George Beardmore finds a land-mine

One that was successfully defused. A German parachute mine that was later used to train bomb disposal officers, now in the Imperial War Museum.

The novelist George Beardmore was living in North Harrow and working for the BBC as a despatch rider in 1940. He had just become a father and had been declared medically unfit for military service earlier in the year. His diary records the effects of the war on London and especially its effect on his family and the people around him. On the 29th September:

A land-mine floated down by parachute onto the Kodak playing-fields just over the houses opposite and rendered us homeless. It was Jean and I who had found it. Over the weekend a captured Messerschmidt had been put on show, sixpence to view, a shilling to sit in the cockpit. Jean and I had turned up first thing — were indeed the first customers because I had to go to work and the plane was only just round the corner at the top of the street.

On leaving, Jean asked the gatekeeper: ‘Is that tub-shaped thing with the parachute attached part of the show?’ To which he replied: ‘What tub-shaped thing? I don’t know anything about a tub-shaped thing. I’ve been on fire-watch all night.’ Ten minutes later the fun began. The police arrived at the double and turned the whole street out of doors, advising them to leave doors and windows wide open and then to make themselves scarce while the bomb was de-fused.

While I went to work, Jean took the baby to some cousins in Kenton. Jean’s mother is taking the raids badly and re- turned in a panic to her cottage at Newton Longville. Someone came and removed fuse and detonator and here we are back home again.

See George Beardmore: Civilians at War: Journals, 1938-46.

For more on Landmines see 21st September 1940.

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