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Bomb fuse or Enigma Machine: London patent

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Bomb fuse or Enigma Machine: London patent

Old 30th Jun 2019, 17:06
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Bomb fuse or Enigma Machine: London patent

Somewhere in the dim and distant past I recall reading that at a point in London Blitz, UXB teams were struggling and losing lives to a new German bomb fuse mechanism that they could not understand, and thus could not work out how to defuse. My recollection of what I read was that a bright young engineer officer went to the London patent office and searched for helpful German patents filed before the war, came across details of the mechanism, and was subsequently able to use that to work out how to defuse these bombs.

I'd like to use the story in some material I'm putting together about the patent system, but can't seem to find the story anywhere (I did find something about enigma machine mechanisms also having been patented in the late 1920s in London by Chiffriermaschinen Aktiengesellschaft, but not much on that either).

Does anybody know the details of the stories - anything about names, dates, the specific mechanisms, in a perfect world any published books or articles I can reference?

Cheers if anybody can help,

G
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Old 30th Jun 2019, 18:57
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I think EODIC is at Didcot. You might try them. Don't ask me what the letters mean. I can guess but I could be wrong.
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Old 30th Jun 2019, 21:17
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It used to be EODTIC (the second half was "Technical Information Centre") but I've heard it called "Idiotic".

ISTR that John Terraine says in "The Right of the Line" that when the British developed the Typex code machine, based on Enigma, the Air Ministry Patents people were concerned that it was infringing German/Swiss patents. And there is an argument that the German jet engine benefited from sight of Whittle's patents, filed in the 1930s.
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Old 30th Jun 2019, 21:26
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Bomb fusing

Hi Genghis you might like to look up the story of Jack Howard 20th Earl of Suffolk who had a short but interesting war. Amongst other things he ran a wholly civilian UXB group paying particular attention to new fuse types. His last words were 'bugger there's a third f,,,,,,,,,,'

Prior to his sad demise he smuggled 27 French nuclear scientists and their research archive along with 86kg of heavy
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Old 30th Jun 2019, 21:58
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Originally Posted by Prangster View Post
Hi Genghis you might like to look up the story of Jack Howard 20th Earl of Suffolk who had a short but interesting war. Amongst other things he ran a wholly civilian UXB group paying particular attention to new fuse types. His last words were 'bugger there's a third f,,,,,,,,,,'

Prior to his sad demise he smuggled 27 French nuclear scientists and their research archive along with 86kg of heavy
I just did. Not particularly relevant, I think, to my query - but what a fascinating man. Thanks for that.

G
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 08:24
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
(I did find something about enigma machine mechanisms also having been patented in the late 1920s in London by Chiffriermaschinen Aktiengesellschaft, but not much on that either).
The origins of the Enigma and the original inventor Arthur Scherbius are covered in several books, but the gist of it is on this Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Scherbius
The book referenced on that page, David Kahn's 'Seizing the Enigma' is a good read on the subject.
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 09:35
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Thanks - Scherbius' name really helped unlock some information.

G
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 10:09
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Originally Posted by Prangster View Post
Hi Genghis you might like to look up the story of Jack Howard 20th Earl of Suffolk who had a short but interesting war. Amongst other things he ran a wholly civilian UXB group paying particular attention to new fuse types. His last words were 'bugger there's a third f,,,,,,,,,,'

Prior to his sad demise he smuggled 27 French nuclear scientists and their research archive along with 86kg of heavy
Real thread drift, but for people wanting to look him up in Wikipedia (worth it) his baptismal name was Charles Howard. Upper class men of his era tended to have nicknames of a confusing kind, but he actually seems to have been called "Mad Jack" for reasons that became increasingly obvious. 20th Earl of Suffolk. Went off to sail on a windjammer. Was asked to resign his commission in the Scots Guards because of his "wild behaviour," so went to the University of Edinburgh and got a first in Chemistry and Pharmacology, and was offered an Oxford research position in explosives and poisons. His private bomb disposal squad consisted of him, his chauffeur, and his (female) private secretary who took notes for him as he worked, and died with him in the explosion. Sometimes reality outdoes Dorothy Sayers (he was definitely a Sayers hero, not a Fleming one).
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 10:25
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You could try writing to the Commanding Officer at either of these establishments

The Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment (DEMS Training Regiment) is an element of the Royal School of Military Engineering responsible for the delivery of training to British Army Ammunition Technicians, Ammunition Technical Officers and Search Operators. The Regiment delivers training from two locations: Marlborough Barracks, MoD Kineton near Kineton, Warwickshire and St George's Barracks, MoD Bicester, near Bicester, Oxfordshire.

Last edited by golfbananajam; 1st Jul 2019 at 10:25. Reason: typo corrected
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 10:25
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Last words

Parrot, I imagine she wrote pretty fast if those last words were recorded...
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 13:40
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At risk of drift, but I recall an Ammunition Technical Officer at Eastern District in the late 70s being called to a grenade found in a potato field. He having disposed of it, the workers asked what to do if they found another. "Give us ring" says he. "What if it explodes?". "Oh, get someone else to give us ring"

Yet another meeting with the District Commander, again without coffee
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Old 2nd Jul 2019, 17:38
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Hi Genghis, you might like to follow up on the career of Jack Howard 20th Earl of Suffolk who ran an experimental bomb disposal outfit, his last words whilst dismantling a German 500kg bomb were, 'oh bugger this ones got a third f.......

He seems to have been a bit of a legend having spirited 86kg of heavy water out of France in 1940 with 27 scientific staff and the whole French nuclear research archive arriving in Falmouth on 26th June.
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Old 3rd Jul 2019, 10:02
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Was Suffolk not also the one who ate a whole jar of (English of course!) mustard at a sitting after a Frenchman had claimed it was inedible......
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Old 3rd Jul 2019, 15:02
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This, particularly the bomb disposal, rang a faint bell remembering Ronald Pickup playing such a role on TV many years ago - god knows how some of these things stick in the memory..

IMDB gives the following summary for "The Dragon's Opponent" as confirmation
4-part miniseries (1973) dramatising the true-life adventures of Charles "Mad Jack" Howard, 20th Earl of Suffolk, whose daring wartime exploits included rescuing dozens of refugee European nuclear scientists, a large supply of heavy water and millions of pounds in diamonds just before the Germans captured Paris, and then became a self-taught bomb disposal expert who successfully defused dozens of large German bombs during the London Blitz.
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Old 5th Jul 2019, 12:39
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Originally Posted by teeteringhead View Post
Was Suffolk not also the one who ate a whole jar of (English of course!) mustard at a sitting after a Frenchman had claimed it was inedible......
A gentleman would never use mustard from a jar. Mustard is always made up immediately prior to use.
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