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207 Sqn Bomb Hook overhaul

The 'Cookie' bomb hook by David Stubley

The ‘Standard’ bomb hook and cradle are easily come by but Andrew asked the LARG where he could acquire the bomb hook for the 4000 lb ‘Cookie’ bomb.  That’s the proverbial ‘hens teeth’ when it comes to rarity.

By a slim chance the LARG had recovered the remains of Lancaster ME473 of 207 Squadron,  Spilsby which collided with Lancaster ND572 of 57 Squadron, East Kirkby whilst on fighter affiliation on 2nd March 1945 over Ruskington Fen. The incident cost the lives of sixteen crewmen, with one man in each aircraft on a ‘Jolly’.  A display and memorial plaque can be seen in the hangar at East Kirkby.

The wartime recovery of ME473, carried out by men from RAF Metheringham, took over three weeks in attempt to recover all of the crew. When the LARG re-dug the crash site in 1995, with a MoD licence, as is required by law, they found a lot of the bomb bay floor which included the bomb hook for the ‘Cookie’. A sort through our saved wreckage in our Nissen hut soon found the section of floor which contained the hook.

The complete section was given to Bob Mitchell who was able to extricate the hook assembly from the broken bomb bay and attempt a restoral of the hook.

Bob was so successful he even got the hook operating by applying a 24 volt battery to it (see below).

The hook is now installed in Just Jane with a small aluminum plaque installed beside it saying ‘Flying in the memory of the crew of Lancaster ME473’. An appropriate memorial to such a sad loss of life to the crew.

See a video of the working here- 

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