Author S.A.M. Hudson has put together an extremely well researched and interesting account of the work of the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal (BD) teams working on the island of Malta during WW2.
The Royal Engineers were at the forefront of BD work during the London Blitz and while most accounts of WW2 BD work seem to focus on the work of BD during the Blitz, this book looks at this campaign in another theatre of war, as the RE teams had to not only contend with the bombs dropped by the German Luftwaffe, but also those of the Italian Regia Aeronautica as well.
With a small availability of trained personnel on Malta, as well as tools and resources like transport, the RE teams made good with what they had and got on with the job. The escalation of the air raids on the island resulted in numerous unexploded bombs and the teams were working in all weather conditions to render bombs safe. The author has painstaking pieced together a first-hand account of the various problems confronting the two BD Officers as they struggled to attempt to respond to the incraesing number of UXB reports around the island.
I liked this book as it put the reader right there next to the BD Officers and their troops, excacvating shafts to get down to bombs, picking through the rubble and making a life or death call to firstly locate the bomb and then uncover it and make it safe, then recover the item and remove it for disposal. Disposal normally consisted of rolling the dufuzed bomb off the cliffs at a certain part of the island. The work of these men was totally appreciated by the hapless citizens of Malta, especially when the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica combined their resources to keep up a non-stop schedule of air raids and bombings of the island.
Many years have passed and there may be one or two countries around the globe who can since lay claim to being the 'most bombed place on earth', but one thing is sure, the military science of BD still requires the qualities of personal courage, capacity to think outside the box and the need to press on regardless to achieve the task of making a bomb safe. I have a small library of books on BD during WW2 and most of them focus upon BD during the London Blitz, however this book looks at another campaign and different challenges that was the campaign on Malta.
In summary a well researched and written account of BD during WW2 in another theatre of war. The book contains stories and accounts of how the BD personnel approached a very dangerous and unpredictable job in itself, compounded with being attacked while in the middle of their work at the same time. Well done, S.A.M. Hudson!