Suffolk bomb have been research

AN UNEXPLODED bomb found half-buried in shingle at Orfordness was probably not dropped in anger – and may have been a missile which went astray during ballistics testing missions.

AN UNEXPLODED bomb found half-buried in shingle at Orfordness was probably not dropped in anger – and may have been a missile which went astray during ballistics testing missions.

And there may be others still to be found – 50 years after they were set off by scientists researching into new weapons.

Ipswich man Reg Cook, who worked as a research and experimental technician at the isolated site after the Second World War, said large numbers of bombs were launched and dropped during a series of tests over several years.

"The bombs were dropped by planes from Farnborough and Martlesham into the sea about three-quarters of a mile off Orfordness and were filmed with high-speed cine cameras," said Mr Cook.


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"They were usually weighted so the scientists could analyse their different paths and how they landed.

"The bombs also did not have detonators as the object was to study the path and characteristics of the fall, not the explosive.

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"While they were dropped out to sea there were a number which were dropped short and I reckon that the bomb found recently was one of these."

The barnacle-covered bomb found earlier this month by a National Trust warden turned out to be a 250lb bomb measuring 1ft in diameter and was taken out to sea and exploded by Royal Navy experts from Portsmouth.

Orfordness was used for ground and air-to-ground ballistics experiments from after the war until the mid-1950s, when it was taken over for atomic weapons research.

While Mr Cook, born and bred in Ipswich and now 76, worked at the site it was in the control of the Ministry of Supply as an outstation of The Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, Hampshire.

He was also based on the island in late January 1953 when the east coast was savaged by floods as a tidal surge swept down the North Sea.

"I can remember we had to manhandle as much of the equipment as we could and get across the river to Orford as fast as we could as the water completely flooded the island," he said.

"We had to clean all the salt water off the equipment and had to wait quite a while before we could get back onto Orfordness and carry on our work."

n Did you work at Orfordness when it was a research station? Let us have your memories. Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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