Stanley finds a real blast from the past

Stanley Beach and the sticky bomb.
Stanley Beach and the sticky bomb.

A RARE new exhibit at a South Yorkshire museum is expected to go down a bomb.

Barnsley-born Stanley Beach, aged 75, has brought an unusual weapon from World War II back to the town - after it was stuck under a work bench at his home for many years.

The artefact, which will be going on show at the Experience Barnsley centre, is a sticky bomb - a type of hand grenade which was used as an anti-tank weapon.

Stanley, who now lives in Leicester, was serving as an electrical apprentice at Beatson Clark glass manufacturers in Barnsley in the 1950s when he came across the bomb, which had been discarded in the basement.

“The chaps I worked with knew exactly what is was - the factory had made thousands of them during the Second World War,” he said.

A sticky bomb consisted of a glass sphere containing nitroglycerin covered in a powerful adhesive, and surrounded by a sheet-metal casing.

When the user pulled a pin on the handle of the grenade, the casing would fall away and expose the sphere.

Another pin would activate the firing mechanism, and the user would then attempt to attach the grenade to an enemy tank or other vehicle with sufficient force to break the sphere.

After it was attached, releasing the lever on the handle would activate a five-second fuse, which would then detonate the nitroglycerin.

Mr Beach’s sticky bomb, which consists of just the glass sphere protected in a woolly cover, stayed at his home until he attended one of Barnsley’s History Days at the beginning of the year while he was visiting his son.

The History Days sought to find people who might be able to contribute to Experience Barnsley, a museum and archive centre housed on the ground floor of the town hall.

The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and it is part-financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund.