No21 Maintenance Unit
Royal Air Force, Fauld
Nr Tutbury, Staffs
Dear Mr Brown
Further to my letter of even reference dated 14th Dec 1944. I am writing to thank you for the help received, from you and your organisation, following the recent explosion here, and also the very detailed report received under cover of your letter dated 4th December. I am sorry I have not been able to write more fully at an early date, but my time has been completely occupied with a court of enquiry to the mine and its entrances.
Your team did a magnificent job for us, and we should have been unable to make headway without your help. I have the greatest admiration for your team, particularly as they were working in unusual surroundings where they had, not only to contend with bad falls of roof, but also with the explosives scattered on the roads, this must have added greatly to the difficulties and to the strain imposed on them.
I have sent to Group Headquarters, an official report of the assistance so promptly and generously rendered by the Mines Rescue Organisation and have forwarded therewith a copy of your report, which I hope will be sent to the Air Ministry in order that appropriate Royal Air Force Authorities may know the extent of the assistance given.
Will you please except on behalf of myself and the personnel of this unit, our sincere thanks for your efforts to rescue the men missing in the disaster and if possible, convey our appreciation to those members of your organisation who participated.
Group Captain Commanding
No 21 Maintenance Unit
Royal Air Force Fauld.
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Cheshire SK9 2JT.
5th May 1993
I recently came across a newspaper in the bottom of a drawer in an Auction Sale. It mentioned the Tutbury Disaster. I was there. The TRUE story.
Contrary to regulations, two 10001b bombs from a crashed aircraft arrived in the mine. My sergeant told me to stencil on them "for dumping in deep water".
I did this and went out of the mine for the 10 am break. Whilst in the rest room a civilian said "I will get some stillsons, take the noses off those crash bombs and we can send them out again". Fortunately for me I was ordered to return to a part of the mine some distance away from the bombs.
Whilst working on some sea mines, which were dropped by parachute, I heard a boom, the lights went out, there was a rush of air, dust everywhere, a second rush of air and then silence. Fortunately I managed to find a torch which I kept for emergencies and leading my party got out of the mine to find blazing boxes of incendiary bombs which had been jolted by the blast.
Later looking for survivors, I was nearly shot by the R.A.F. regiment who were trying to kill terrified sheep and cattle from nearby farms, one of which had a blazing huge burn caused by the blast.
I was present at the enquiry but was not called to give evidence and shortly after posted to Italy and ended up in Yugoslavia helping Tito until the war ended.
There is no doubt in my mind the civilian (who had been promoted from a cleaner) had put a wrench on the nose pistol, turned it, crushed the detonator inside, exploded the bomb which then caused a sympathetic detonation throughout the new area, which being un-concreted allowed the blast to go up and take the top of the hillside with it.
This is the true story to put the record straight.
M J K Ex. R.A.F.
I have with held his name because I have not been able to get in touch with the author of this letter.