HC Deb 11 September 1942 vol 383 cc520-1
Mr. John Dugdale (by Private Notice)

asked the Home Secretary whether he can make any statement about the new German incendiary bomb?

Miss Wilkinson

At the end of July the enemy brought into use new types of incendiary bomb, of which one was a phosphorous oil bomb and another a modification of the I-kilo incendiary having a more powerful explosive charge. Descriptions of these bombs with instructions for dealing with them were at once issued to Regional Commissioners for immediate distribution to the Fire Guard, the Civil Defence Services, the police, and industry. More detailed instructions, based upon an intensive study of these bombs, were issued to all concerned about 10 days later by circular and through leaflets and the broadsheet "The Midnight Watch." A special film dealing with the new explosive incendiary bomb will be generally released on 14th September. The instructions say that if an incendiary bomb falls where it can start a fire it must be attacked resolutely and at once, but that a bomb falling where it can do no harm should be left to burn itself out.

In attacking the bomb, the Fire Guard should make the best use of any available cover. Brickwork 3 inches thick gives full protection and a breeze wall of the same thickness gives reasonable protection. Adequate protection is not given by lath and plaster walls, wooden doors or pieces of furniture. The bomb should be attacked with the jet of a stirrup pump or until a pump is available with water thrown from behind cover. A bomb in a room can often best be attacked through a doorway from behind a wall or from outside through a window. The attack should be concentrated upon the fire rather than the bomb. As soon as the bomb explodes or seven minutes after it has fallen, the Fire Guard should attack it at close range in the normal way. In view of the danger of approaching these bombs, sandmats should not be used. As these bombs are heavier and penetrate further than the old ones, all floors should be searched after an attack.

Mr. Dugdale

Who is to decide whether to attack the bomb immediately or leave it for seven minutes?

Miss Wilkinson

That must be left to the leader of the stirrup pump party. Normally, as I have said, if the bomb is in a position where it would cause a serious fire, it must be attacked resolutely and at once, but if the leader thinks that the fire can be dealt with safely afterwards, life should not be risked.

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