Published: 17:07, 09 August 2018
| Updated: 21:45, 09 August 2018
An object found on a beach by a father and son was used during the Second World War by pilots to prepare for the Dambusters raids, it has emerged.
James Crouch was with four-year-old Freddie when they came across a strange, cylindrical object on Reculver beach at about 5pm yesterday afternoon.
When they approached it, they believed it could be a bomb.
“We literally stood over it; we were right next to it,” Mr Crouch, 36, said.
“To me, it looked like a bomb, but I'm no expert. It was mechanical and had obviously been there a long time because there were barnacles on it.
“It's bizarre and quite strange. By the time we left it had been covered up by the tide; so who knows what's going to happen to it.”
After finding the object, the father and son reported it to the Herne Bay Coastguard.
Dr Hugh Hunt, who worked on the Channel 4 documentary Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb in 2011, believes it would have been used to prepare pilots before the raids.
“It must be one of the 1943 practice bombs,” he said. “It would have had a steel case and been filled with concrete rather than explosives.
“It would have acted like a bouncing bomb. Testing took place at Reculver, Chesil Beach and various other places.
“The actual raid was only about two or three weeks afterwards on May 16, 1943.”
It would have had the dimensions of a bouncing bomb – about a metre in diameter and 1.2 m long – and weighed four tonnes.
Dr Hunt, who is a scientist from Cambridge University, added that similar objects are exhibited at a number of museums across the country.
But he hopes to see this one placed in a nearby park.
“I hope this one doesn’t get chucked away,” he said.
“A good place to put it would be in the middle of a park to recognise the airmen who lost their lives in the Dambusters raids.”
What were the Dambusters raids?
The Dambusters earned their name following Operation Chastise in May 1943.
It saw Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron use purpose-built bouncing bombs to breach the Möhne and Edersee Dams, causing flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley.