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BRITAIN'S NEW EXPLOSIVE: EXPERTS KILLED
IN TERRIFIC BLAST IT is officially revealed in London that the Allies are using a powerful explosive called RDX, meaning "Research Department Formula X." The explosive is not new, and was known in the early part of the century, but the difficulty has been to make it on a useful scale.
Chemists and scientists of many nationis have tried to solve the problem of manu facturing the explosive, but none succeeded until the War Office research department achieved it just before the outbreak of war. • RDX, which is more powerful than TNT, is also being made in America and Canada. It has been revealed that the first process of filling a shell with the explosive at Woolwich Arsenal was going forward when something went wrong. A group of five men watching the mixing through ,mirrors behind a blast wall saw what was happen ing and ran into the danger zone to stop the process.. They were too late, and there was a tremendous explosion, and the five men were killed instantly. Terrific Blast It is further revealed that it was a 15-in. shell containing 50-lb. of RDX which prematurely exploded. The blast was so terrific that a roll call had to be made before the victims could be identified.' One of the victims was Cmdr. P. A. M. Long, of Seven Oaks, who had retired after 30 years' service in the Royal Navy. He had been at Woolwich Arsenal for 12 years, and had gone to the arsenal to observe the final process
of filling the 15-in, shell after 10 years' continuous research. Two other scientist victims were ?Mtessrs. F. C. Lewis and J. Brignall, 28, ,a laboratory assistant. The later was described at one of Wool wich's most brilliant young pre-war chemists. The first time RDX was used was in April, 1941, when a Wellington. bomber dropped a 4000-lb. block .buster -on Emden,- the results of which confirmed the most optimistic expectations. To prevent the secret falling into German hands the ut most care is taken to ensure that every RDX bomb explodes.