Wartime dirty tricks

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With reference to the recent coverage of the Sheffield Blitz in Retro, I’ve just come across the following quote that appears in a new book entitled: Yorkshire: The Secret War 1939-1945 written by Ron Freethy.

He quotes an interviewee (on pp53-54) as stating: “My wife’s father was a policeman in Hull during the war and he told us … that the Germans had our equivalent of what he called Dirty Tricks Boffins.

“Among the normal bombs, they dropped devices such as ‘butterfly bombs’ which had rotating blades like helicopters and were coloured to attract children. They exploded when touched.

“They also dropped what we called ‘oil bombs’.

“As you were working with the ARP chaps to clear up the rubble you came across what looked like a patch of oil which seemed to have melted in the heat. As you shovelled it up, it exploded. We learned to recognise ’em and reported them to the bomb disposal lads.

“Our reports were not, and still have not, been officially released. A lot of our reports and those of the ARP chaps were placed on a secret list.

“I was also told to keep quiet about an ARP post which had been knocked about more than a bit”.

This reminded me of a story my mate, Andy Crofts, who was told by Bernard Ashton senior who served in the Royal Engineers during WW2 defusing German bombs of “the nasty German subterfuge of dropping ‘trickster’ bombs’, in the guise of ‘expensive looking fountain pens, which when found would offer the almost irresistible lure of taking the top off to see if they were usable’. And ‘as soon as the top was taken off an anti-personnel charge could take your arm off or kill you’.

I was wonder if any readers could verify whether or not any such ‘dirty tricks’ devices were inflicted upon the Sheffield area during WW2 and, if so, in what form and with what result(s).

Michael Parker, Robertshaw Crescent, Deepcar