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The Unexploded Bomb

There is one group of men whose names do not appear on the Hook War Memorial, although the people of Hook and the surrounding area owe them a great debt. They are the six young men from 48th Section of the 6th Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Company who died on August 18th 1940, while attempting to defuse an unexploded bomb that had fallen on the railway line near Crown Lane, Newnham.

“On the morning of 18th August 1940, six young men of the Royal Engineers were killed whilst attending an unexploded bomb. The UXB had fallen overnight and due to its location could not be left. The time lapse also meant, as all the Sappers were aware, the UXB could explode at any time. ┬áThe UXB detonated whilst the Sappers were excavating it, killing all six and injuring the Lance Serjeant in charge.

L/Sjt. Button was later awarded the George Cross for his actions on that day.”

Although they are not recorded on the Hook War Memorial, their names should appear on the memorials of their own home towns or villages. To commemorate them in Hook, a plaque has been erected at Hook Station, from where they left to walk down the line to the bomb.

Unexploded Bomb Plaque
Commemorative plaque at Hook Station. Photo: Jane Bonnin

Their names are also recorded here:-

2007432 Driver Fred. Gavid 22 years
2003661 Sapper Arthur Hill 20 years
1892327 Sapper Ralph R. E. Moxon 23 years
2003625 Sapper Douglas A. Vince 23 years
2004308 Sapper Fred. D. Warner 23 years
2005088 Sapper Arthur White 23 years

We are indebted to 25th Company Bomb Disposal Royal Engineers Re-enactment Group from Andover, who uncovered the story of this forgotten event in 2007.

For details of the men of Hook who gave their lives, see the Remembrance Page