By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies as provided in our policy.

The Fauld Explosion Memorial, Hanbury, Staffordshire.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member greysman
N 52° 50.772 W 001° 43.949
30U E 585363 N 5855914
Quick Description: A simple white granite memorial to those who died in the Fauld Explosion, 27th November, 1944.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/6/2014 3:21:28 PM
Waymark Code: WMJW72
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ištván
Views: 6

Long Description:
The Fauld Crater is the result of the biggest explosion in the United Kingdom, some say the biggest non-nuclear explosion in the world, and resulted in the death of 70 persons, eighteen of whom have never been found. Of the rest nine were Italian prisoners of war.

Now almost unheard of this explosion occurred when 4,000tons of high explosive bombs being stored underground at RAF Fauld exploded just after 1100 hours on 27th November 1944. The resultant crater is 100ft deep and covers an area of 12acres. Nature has somewhat healed the scar with larch, silver birch and hawthorn growing in profusion, many birds and flowers an a huge rabbit colony have also helped to reduce the visual impact.

As reported in the local newspapers it was believed that carelessness, inexperience and short cuts led to the accident, a spark from a brass chisel leading to the ignition of a 4,000 pound bomb which then set off the rest. The bombs were being stored in the exhausted gypsum and alabaster underground mine chambers and RAF personnel and Italian POWs received and despatched them with increasing speed as the war progressed. The sky blackened as huge boulders of earth and rock were hurled into the surrounding countryside after the explosion and a whole farm, its occupants and livestock vanished into the chasm. Underground munitions personnel and 31 nearby plaster-board factory workers were killed and the Cock Inn in Hanbury was demolished. One picture from the air shows the surroundings more like the battlefields of northern France in WWI than the English countryside.

The gypsum mines had been chosen for the storage as they were dry - and still are - and unused, the extraction of the minerals had moved on to new levels. But not all the bombs exploded, protected by bomb doors there are still bombs stored underground on their bronze racking, and some of the workers made it to the surface unharmed. Recently thieves broke in through brick walls and a metal bomb door and stole electric cable. The ministry have again sealed the mine, hopefully no more break-ins will occur. (This told to me by a local in Draycott)

The devastation at the time can only be guessed at, the bang was heard in London and in Geneva it was recorded as an earthquake, and when walking round the crater it is an awesome sight.

For more pictures of the site and the aftermath see: Fauld crater

The memorial is a piece of Italian white granite, replacing the original white gypsum memorial, upon which is a plaque of stainless steel which has the following text inscribed on it.

                  IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO  LOST THEIR LIVES
                           IN THE FAULD EXPLOSION
                             27th NOVEMBER 1944
                            ____________________
                    
             THE FIRST EIGHTEEN PEOPLE NAMED HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE
                    AND THIS CRATER IS THEIR RESTING PLACE

				G.A.Mahon
J.Brassington			A.W.Mellor			T.Sanders
F.Campbell			J.R.Miles			A.A.Shipley
F.Cartwright			F.Nicklin			Miss E.Smith
L.D.Frow			J.Redfern			B.H.Stanley
C.E.Hogg			F.G.Rock			R.Wagstaff
	     L.A.C. J.T.Bailey			L.A.C. H.C.Fairbanks
                            ____________________
 
				E.Fell				
J.H.Appleton			Mrs.N.Ford			P.Page
E.Barker			W.Ford			        A.Patterson
J.Beard			        W.Gent			        S.Pickering
J.Bell				A.O.Gilbert			G.Powell
F.C.Bowring			M.Goodwin			G.Priestley
H.Carter			Mrs.M.Goodwin		        H.Shepherd
R.Cartwright			A.Harris			W.Shepherd
S.Chawner			F.W.Harrison			J.Skellett
L.G.Cokayne			H.J.Hill			F.W.Slater
J.Cooper			Mrs.S.L.Hill			G.Smith
P.Cooper			T.Hudson			J.W.West
Mrs.L.E.Crook		        W.Kidd			        S.West
E.W.G.Daniels		        E.A.Page			E.Woolley
B.Fell				G.E.Page			N.Worthington

Sgt.S.G.Game			Cpl.L.Scuto			Pte.R.Novello
Cpl.A.S.Durose		        Pte.E.Di Paolo			Pte.S.Ruggeri
L.A.C. W.Deucharas		Pte.A.Lanzoni			Pte.S.Trovato

                            WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Alongside the memorial is a painted sign giving the following information:
               
                              THE FAULD EXPLOSION
               At just after 1100 hours on the 27th November 1944,
               the largest explosion caused by conventional weapons in
               both world wars took place at this spot when some
               3,500 tons of high explosives accidently blew up.
               A crater some 300 feet deep and approximately a
               quarter of a mile in diameter was blown into the North
               Staffordshire countryside.
               A total of seventy people lost their lives, with eighteen
               bodies never being recovered.
               The 21 MU RAF Fauld disaster is commemorated by this
               memorial which was dedicated on the 25th November
               1990, some 46 years after the event. The stone, which is
               of fine white granite, was a gift, organised by the
               Commandante of the Italian Air Force Supply Depot at
               Novara, a sister depot of No 16 MU RAF Staford, from
               the firm of CIRLA & Son, Graniti-Milano.
There is a further sign at the Cock Inn in Hanbury village which is close to the start of the walk to the crater. It reads:
                               The
                         Fauld Explosion
                       ____________________
               At 11 minutes past 11 on the morning 
               of November 27th, 1944, the Midlands
               was shaken by the biggest explosion
                   this country has ever known.
                       ____________________
                 4,000 tons of bombs stored
                 90ft down in the old gypsum
                  mines in the area, blew up,
              blasting open a crater 400ft deep
                      and 3/4 mile long.
               Buildings many miles away were
                          damaged.
                 This pub had to be rebuilt
            and one farm, with all its buildings,
                 wagons, horses, cattle and
              6 people completeley disappeared
                      ______________________
                You will find the story of the
                  explosion here at the............
                           COCK INN

Date of Dedication: 11/25/1990

Property Permission: Public

Access instructions: Public footpaths from Hanbury village.

Location of waymark:
Hanbury, Staffordshire UK


Commemoration: Those killed in the Fauld Explosion.

Access times: Not listed

Website for Waymark: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Include a photo containing, at minimum, the monument and your GPSr. We'd prefer a photo containing YOU at the monument, but we understand that some people are camera-shy.
Also include a bit about your visit here.
Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
MapQuest
Bing Maps
Trails.com Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest World War II Memorials / Monuments
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Nearest Hotels
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Alancache visited The Fauld Explosion Memorial, Hanbury, Staffordshire. 2/9/2017 Alancache visited it