Holywell and the Bouncing bombs

3 Nov

While watching the classic 1954 war film ‘The Dam Busters’ I was reminded that some of Dr Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs were stored in an old limestone cave near Holywell, Flintshire during World War 2.  The cavern stored 11, 000 tons of bombs including the famous bouncing bombs used by the RAF’s 617 Squadron on the 16 and 17th May 1943 to breach the Mohne and Eder dams in the Ruhr valley.  The raid was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson and caused catastrophic flooding in both the Ruhr and Eder valleys and while the damage was extensive the Germans managed to rebuild and recover much more quickly than was expected.  However the propaganda boost given to the allied war effort was considerable.  Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross in recognition of his valour and leadership during the raids.

I remember visiting in the early 1980s when it had been turned into the Grange Cavern Military Museum where a whole host of military vehicles and equipment was on show in the caverns 100ft below ground.  Sadly it closed in around 1989 when the new A55 dual carriageway opened and by-passed Holywell.

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