Sywell Aviation Museum News
Sywell Aviation Museum goes nuclear!
18th May 2009
Due to some keen eyed work by our friends, the museum was informed of a mysterious concrete sphere recently uncovered at the former Royal Ordnance Factory plant at Elstow, Beds, which is being cleared for development. Further investigation lead the team to conclude that far from being a simple lump of concrete, it was in fact a test/practice drop mule for Britain's first operational nuclear weapon, codenamed 'Blue Danube'. Work began in 1947 on a weapon to equip the 'V Force' of RAF bombers then on the drawing board to combat the nuclear threat. Recovery was due to the kind offices of Messrs Gallaghers Ltd, without whose assistance it surely would have been destroyed.
It is believed that this concrete sphere is one of the last remaining original remnants of that programme which concluded in 1958. The Museum is looking for more information on it - if you can help please get in touch!
The Museum now has an acknowledged specialty in air-dropped weapons of all sorts and a collection of national importance ranging from air dropped Zeppelin bombs, through 'dumb' bombs of WW2 to advanced air to air missiles and now, nuclear weapons. The Blue Danube bomb joins two other recently added exhibits to this small museum, the nose section of a 12000lb HC bomb (which predated the 'Tallboy' and of which only 197 were made - and were exclusively dropped by 617 Sqn RAF) and an Allan Williams airfield defence turret from 1939, which is currently being restored.
The Museums extension is now underway which will see it expand a further 2/3rds in size. It is currently open until the end of September every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10.30-16.30.