Entire villages cleared and roads closed as huge WW2 bomb is exploded

Sixty-four years since it ended, World War II can still put many people's lives at risk.

Over 1000 people from the villages of Ebberston and Allerston near Pickering, North Yorkshire were evacuated from their homes yesterday after a huge 500lb World War II bomb was discovered.

It was discovered by enthusiasts who are excavating a WWII plane which crashed in the area in 1940.

A kilometre wide exclusion zone was put around the area during the blast.

The neaby A170 road was also temporarily shut.

The bomb is not German. It is British. The aircraft is believed to be a Whitley bomber which was returning to the UK after being hit by flak over Germany.

The Whitleys, named after a suburb of Coventry where they were manufactured, conducted the RAF's first bombing raids on Germany during the War, and the RAF operated 1,814 of them between 1937 and 1945.

Entire villages cleared and roads closed as huge WW2 bomb is exploded

By Daily Mail Reporter
18th August 2009
Daily Mail

A huge Second World War bomb was destroyed in a controlled explosion today after two villages were evacuated as a precaution.

More than 1,000 people were moved from their homes in Ebberston and Allerston, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, before the 500lb bomb was made safe by an RAF team in a cloud of dust.

The device was discovered on Sunday in a field near Ebberston by enthusiasts who are excavating, under licence, a Second World War plane which crashed in the area in 1940.

Controlled explosion: Army experts destroy a Second World War bomb in North Yorkshire on Tuesday

The bomb disposal team spent two days preparing for the blast, surrounding the device with dozens of one tonne sandbags to minimise the impact of the explosion.

The aircraft is believed to be a Whitley bomber which was returning to the UK after being hit by flak over Germany.

The crew are thought to have bailed out of the plane before it crashed in the field.

According to one report, the bomb was found in the bucket of a digger.

A 300metre cordon was placed around the area but this was extended to more than a kilometre when the detonation took place.

Mountain of sandbags: Two villages were evacuated so the bomb could be destroyed

Dangerous: The 500lb bomb, pictured sitting atop some sandbags, was discovered on Sunday

The nearby A170 was closed for a short period while the detonation took place, North Yorkshire Police said.

Senior officers said a multi-agency operation was put into place to ensure the safety of people in the area.

Speaking ahead of the controlled explostion, acting Assistant Chief Constable Steve Read sought to reassure the local community.

Picturesque: Over 1,000 people were moved from their homes in Ebberston and Allerston (pictured) so the bomb could be made safe

He said: 'Members of the community of the Ebberston/Allerston area can be assured that North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council, Ryedale District Council, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, North Yorkshire Fire and rescue service and other partners, share a principal objective - to ensure the safety of people, their animals and their property.

'We rely upon the cooperation members of the public to assist us to complete this unforeseen but essential operation safely and speedily.

'Disruption to the everyday life of the area will be kept to a minimum.'

Evacuation: Enthusiasts who are excavating a Whitley bomber which crashed in a North Yorkshire field in 1940 discovered the bomb on Sunday

History behind Ebberston's bomb

Wednesday 19th August 2009

The Whitley was hit by flak over the German coast

The discovery of an unexploded bomb in a field near the village of Ebberston in August of 2009 revealed even more of North Yorkshire's historic connections with the RAF.

During the Second World War the airmen and aircraft of Bomber Command passed through Yorkshire in great numbers. It wasn't without loss though and in 1940 there were at least 18 air crashes in Ryedale.

Air crash researcher and historian Richard Allenby discovered that the plane which came down at Ebberston was a Whitley Mark V based at RAF Linton on Ouse with 102 Squadron.

There were five men on board; The pilot, 19-year-old Jack Crawford and second pilot Edward Osborn; Observation officers, Sergeant Walter Livesey and Sergeant George West and the Air Gunner, Sergeant Adams.

Richard Allenby described what happened to the plane as it flew home on October 27 1940.

"After being hit by flak over the German coast the aircraft apparently began to have trouble in one engine.

"The crew struggled back to England but were unable to work out their position in order to land back at base after descending to 1000 feet. The pilot turned the aircraft around and made for the coast whilst climbing to 6000 feet when the one good engine began to splutter.

The plane must have been carrying at least one bomb as it flew home.

"The order to bale out was given and all the crew survived the jump. Sergeant Livesey was reported to have landed close to a search light site at Harwood Dale, so presumably the aircraft came back in over the coast, north of Scarborough when the order to bale out was given.

"Other crew members landed at Scalby, Hackness and further inland at Allerston, where it is assumed the pilot landed, being closest to the crash site and assuming he was last to leave."

The aircraft crashed into a small field just south of Ebberston and part of the wreckage caught fire. Locals recall a wing overhanging the Scarborough to Pickering railway line.

Sadly three of the crew would die just a month later as Richard Allenby found out: "Osborn, Livesey and West were all part of a crew flying a Whitley P5077 DY-B, also of 102 Squadron. The aircraft left Topcliffe never to be seen again."

The pilot, Jack Crawford, also lost his life when his plane crashed over France in 1944.

BBC - York & North Yorkshire - History behind Ebberston's bomb (external - login to view)
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:28 PM..
That five hundred pounder wasn't nearly the biggest bomb the RAF carried in WW2.

Here is a list of some of the bombs from WW2:

4 lb hexagonal stick magnesium incendiary
30lb incendiary bomb
120lb GP bomb - Standard inter-war bomb, used at start of World War II
40 lb GP/HE bomb
250 lb GP/HE bomb
500 lb GP/HE bomb
500 lb MC bomb
1,000 lb MC bomb
1,900 lb GP/HE bomb
2,000 lb MC bomb
4,000 lb GP/HE bomb
4,000 lb MC bomb
4,000 lb HC bomb
4,000 lb Pink Pansy
4,000 lb Red Spot Fire
8,000 lb HC bomb
US M41 20lb Fragmentation bomb
US M34 2000lb General Purpose bomb
that is really cool though. Imagine living in that town? That would have been a great day.

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