Mine clearing the RAF way!

Mine clearing exploits

When the men of the first echelon of 21 BDS found themselves at their assigned new location on the edge of the newly constructed airfield at St-Laurent they faced a challenge before they could begin to assemble their equipment in that they had no idea whether their assigned area had been mined by the Germans, or not.

Being resourceful and pragmatic, but crucially without mine detecting equipment, they decided that the best way to check whether the land had been mined was to drive a 3 ton truck rapidly up and down the area on the basis that if there were any mines if they drove fast enough it would only blow the back end off the lorry, not the front. 

This foolhardy but remarkably simple method seemed to have worked and it is believed that the driver who undertook this grave and dangerous task was Archie Radcliffe who describes this exploit within his story in the Men and their Experiences section of this website.

Also similar exploits were described within Canadians on Radar, a section of the story written by Flight Lieutenant Alexander McLeod who describes an incidence of mine clearing which occurred a few days later and it seems that this became regular practice every time a GCI had to set up camp as the front moved forward.

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