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Thread: Sergeant Arthur Edward Bonner, BEM - Bomb Disposal

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    Default Sergeant Arthur Edward Bonner, BEM - Bomb Disposal

    The London Gazette citation to his BEM as reprinted in Flight were quite detailed. However, the earlier recommendation (AIR 2/9230) reveals a much more complicated and dangerous performance. Doubtless the details of the No.37 pistol were deemed to be too sensitive for public knowledge at that time.

    BONNER, Arthur Edward, Sergeant (926451, Royal Air Force) - British Empire Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 15 March 1945. Text transcribed from Flight, 5 April 1945.

    In August 1944 an aircraft, after participating in an operational sortie, returned to base with a 500-lb bomb on board, fitted with a long delay fuse which was armed. The bomb was removed to the fused bomb area, where it was expected to explode approximately six hours later. Some hours later the bomb had not exploded and a bomb disposal squad under the direction of Bonner was then detailed to demolish it. The work was given high priority in view of urgent operational requirements. This attempt, however, proved unsuccessful. In view of the urgent need to render the airfield serviceable, Sergeant Bonner returned to the bomb and, displaying complete disregard for his own safety, laid a further charge. This proved successful and the bomb detonated. Sergeant Bonner’s courage and devotion to duty on this occasion set a fine example.

    Public Record Office Air 2/9230 has a more detailed text:

    On the 31st August 1944 a Lancaster aircraft, after participating in an operational sortie, returned to base with a 500-lb general purpose bomb on board. The bomb was fitted with a No.37 (six hours) long delay pistol which was armed. This pistol incorporates a device which causes the bomb to detonate if an attempt is made to withdraw the pistol. The bomb was removed to the fused bomb area, where it was expected to explode approximately six hours later. Some 17 hours later the bomb had not exploded and a bomb disposal squad under the direction of Sergeant Bonner was then detailed to demolish it. The work was given high priority in view of urgent operational requirements. This attempt, however, proved unsuccessful. It was realized from Air Ministry instructions which had been issued that the No.37 pistol was often erratic in behaviour and that in the event of an unsuccessful attempt at demolition, the bomb should not be approached until a safety time equal to double the normal delay of the pistol had elapsed. Notwithstanding this, in view of the urgent need to render the airfield serviceable, Sergeant Bonner returned to the bomb and, displaying complete disregard for his own safety, laid a further charge. This proved successful and the bomb detonated. Sergeant Bonner’s courage and devotion to duty on this occasion set a fine example.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 30th October 2021 at 21:57. Reason: spelling

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