How 4,000 Tons Of Bombs Tore A Massive Crater Into The Ground In Britain’s Biggest Ever Explosion

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Image: Daventry B J (Mr)/Royal Air Force
Image: Daventry B J (Mr)/Royal Air Force

It’s November 11, 1944, and the Second World War rages on. Britons are accustomed to attack from the air, with the German Luftwaffe dropping incendiaries and high explosives on cities, towns and villages up and down the country. But a massive explosion that now erupts on this November Monday is far from run-of-the-mill.

Image: Jens Johnsson
Image: Jens Johnsson

This explosion was not the result of enemy activity, though. The scene is an old mine in the English county of Staffordshire. Fauld mine is less than a mile from the village of Hanbury, which is about 150 miles north of London. It’s a rural settlement where the local church, St. Werburgh’s, has elements dating all the way back to the 12th century.

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Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

For all its timeless rural charm, though, Hanbury had a decidedly modern military facility on its doorstep. This was the Royal Air Force base of Fauld. But this RAF base wasn’t a place with Spitfire fighter planes or Flying Fortress bombers taking off and landing. It was in fact a huge munitions dump.

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