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- Maurice Rattigan
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- 07 June 2005
(submitted by Maurice Rattigan)
Regarding the parachute mines (which we referred to as land mines at the time) which someone recently referred to them as sea mines.
Following one of the Coventry April 1941 raids (which I am almost certain was the first one , April 10th) as we had , unlike the November raid, suffered no damage to our house in Shortley Road, my father asked me to go to see if my grandmother was alright in Little Field, Stoke Heath.
I made my way there on foot having to make several diversions to avoid unexploded bombs. At the time we called them D.A.’s. Reaching Barras Green I had to make a detour up Coventry Street because there was an unexploded Land Mine opposite St Albans Church.
A couple of hours later on my way back I was able to come along North Street because the bomb had been diffused and greenish fluid was lying in a pool having come from a 3inch hole in the side. A large heavy green parachute was attached to the rear end opposite the bull nose . I was able to stand right next to the land mine where it was lying opposite the church, several feet from the pavement on the grass of the common.
This must have been the position where it landed for weighing 4,000 lbs they would not have moved it prior to de-fusing it.
The German description was SC 1800 Luftmine (Explosive Cylinder 1800 kilogram Air mine).
They were 147.9 inches long and 26 inches in diameter. I can’t imagine that this was the magnetic mine because the immense weight would have taken it to the sea bottom rather than floating a few feet below the surface.
Around midnight on the 14th November we were in our back garden shelter when a land mine dropped about 180 yards away behind houses in Pegmill Close and although below ground we still felt the force of the blast and it blew the candles out and lifted the slab off the emergency exit. A local ARP Warden saw it coming down and thinking it was an enemy airman ran towards it but fortunately in landed in very soft earth and apart from being blown over he was far enough away for him to be unhurt. The following Wednesday evening another large bomb fell in the same crater, and during one of the April raids a D.A. bomb fell in the same double crater and lay undetected until Easter Sunday afternoon when it went off and from 200 yards away I witnessed earth flying up about 100 feet into the air. Shortly after in our back garden I picked up a piece of bomb splinter about 6 inches long and dropped it quick for it was still hot.
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