Recommend me books on history of bomb disposal please

#1
No, not looking for a how-to or Haynes manual on bomb disposal. I am looking for a good book on bomb disposal in WW2 and one on general bomb disposal history.

Brave men but either lacking brains or imagination, they do a very difficult job, under trying circumstances only to have the piss taken out of them by movies like 'Hurt Locker'.

You'd never catch me volunteering for that sort of thing but I would like to know more about it.

Cheers, D_B
 

RiflemanTom

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#2
I've recently read "8 Lives Down" by Chris Hunter which I thought was quite a good book and well worth a read. Another book you might like is "Malice Aforethought" by Ian Jones, which is a history of boobytraps.
 

RiflemanTom

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#3
From the back cover of Malice Aforethought....

In italy in 1943 British troops came across a highly desireable billet abandoned by the retreating Germans, it's front door invitingly half open. Entering cautiously through a window to avoid the likely booby trap they approached the front door from inside and found attached to it the expected explosive charge, apparently designed to function when the door was moved.

They left the house and attached a line to the doorknob. They retreated across the road to a slit trench and pulled the line. A second trap hidden in the trench and attached to the door exploded and killed them all.
 
#4
'Designed to Kill' by Major Arthur Hogben is probably one of the best researched books on WW2 EOD. My copy is signed by the author!
 

Pararegtom

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Dont stand there, by Major catastrophe !!!! just a thought, but on a serious note Red One by Kevin Ivison GM and Eight men down by Chris Hunter, Chris is a mate of mine and a very switched on cookie, and if Pete Norton GC ever writes a book , that would be the SOP for every wannebe HRBDO
 
#6
Dont stand there, by Major catastrophe !!!! just a thought, but on a serious note Red One by Kevin Ivison GM and Eight men down by Chris Hunter, Chris is a mate of mine and a very switched on cookie, and if Pete Norton GC ever writes a book , that would be the SOP for every wannebe HRBDO
You can't know CDW that well if you've recommended his work of fiction, oh sorry, biography ;)

What has happened to all the smilies?
 
#7
There is an absolutely fantastic book called "Braver Men Walk Away," penned by Peter Gurney I believe.

It's been a while, but if I recall correctly he began his life as a padbrat, joined the RAOC and eventually worked at high threat level for the Met. I read it at 17, just as I was joining up, and couldn't put it down. A very talented writer, showing real thought and humility throughout. Some rather harrowing passages too.
 

Pararegtom

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
Pete Gurneys book is excellant read it years ago, and the chapter on the Downing St Mortar is brilliant, and Im proud to say I bought him a large whiskey at a bar not so long ago
 
#9
3-2-1 Bomb Gone by Col Steve Smith concentrates on NI but does give some insight into the development of EOD methods. The only book I've read on the subject, I must say I enjoyed it, my favourite parts being where one operator approached a device and had an 'oh ****' moment when he saw just how large it was and the only thing he could think of was to photograph it; and the author's approach to a suspect device, where he was being escorted by some young infantry lads who were terrified of being blown up. On the other hand, he was quite at home working on the device but was terrified of being taken out by a sniper - ironic that dealing with a sniper was more within the infantry lads' comfort zone.
 
#10

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#11
There is an absolutely fantastic book called "Braver Men Walk Away," penned by Peter Gurney I believe.

It's been a while, but if I recall correctly he began his life as a padbrat, joined the RAOC and eventually worked at high threat level for the Met. I read it at 17, just as I was joining up, and couldn't put it down. A very talented writer, showing real thought and humility throughout. Some rather harrowing passages too.
I agree. "Braver men walk away" is a fantastic read. "8 Lives down" is bloody good too.
 
A

armadillo

Guest
#12
there is a book that was on small scale print called UXB, it was released by a small firm and never went mainstream. I read it before going to shriv, went into details about the y fuze etc. Ironically its best read whilst watching the DVD of the same name as it runs chronologically. It is also the first book to mention the butterfly bomb in detail, this was the worst and most horrific bombing on the UK from the luftwaffe which was covered up for many years by the war office.

As for Chris Hunter my patience with him has well and truly gone, showboating capability and putting guys in danger on a recent TV show.

Peter Gurney book was the one that got me interested in the trade, and should be made into a film.
 
#14
I agree that Arthur Hogben's Designed to Kill is probably the most authoritative work but would also recommend this set of books by veteran wartime Bomb & Mine disposal officer Lt Noel Cashford MBE RNVR. These books contain informative illustrated bite-sized stories about wartime and post-war EOD characters of all three service and the incidents in which they were involved and a fifth book is in production:
All Mine!
All Theirs!
Bang
Ticking Clock!

I would also recommend Chris Ransted's Bomb Disposal and the British Casualties of WW2 which provides a good overview and lists wartime EOD casualties of all three services. James Owen's Danger UXB and Melanie Jappy's Danger UXB also deal with the work of Bomb Disposal Teams during WW II.

Naval 'Render Mines Safe Officers' (RMSOs) and 'Bomb Safety Officers' (BSOs) dealt with bombs and mines all over the country during the Blitz as well as other places in the world. Their activities are described in:
Secret Naval Investigator by Cdr Frederick Ashe Lincoln QC RNVR
Service Most Silent by John Frayn Turner
Softly Tread the Brave by Ivan Southall
The Explosive Years by Lt Bert Blackmore RNVR
Of Mines and Men by Lt Cdr G A Hodges GM VRD RNR
Mines over Malta - The Wartime Exploits of Cdr Edward D Woolley GM* RNVR by Frederick R Galea
Then there is the little known story of the Naval Port Clearance Parties ('P' Parties) which cleared the ports of Cherbourg, Caen, Dieppe, Le Havre, Boulogne, Rouen, Calais, Ostend, Terneuzen, Zeebrugge, Bruges, Flushing, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Bremen of ordnance, including booby-trapped IEDs, from D-Day onwards, often under fire. 60 mines were cleared at Bremen alone. They only suffered one casualty, a diver who was who had the bad luck to be killed in a cinema in Antwerp when it received a direct hit from a rocket. See Open the Ports - The Story of the Human Minesweepers by J Grosvenor and Lt Cdr L M Bates RNVR.

Finally, for naval EOD during the Falklands conflict, I would recommend Keep Your Head Down by Lt Cdr Bernie Bruen MBE DSC RN.

For those interested, awards to RN wartime and post-war EOD personnel can be found via History of RN Minewarfare & Clearance Diving on the Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association (MCDOA) website.
 
#15
No Christmas stocking for you this year d_b, you'll need a bookcase!
 
#16
No Christmas stocking for you this year d_b, you'll need a bookcase!
Aye Vas, but what great reading ! I couldn't wait for Xmas and the wife to not get me any of the books I want AGAIN so have ordered two already which are winging their way to me now. The rest are on the wish list.
D_B
 
#17
Heartily endorse the recommendation of Hogben's Designed to Kill. If your interest ever takes you away from EOD and more towards the history of British air-dropped ordnance, then Bombs Gone is another excellent tome from Maj Hogben, co-authored with Wg Cdr MacBean, who was a Bomber Command armament officer during the war.
 

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