145th Auxiliary Bomb Disposal Unit (Reckitt and Colman Ltd.)

The Unit was originally formed as a civilian squad in December 1941 with Lieutenant HE Allison Leader of the unit, twenty four men composing it being trained by the Royal Engineers to a standard which qualified them to excavate a bomb, the technical work then being carried out by the Royal Engineers themselves. Later it was decided that all Units should be enrolled in, and become part of, the Home Guard, and eventually a new squad was formed, all the members of which were volunteers for the work and all of whom were employees of the Hull works.

The training and instruction became the responsibility of the Leader of the Unit on a syllabus laid down by the Royal Engineers.  A total of twenty-four men were enrolled and trained in all branches of bomb disposal, as well as in basic military training. The members became qualified to extract the fuses and complete the whole operation of recovery of unexploded bombs. From its inception in March, 1943, to its disbandment at the end of December 1945 the unit completed 500 hours training in the theory and practice of bomb disposal.

 

The actual operational work carried out occupied 75 hours and involved the excavation and complete recovery of one Half Ton High Explosive bomb and two one Hundredweight  bombs, the partial recovery of one half ton HE bomb, and the recovery and disposal of exploded but dangerous phosphorus bombs. These operations were carried out by the members in their own time but were not on the Company's premises.

A further 35 hours were spent in attending incidents which were being worked by Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal Units in and around Hull, and the knowledge and experience gained in this way were of the greatest benefit and interest. The training covered a remarkably wide range of subjects, and much of it was of a highly technical and complicated character. Accurate diagnosis and treatment were vital, as can well be understood. Altogether, 8,850 man hours were put in by the Unit.

The relations between the Unit and the 14th Coy Bomb Disposal Royal Engineers were of a cordial nature, and reciprocal assistance was of mutual benefit. The keenness and enthusiasm displayed by the members were an acknowledgment of the valuable assistance and ready cooperation of the Management.