SOE workshop in Welwyn Garden City

hansvonhealing in the Sten thread mentioned the Welgun

hansvonhealing said:
There was another British SMG - the Welgun. Apparently successfully trialed but not put into production.
"The Welgun was designed by the SOE workshop in Welwyn Garden City, from which the weapon received its name. The submachine gun was first developed for use by SOE undercover agents but then made for use by airborne troops. The Welgun featured an unusual bolt, attached to the recoil spring around the barrel, which, with a stock that folded across the top of the receiver, allowed the submachine gun to be extremely compact''.
This reminded me of the Welbike, designed to be dropped out of a plane and provide Paras with instant mobility.

A quick wiki search also brought up the Welrod, a silenced pistol, used by the SOE.

Does anyone know what other devices were built by these guys during the war?
They also came up with a submersible canoe, it appears on the History channel with depressing regularity.
SOE Workshop was known as Churchill's Toyshop at the time. They designed the Limpet Mine, Blacker Bombard (Lt Col Blacker designed it) - also known as the Spigot Mortar, The Sticky Bomb, The SIP Grenade (very nasty, nasty burning weapon :evil: , Time Pencil, etc.

They supplied not only SOE but also the BRO (British Resistance Organisation - Auxiliary Units) The official name for the workshops was MD(1)

Incidentally, the prototype limpet was made from a baking tin and some radio magnets I believe :lol:

The house where the "Toyshop" was is now the offices of a computer firm. I understand they are very proud of their premises!
visit the SOE section of Imperial War Museum - well worth a look

not sure if these guys did the exploding camel dung?
Yeah I think they did.

There's a website out there something like where they have pictures of a lot of the MD(1) products.

The BRO became the testing ground for virtually all the "new toys" including the Welrod. For more info on the BRO visit which is the BRO museum. :wink:
PassingBells said:
A quick wiki search also brought up the Welrod, a silenced pistol, used by the SOE.
never heard of it myself :wink:

also see

"Exploding Rats" thrown ito passing coal tenders so that the fireman would feed them into the boiler as he stoked more coal into the locomotive.

see: "Secret Warfare the arms and techniques of the resistance"
Orbis publishing 1983 ISBN 0-85613-586-0
Ah, that rings a bell now. One of those stories that the Beeb publishes occasionally as the records come out of the 30 year prohibition (something doesn't add up, I know).

subsonic said:
never heard of it myself
Neither had I, but reportedly 'used in the Falklands'. I'm not aware of any occasions where a silenced pistol would have been used, but there again I wouldn't necessarily be would I?
There was also the Liberator pistol:

It was a one-shot .45 ACP pressed steel pistol intended to be dropped in large numbers over Occupied Europe as part of "attack packs" for use by the resistance.

These were built in the US, not Welwyn, but for SOE's Operation Braddock:

They were never dropped but apparently found their way to the Far East issued by OSS.

Most of SOE's gadgets and special weapons were illustrated in a top secret Catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies. This was recently reproduced by the Public Record Office in a book titled Secret Agent's Handbook of Special Devices.

It includes items like the exploding rats, coal, and briefcases - Ian Fleming no doubt got a lot of inspiration from SOE's toys!
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