Dear British Army,
Freedom of information request.
I recently Requested Information - 04-03-2010-113146-001 – Destruction of Military Weapons at Rattlechain Tip and rec eived a reply from Mrs B A Morrison, COS LF Sec
Headquarters Land Forces
"We believe that the particular items to which you refer are in fact Grenades Incendiary Hand or Projector Anti Tank No76 (Self Igniting Phosphorous (SIP)), a diagram of which is attached. These grenades were in service between 1940 and 1944 and were commonly issued to the Home Guard."
These items are still commonly encountered by our EOD teams around the UK, and their disposal is a routine matter for us."
After researching the manufacture of these weapons, which came in boxed crates of 24, by Albright and Wilson at their Oldbury factory in the West Midlands, and reading "100 years of phosphorus making" by Richard Threlfall, I am seeking clarification under the Freedom of information Act as to whether the army or ministry of defence hold information relating to their recovery or disposal.
Threlfall outlines their manufacture in chapter 13 of his book: “A & W. Engineered the whole job; the reception of benzene, bottles and packing cases; the installation of a most intricate plant; the manufacture of a special non freezing compound of phosphorus (Topley’s formula); and the supply of women operators from the Kidderminster carpet factories, together with arrangements for special trains for three-shift work.”
“When the plant closed in 1942, just on seven and a quarter million grenades had been filled. The storage of these devices by local authorities caused many headaches, because often they were submerged in a convenient stream for safety, and from time to time boxes of a thousand or so bottles broke loose and floated away.”
The questions I am seeking are as follows
1. Did Albright and Wilson engineer the job of disposal of the grenades or was this done by the army?
2. 7,250,000 documented bottles or around 302,083 crates of bottles known to have been made and overseen by the ministry of supply! Do the army know if these crates were recollected by the army from local authorities/ home guard after their period of issue post war and how many of these crates were collected, (an estimated value or per centage is what I am seeking, not an exact figure)?
3. How were these toxic bottles disposed of by the army? Was it a job carried out nationally or at the request of individual local authorities? Were there any national repositories for the bottles/crates and were any of the materials used in their manufacture recycled?
4. Do you have any best estimates of how many of these crates were destroyed post use and how many were therefore not?
5. If these grenades were not collected and disposed of by the army,or anyone else, does this mean that of the documented 7,250,000 grenades made there are still potentially a large number out there awaiting to be unearthed and disposed of by the EOD teams?
Dear Mr Carroll,
Please see the attached letter.
COS LF Sec
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