HPA REQ 5 AW bombs at large

Seven million glass bottles hanging on the wall.


This was a follow up request to a previous request ref. 11/02/27/gs/065 concerning risk management of SIP grenades as detailed in an HPA published report- “Chemical Hazards and Poisons Report From the Chemical Hazards and Poisons Division September 2007 Issue 10”- “Discovery of World War II Special Incendiary Phosphorous (SIP) grenades in a Wiltshire garden” , part of this write up on pages 9 and 10 stated

“The SIP grenade was generally regarded as being a danger to its own operators, and was not issued to troops on the front line. SIP grenades were stored in crates of about 20 and distributed throughout Wiltshire. 141,000 were allocated throughout Wiltshire.
Most of these would have been made safe before the end of WWII.”

In the previous request to the HPA for the source of this information their  response. stated :

“We have consulted with the author of the above report regarding the source of the statement you have quoted, and they have confirmed that the source was a publication loaned to the author by the Ministry of Defence, which was subsequently returned. I can
therefore confirm for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations, the information is not held by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The author has contacted the Ministry of Defence to ask if they could confirm which of their publications this information was obtained from, but at the date of this response, we have not yet heard back from them. As and when we receive a response, we will
forward the relevant details to you.”


“Can I request if the ministry of defence have responded to the author’s question?

(ii) Having received my own rather dubious response from the Ministry of Defence regarding publications which it still holds regarding these Albright and Wilson produced weapons, (refused on cost grounds), can I therefore work backwards and ask what
question(s) or information the author put to the ministry in the production of his write up, whereby he was provided with the loaned publication from which he learned the information? Was it part of a series of Freedom of Information requests- and if so what were these requests?
I am particularly interested in the number of grenades quoted to have been distributed, which implies that this information is still known and may include a breakdown of figures for other counties around the country;I can find no other source which states such an
exact figure as “141,000 were allocated throughout Wiltshire.”
The author/ HPA my be interested to know that over 7 million of these useless but persistent toxic molotov cocktails were made by Albright and Wilson- source “100 years of phosphorus making” by Richard Threlfall.”

The HPA responded.

“The author of the report advised us that his main source of reference information was from a book loaned to him by his contact at the Ministry of Defence.  Having contacted the MOD, the gentleman concerned has managed to locate the book loaned, and sent us the following response:

“The book in question was The History of the Wiltshire Home Guard edited by Major EA Mackay It was printed and published by B. Lansdowne & Sons Ltd. Duke Street, Trowbridge in or around 1946.”

 It has become clear that the book is from the gentleman’s own personal library, rather than from any official Ministry of Defence library, which may explain the vagueness of the MOD’s previous response to you. 

 Having put the title of the book into an internet search engine, I did come across a link to a copy of the book available for sale in the United States:


 The author did not submit any specific requests to the MOD for information, and has not kept his original write-up notes/drafts which would now be five years old.  Given that the book related only to the History of the Wiltshire Home Guard (1940-44), it seems unlikely that it would include numbers of grenades supplied in any other area.”


This response differs from the original one given above in the previous request concerning the source of the author’s material. It is apparent that the HPA and MOD were now collaborating on responses on this subject area.

It does not answer the question as to what happened to the 7 million SIP grenades or AW bombs manufactured at Oldbury by Albright and Wilson, and how or where these weapons were destroyed when it became clear that they had no value at all.


An empty box of AW bombs- what happened to the half pint toxic bottles contained within?