25 August 2010

Tuesday 20th August 1940: delayed-action bombs

Rather warm, dull, boisterous, rain at night. Ten more delayed bombs to-day. They are being exploded, and we knew a 1,000lb one was to be fired at Merton at 6 p.m., we heard it at 6.20. They are dug down to and raised and an explosive charge put underneath; the people are cleared from round about and then they are fired. I admire the pluck of the men who do the job as they are likely to go off at any moment. Apparently there is a slow chemical process in the bomb which delays the action. These bombs were dropped last Friday. Have heard of bombs dropped elsewhere which have taken a fortnight to go off. Mr.Marriot's two sons are killed. Harold and Eddy called at night. Took down the other pedal of cycle, cleaned bearings also the crank case bearings: getting the old bike up to concert pitch now.
On this day: Uncle Fred admired the 'pluck' of bomb disposal teams (above), meanwhile it was on this day that Churchill, speaking in the House of Commons, said of RAF pilots:
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Churchill also said to the House:
The British Empire and the United States will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs... I do not view the process with any misgiving . I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll. Let it roll in full flood, inexorable, irrestistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days."

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