Crompton’s Column

Bruce Crompton explains how he came to purchase an Upkeep bouncing bomb

Bruce Crompton
Some 120 Upkeep Bouncing Bombs were manufactured in preparation for the Dam Busters raid in May 1943
This bomb was used in the trials during World War Two

Due to the success of Combat Dealers, I frequently get emails and calls from people asking for advice or offering me items. In June 2022, I was amazed to get a phone call from someone who said he knew where there was an original Upkeep bouncing bomb. I asked him to supply some photographic proof and, to my surprise, the pictures arrived the next day. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There, sitting in someone’s back garden in Hampshire, was a complete Barnes Wallis Upkeep bouncing bomb.

Arriving at the location, I met a very nice gentleman, who explained the history of this unique piece of national heritage. Some 120 Upkeeps were manufactured by Barnes Wallis in preparation for the famous Dambusters raid in May 1943. Of these, 52 were filled with 6,600 pounds of torpex explosives and 19 were used during Operation Chastise. However, Wallis envisaged them being used for more than just busting dams.

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