Battle Relic
: Word War Two bomb fragments of what was at first presumed to have been a 500 pound aerial bomb of the Royal Air Force Raid on Eindhoven, The Netherlands on 06DEC1942.
On a later time this agency was informed that the bomb was in fact a German Sd500 9250lbs.) bomb of the 19SEP1944 raid on the city.
Finding place: Road construction site on Mathilde Laan in Eindhoven and EOD blast site on Oirschot Heath military facility, The Netherlands
Date:  July 29th, 2015
GPS location:  Construction site: 51°26'28.2"N 5°28'17.5"E
Blast site: 51°28'46.3"N 5°20'57.2"E

Introduction: Local media described the Juy 29th 2015 unexploded bomb found during road reconstruction work on the corner of Gagel Straat and Mathilde Laan in Eindhoven as a British 500 pounder bomb. It was allegedly dropped by the Royal Air Force during their bombing raid on the Philips Radio Works in Eindhoven on December 6th 1942. This raid was successful in achieving its target: the destruction of a factory which produced strategically valuable radio valves for the Nazis. It came, however, at a considerable cost. Fourteen aircraft and sixteen airmen were lost and collateral damage took the lives of a hundred and thirty Dutch civilians. The RAF also drop several bombs that did not go off. One was found during road reconstruction work in Eindhoven. It was carefully dug up and detonated on a remote location. We obtained several large fragments of the bomb.

Operation Oyster
Operation Oyster was a bombing raid against the Philips Radio Works factories in downtown Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
It was carried out on Sunday December 6th, 1942 at 12:30 PM by 93 bombers of No. 2 Group of the Royal Air Force. Considered to be a notable success for the allies, it cost the Germans an estimated six months of lost production time at a critical point in the conflict. Operation Oyster struck at the heart of what Churchill termed 'the wizard war' against German radio navigational technology by attacking a central hub of activity; the Philips Radio Works in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. They raid was carried out at a collateral damage which cost the lives of 130 Dutch citizens, 14 RAF aircraft, 16 British airmen and 7 German soldiers.
The development of electronics in World War Two was the most significant technical aspect of weaponry during the war. On both sides, there were great advances in radar detection equipment and communications which, at that time, depended on the wide- scale use of high frequency radio valves.
Only a few companies had the technology to produce these valves, the leading one in Europe being  the Philips Company in Eindhoven. Therefore it was determined that Philips was the most important target.
The Royal Air Force set the date of the operation on a Sunday, when there were no people working there. Ironically, December 6th,  traditionally is an holiday observed only in the low countries of Saint Nicolas; patron saint of children. The raid is therefore locally known as the "Saint Nicolas Bombing Raid" (Sinterklaasbombardement in the Dutch language).

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Action packed photos of the raid taken from RAF planes

Wartime British newsreel account of the raid

Battle Detective Tom’s grandfather Inspector Matla of the Eindhoven Police Department assisted in coordinating firefighting, rescue and salvage operations at the cost of several burn holes in his Sunday suit.
On page 35 of the historical account of the department describing the years 1919 to 1945 Matla wrote:
"On Sunday December 6th 1942 in the afternoon at approximately twelve thirty a hundred Mosquitoes raided the Philips factories. A large number of high explosive and phosphorous bombs were delivered and a large part of the Philips factories were destroyed. Above all, about 200 residents were destroyed of damaged, among which the Saint Catharine's Church and part of the hospital on Vestdijk. Eindhoven counted well over a hundred dead among its citizens.
"The Eindhoven Police has especially acquitted itself of its duties during and after the air raid and performed extraordinarily here and there with personal danger",  wrote the Chief of Police in his report and it was according to the truth.
For the victims money in the amount of 252 Guilders were collected among police personnel which was put at the disposal of the Dutch People Service; NVD.
After this raid the police had so much work to do, among which the identification of corpses, registration of goods, cordoning off streets and blocks for the clearing of countless duds, that during a month there was no such thing as actually patrolling the streets."

This all shows that, while the Royal Air Force considered the raid successful in hitting the target, it came at a price.

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Headlines the next day in the Daily Telegraph

On December 6th 2011, 69 years after the raid, a December 6th 1942 Foundation, had a monument unveiled on Mathilde Laan in Eindhoven commemorating Operation Oyster.
The monument is in the shape of an opened oyster shell and shows the effects on the Philips Works and on the houses around it.

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Incidentally this agency had observed a wreath of the December 6th 1942 Foundation at the graves of the German soldiers killed in that raid on the German Cemetery at Ysselsteyn, The Netherlands. We saw the wreath on December 11th of that year and assume that it was laid there five days earlier.

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Not pictured are the graves of:
Obergefreiter Friedrich Flint, born on March 20 1915 (Grave Z 3-62) and
Obergefreiter Paul Bäcker, born on January 8th 1914 (Grave Z 3-63)
as at the time we didn't recognize their ranks as associated with
(anti-aircraft / FLAK-) artillery personnel

The foundation no longer exists and we therefore cannot inquire if any wreaths were laid at the graves of downed RAF crew members in Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries in Eindhoven and Bergen op Zoom,

the Netherlands or in Great Britain.
In the Saint Anthony Cemetery on Boschdijk in Eindhoven is the mass grave of a number of members of this parish who were killed during the raid:

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On July 29th, during reconstruction work on Mathilde Laan, close to the Philips Radio Works buildings hit during the Operation Oyster raid, the operator of an excavator struck metal and after close examination found a large rusty cylinder.

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The construction site several days after the discovery of the bomb
showing the finished concrete sewage culvert; the reason why deeper excavator work
was nessecary at this stretch of Mathilde Laan.

The operator understood what he'd hit and quickly, the Royal Netherlands Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal was called to the site. It appeared to be an unexploded British 500 pounder bomb from the Oyster raid. That same day it was carefully carried to a remote blast site at the Oirschot Heath military facility and detonated.

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This all occurred during day time while we were investigating other leads, and we therefore did not witness the disposal. We did however visit the blast site which could easily be found because of a large circular debris field of lower clay sediments blown across the sandy dunes of the area. Among large clumps of light turquoise clay we discovered several razor sharp chunks of the 500 British bomb.

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We understand that the detonation was caused by an added secondary charge attached to the outside of the device but it was the bomb's own 72 year old TNT which blew it to pieces.
At the blast site, we secured several pieces of what is popularly referred to as 'shrapnel', but display the one donated to us by a good friend here.

From a good friend we were given three sizeable chunks of bomb fragments.
Note stretch marks in the thick steel fragments and their razor sharp ragged edges. And of course their size and weight.

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Fragments 1, 2 & 3

August 23rd 2015, UPDATE:
Recently, this agency has received has received intelligence that the bomb which was found on July 29th on the corner of Gagel Straat and Mathilde laan in Eindhoven and disposed of on the Oirschotse Heide military facility that day, was in fact a German Luftwaffe bomb. This would suggest that the ordnance was dropped on Eindhoven during the raid of September 19th, 1944. This was just a day after Eindhoven was liberated by Allied troops of the American 101st Airborne Division and the British Guard Armored Division. |

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Artist Gerard Engels and his wall sculpture commemorating the
September 19th 1944 Nazi bombing raid on Eindhoven.
It was unveiled in 1994 on the corner of Kerk Straat and
Rechte Straat and is still there to remind passersby of the tragedy.

September 10th, 2015 UPDATE:
On the 7th of September, 2015 we filed an online request form on the information-website of the Netherlands National Government (Informatie Rijksoverheid in Dutch) asking for details on the origin and type of the bomb found in Eindhoven on July 29t,h 2015.
Our request was forwarded to the Department of Defense and on September 9th, 2015 we were informed as follows:
"The explosive device which was found on Mathilde Laan in Eindhoven on July 29th 2015 was a fragmentation bomb SD500 with the remains of an igniter. This is a German bomb."
This information means that the bomb was dropped during the only German bombing raid on Eindhoven during World War Two; the devastating attack on September 19th, 1944. This was a day after the city was liberated by Allied forces in the first stage of Operation "Market Garden".

An SD500 bomb is an 82 inches long High Explosive thick-walled (SD = Spreng Dickenwand in German) semi armor piercing fragmentation bomb weighing 535 kilograms. It was filled with Amatol -60/40, TNT and wax. The one found on Mathilde Laan luckily was a dud, as it would have caused extensive damage to the nearby Ventose Flat apartment building.
This building was, and still is, a residential structure, of no military significance.

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Diagram of Nazi SD500 bomb

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