type of fuse. On 1st September a large bomb fell in Temple Street, wrecking the front of some business premises. However, on 3rd September an unexploded 250kg bomb was found in the debris. Reynolds, summoned to the scene, found it had a clockwork fuse that was still ticking; according to orders, he applied for instructions, suggesting that the sooner it was dealt with the better. Permission was given to attempt to disarm the bomb due to the effect on public morale. Lieutenant Reynolds removed the fuse and rendered the bomb inoperative. The risk in doing so was very considerable.”

His Empire Gallantry Medal was later exchanged for the George Cross (GC)

Edward passed away on 14th December 1955 in Birmingham and is buried in St Peters Churchyard, Harborne, Birmingham.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 15/03/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:38
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