Darwin Awards - exploding briefcases

#1
http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1994-18.html

anyone ever heard of this darwin awards story? :)

Military Intelligence
1994 Darwin Award Nominee
Unconfirmed by Darwin
(1970s, Northern Ireland) Back in the late 70s, intelligence units in Northern Ireland were issued exploding briefcases to carry sensitive documents. These briefcases were lined with oxygen bricks. To arm the case, one simply removed a small pin next to the handle of the case. Thus armed, an opened case would instantly combust, destroying everything within a meter of it.
Because there was a half-second delay before the bricks ignited, the lids were designed to stop on a spring catch, so that no document could be rescued or photographed before it was destroyed.

To open the case safely, therefore, the sequence was:

1. Make sure the arming pin is in place.
2. Open the case.
3. Using a thin object such as a ruler, push back the spring catch.
4. The case will now open.

I won't embarrass the unit or the female Lance Corporal involved by naming names, but in this particular case, the sequence went as follows:

1. Make sure the arming pin is in place.
2. Open the case.
3. Look for a small thin object to push back the catch.
4. Find none immediately available.
5. Notice that the arming pin is a small thin object.
6. Use the arming pin to push back the catch.
6. Kiss one "intelligence" unit goodbye.

Darwin asks, "Can anyone confirm?!"

COMMENT: Jack says, "I was in a US Army Bomb Disposal unit during the early 70s. Aside from the gratuitous "dumb blond" joke, I find this story quite believable. The exploding briefcases probably contained a perchlorate mix, perhaps potassium perchlorate. There were incendiary briefcases during that time period (we were told that drug dealers were using the same setup) and intelligence types are not to be trusted around explosives or incendiaries!"
 
#2
"EB" stories were rife at the time in the Sandhurst Block.

One saturday afternoon almost ended in tears when the SIB mistook the unit's 12 man room for the "swamp" on another floor and barged into a room full of "builders" looking for drugs in their accomodation.

After they had pacified "Shag", the "builders" Section mongrel, they remained quite insistant on opening the case; until an SIB colleague asked

" why is there a pistol and rounds in the locker?"

" Because he's gone for a shower"

At this point, all the other weapons were produced. This included some concealed about the immediate person of the 10 " builders", in the room. Until the EB had been mentioned the builders had been completely non-plussed, and still sat watching the rugby in a variety of flea-bitten sofas and armchairs collected from skips around the 6 counties.

They SIB NCO's were then invited to speak to the HQNI watchkeeper who was, suddenly, there on a phone, that had appeard from beneath the mountain of carry-out wrappers, and empty Tennents and McEwans tins.

Chastened by the watchkeeper, and deeply concerned by the sight of one or two weapons they had never seen before, (from the wrong side of the foresight), they politely made their excuses and left. Escorted by the Garrison Orderly Officer and Guard Commander, who were desparately strugginlg to conceal their amusement.

There was another alleged incident in a Ford Capri in the Castle Street car park. There was supposed to be an officer involved, so I'm sure it was a wild, unsubstantiated allegation :oops:

I'm sure that like EDKs, EBs were withdrawn a long time ago on Health and Safety gounds. "You can't have an exploding briefcase, it might explode!"

Frankly I'm surprised the Army are still allowed the Leatherman, never mind bullets.

PS: please don't assume the girl was from the Corps :wink:
 
#3
subbsonic said:
"EB" stories were rife at the time in the Sandhurst Block.

One saturday afternoon almost ended in tears when the SIB mistook the unit's 12 man room for the "swamp" on another floor and barged into a room full of "builders" looking for drugs in their accomodation.

After they had pacified "Shag", the "builders" Section mongrel, they remained quite insistant on opening the case; until an SIB colleague asked

" why is there a pistol and rounds in the locker?"

" Because he's gone for a shower"

At this point, all the other weapons were produced. This included some concealed about the immediate person of the 10 " builders", in the room. Until the EB had been mentioned the builders had been completely non-plussed, and still sat watching the rugby in a variety of flea-bitten sofas and armchairs collected from skips around the 6 counties.

They SIB NCO's were then invited to speak to the HQNI watchkeeper who was, suddenly, there on a phone, that had appeard from beneath the mountain of carry-out wrappers, and empty Tennents and McEwans tins.

Chastened by the watchkeeper, and deeply concerned by the sight of one or two weapons they had never seen before, (from the wrong side of the foresight), they politely made their excuses and left. Escorted by the Garrison Orderly Officer and Guard Commander, who were desparately strugginlg to conceal their amusement.

There was another alleged incident in a Ford Capri in the Castle Street car park. There was supposed to be an officer involved, so I'm sure it was a wild, unsubstantiated allegation :oops:

I'm sure that like EDKs, EBs were withdrawn a long time ago on Health and Safety gounds. "You can't have an exploding briefcase, it might explode!"

Frankly I'm surprised the Army are still allowed the Leatherman, never mind bullets.

PS: please don't assume the girl was from the Corps :wink:
would be impossible, surely they were all WRACs in the 70s...? :)
 
#4
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
subsonic said:
PS: please don't assume the girl was from the Corps :wink:
would be impossible, surely they were all WRACs in the 70s...? :)
WRAC were affiliated to some cap badges and wore the "real" cap badge on the left tunic above the medal ribbons.

Some revolutionary tradeswomen ( Int + RMP) also adopted the stable-belt and later the beret, some time before the WRAC were disbanded.

But NTTT may be better informed than me.
 
#6
Beware:
Airsoft briefcase walts...................................................................................
 
#7
It happened. 1976 or 77. I was on duty in a portacabin above the one from which smoke and flames were emerging. Tis true. It was a woman wot dun it.
 
#8
Exploding briefcases?...no

Exploding wallets?..ahh, that's another story!
 
#9
The female soldiers cap badged in about 1990 (from my increasingly hazy memory) - we certainly celebrated in Hong Kong. But for some time before cap badging we were on the same promotion roll competing with the men. Unlike other parts of the Army where the WRAC had their own promotion roll and as a consequence got promoted much faster than their fellow male tradesmen (causing not unreasonable disaffection in the male ranks). We also generally completed the basic training element alongside the chaps, although there were exceptions as the WRAC insisted that WRAC basic training was as good as the male Army basic training (Ha!)

The officers from Sandhurst started coming directly in and cap badged at about the same time.
 
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