Spalford Warren, Nottinghamshire (Main. Unit. 93), was a satellite of the Norton Disney Chemical weapons site. It stored mustard and phosgene filled weapons during WW II to supply the many local airfields.
After the war the chemical weapons were disposed of by burning at Spalford Warren. Areas historically used for disposal of mustard are still fenced off today.
The post military site is on 36.5 hectares of a wind blown glacial sand anomaly, which is one of the rarest habitats in the county. The poor soil, derived from aeolian or wind-blown sand is material deposited after the last Ice Age gave rise to an unusual plant community for an inland site.The name, ‘warren’ dates from the medieval period as a place to raise rabits, for both its fur and its meat.
In the 1950’s it was delclared free of chemical weapons after burning, again in another MoD report during the 1980’s and yet again in the 1990’s.
When I visited the site in Jan 2012 and again in Nov 2013, it was still under forestry clearance by a private contractor, whom were in the process of removing the conifers
In 1965 the Forestry Commission planted conifers, but unfortunately many of the transplants did not take.
Today the site is designated as of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) with diverse, plants, bird life and wildfowl. It is also used on a constant daily basis by local walkers and hikers
During 1963/64 the Norwich Biological Trials took place. In it biological weapons stimulant Zinc Cadmium Sulphate was sprayed from a Devon type-aircraft which flew for 24 miles upwind from the city sraying 2-3 lbs of the zinc cadmium per mile to assess the effects of a biological attack by the Eastern Bloc countries.
Porton Down scientists conducted clandestine sampling of the air at a large number of locations, across the city and surrounding countryside during the trial, sometimes undercover and using the guise of traffic pollution remote monitoring stations.
In 2005 a national survey sited Norwich as having twice the national average of oesophageal cancers
Today and for many years the highest point of the city contains an extensive garden allotment site.
(I have also included some illustrated pages from the de-classified files from Porton Down)
In 1957 as part of the UK’s biological weapons program called the ‘Large Area Coverage Trials’, 300 pounds of Zinc cadmium sulfide was sprayed over a 300-mile line over the Irish Sea with samples taken at meteorological stations in England and Wales.
The trials used aircraft to spray these fluorescent tracer particles to simulate a biological agent cloud attack. Even then it was known that this chemical mix was known to cause cancer.
According to a the official report on the trials by the Offensive Evaluation Committee in Porton Down, “if the samplers gave a true picture,” then 28 million people would have received a dose of the biological weapon.
*Photograph taken from the Holyhead-Dublin Port ferry, at the approximate geographical centre of the Irish Sea, looking east.
In November, 2006, BBC East broadcast an InsideOut 30 minute special entitled ‘Clouds of Secrecy’. This investigated Porton Down’s 1960s BW spray ‘attacks’ on Norfolk (with the city of Norwich as the main target). It also revealed a recently discovered series of sprayings, conducted in the Cardington Bedford area in the early 1960s, which involved the use of Porton Down’s clandestine spray vehicle — a specially converted 1 ton Morris van.
The unsuspecting population in the East of England was sprayed covertly with the poisonous compound at least 76 times.
Worksop, Nottinghamshire was a U.S. army ammunitions storage depot during WW11, renamed the Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) in 1952. During the war it consisted of approx. 40,000 tonnes of mixed ammunition. Within its inventory then, it stored phosgene and mustard gas munitions amongst other conventional weapons.
Previous to its location as a chemical weapons site it was the summer residence of the Dukes of Newcastle up until 1938
Today the site is a vast expanse of parkland, heath and woodland covering more than 38,000 acres under the care of The National Trust
The chemical weapons site is located just alongside of the longest lime tree avenue in Europe which stretches for over 3 km.
The park is also located within what was once Sherwood forest, home of the popular character Robin Hood
Within 200 mtrs. is the Culumber Walled Kitchen Garden and a caravan park.
The site is frequented by walkers and is under agricultural arable land usage