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Thread: 8701 Air Disarmament Wing 1945

  1. #1
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    Default 8701 Air Disarmament Wing 1945

    I'm researching my grandfather (J.C.Roberts) RAF service in WWII. He spent the latter part of the war in Belgium and Holland taking part in the dissolution of the Luftwaffe as part of 8701 AD Wing. He was a Squadron Leader at this point. I know they were involved in bomb disposal and destroying enemy equipment and so on. There's a particular episode in 1945 when the unit dealt with the defusing of a large number of bombs just outside Brussels. According to the official history this was one of the most daring examples of bomb disposal in the history of warfare. Not much seems to be known about this or the wider activities of these units. Has anyone heard anything about it? I'm going to look at the TNA records for 8701 Wing in the next couple of weeks so will hopefully find out some more.

  2. #2
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    Hello,

    Have you seen a copy of :

    Dissolution of the Luftwaffe: The Work of the British Air Forces of Occupation Germany, published by the HMSO in 1995 (a reprint of the original 2 volumes done in a restricted printing by the RAF in 1947)?

    If not, you'll need to look at Volume II, pages 126-7, which covers the activities of No.8701 Air Disarmament Wing operations in the Low Countries (Belgium and Holland), 1944-45.

    Too lengthy to transcribe, and I don't have a scanner - check with your local library. Be warned, there is little mention of individuals, those that are mentioned are mainly in staff positions.

    By the way; the operation you refer to is described, thus:

    "At the end of 1945 it was suggested that the possibility be investigated of handing over all remaining GAF munitions in Belgium and Holland for disposal by the indigenous services, subject only to the clearance by the RAF of certain bombs which were of great potential danger. The rendering safe of these particular bombs was subsequently the object of one of the most interesting, delicate and hazardous bomb disposal operations conducted during or since the war."

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th September 2017 at 00:54.

  3. #3
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    Hi there, sorry for the delay in responding. I did get hold of a copy of the book you mentioned and tracked down my grandfather in a series of Air Disarmament units in Belgium, Holland and possibly Germany. He was first with 312 AD Mobile Detachment, then CO of 300 ADMD based in Belgium and Holland for most of 1945. He then seems to be briefly with 2002 and 2001 AD wings in Germany before leaving the service in May 46. All fascinating stuff!

    Steve R.

  4. #4
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    I wonder if he was involved with this clear up too...
    On 17 April, 35 Wing moved to Twente in Holland four miles from Enschede and on the German border. Flt/Lt David Greville Heygate flying with No.2 Squadron wrote home....
    "We moved to Twente, an airfield taken over from the Germans. There are large murals on the walls and all the corridors and bedrooms are filled with bombs. The bomb disposal bods swear they are defused but we are not so confident that the experts have made a perfect job of it. It made for a less than comfortable first night’s sleep."
    Cheers MB

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