Home:  Shells and Grenades: WW1 BRITISH BATTYE BOMB, 1915


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In late 1914 and early 1915 Captain B C Battye of the Royal Engineers designed and put in to production through the Bethune Ironworks his 'Battye' or 'Bethune' bomb.
The Battye Bomb, consisted of a cast iron mug shaped container diced for fragmentation filled with 40 grammes of high explosive. The top of the container was sealed with a wood stopper and wax with a Bickford fuze . A Nobel safety device was used to light the fuze but, as a safety measure, this was only inserted at the time of use.
William Bickford invented the safety fuse for igniting gunpowder, an invention that saved many lives. There were many miners killed by misuse of gunpowder. Early fuses were often tubes of reeds filled with powder and were unreliable. Either they exploded too early not giving miners time to get away, or took too long to ignite and killed miners who assumed the fuse had gone out. William Bickford was born in Ashburton, Devon in January 1774. He moved to Truro as a currier, preparing leather. He then moved on to Tuckingmill near Camborne in the Cornwall mining area.

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