18 September 1940: Bomb Disposal Team Tackle UXB in Well

18 Sep

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Italian 500lb bombs (NWMA Malta)

Italian 500lb bombs (NWMA Malta)

Malta’s bomb disposal team completed a hazardous mission today when they succeeded in retrieving an unexploded bomb from deep in a well. The 400lb Italian bomb had been lying under water for a week in the well which was inside a partly demolished house in Senglea.

The water was pumped from the well and Sappers of the Royal Engineers cleared out debris and mud from the bottom. The bomb, which was fuzed at both ends, was in a dangerous state. It was decided to hoist it up to the ground floor by means of a gin, tackle, sling and ropes.

Because of its condition the bomb had to be kept horizontal as it was hoisted from the well. However, it was two and a half feet long and the mouth of the well only three feet one inch wide, giving a very small clearance. There was also a risk of the sling slipping while the bomb was being hauled up.

A Master Rigger of H M Dockyard was called on to construct the lifting gear. Lieutenant W M Eastman, RAOC, assisted him by guiding the bomb from below, at the foot of the well. Captain R L Jephson Jones, RAOC, went to the top to guide it through the opening. The Navy then took the bomb to be dumped at sea. (1)

In a separate incident today, Lt Eastman defused a 50kg German bomb at Qrendi – the first of this type to be defuzed in Malta.


Weather  Fine with scirocco.

1014-1040 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy fighter aircraft approaching the Island Three Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and engage the raiders. A Hurricane pilot claims one aircraft shot down. The remainder turn away before crossing the coast.


8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  No 3 Post A Company evacuated due to unexploded bombs.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 1 x 400lb Senglea.

(1) UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010


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Posted by on September 18, 2020 in 1940, September 1940


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