Danger Remained in the Countryside

Other more practical aspects of clearing up after the conflict were being reported in 1946. In January there was an article in the Northern Daily about a local “Bomb Alley”. The bombs in this case were not German bombs but thousands of tons of British bombs that were stored along stretches of the Caistor High Street, which was consequently still closed to traffic.

In July the Nottingham Evening Post issued a warning about undetonated Butterfly Bombs (anti-personnel bombs) which had been

“dropped in thickly wooded country a few miles south of Horncastle …in Haltham, Scrivelsby and Tumby Wood area”.

Flamethrower in action on woods near Horncastle

In June, the Yorkshire Post carried a front page report with photograph of Sappers clearing these bombs that with a novel solution that today we would think of as an environmental nightmare. They used a Bren gun carrier (armoured vehicle) fitted with a flame thrower that:

“threw a 90ft jet… the vegetation withered, then burst into flames and vapourised….leaving an acre bared allowing the soldiers to search in comparative safety for any live explosives.”

A similar problem was present on the coastline and beaches where British minefields had been left, and miles of barbed wire and hundreds of pillboxes and anti-tank obstacles had to be cleared. Most of these could be reasonably fenced off but for some time, holiday makers were happily playing within 50 meters of a live minefield.

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