Object of the month

April 2024

High Explosive Bomb Tail Fin

This month’s Object of the Month from the STEAM collection, is a tail fin from a high explosive German bomb. This object will also be going on display at our sister venue, Museum & Art Swindon, when it opens its doors soon.


German Bomb tail fin (1942), that was dropped on Swindon.


This item dates back to 1942. It was dropped on the GWR electrical station, during an air raid on Swindon on the evening of 27th July 1942. It was not a direct hit, but damaged the roof and shattered windows of No.24 Shop. Swindon Works was an important manufacturing site for military vehicles and munitions during both World Wars, so would have been a prime target for the German Luftwaffe, but the Works remained relatively unscathed from any of the air raids on the town.

This image taken on 27th July 1942 shows a bomb crater on the edge of No.24 Shop in the Carriage and Wagon Works. Several workmen are examining the crater, probably thankful the bomb did not land any closer.


The bomb was said to have been defused by workmen from the GWR. This was an impressive and dangerous task but as the Works was involved in producing munitions there was presumably experts on hand to carry out the job.

The tail fin will be used in the new History of Swindon galleries, at Museum & Art Swindon to help tell the story of life in wartime Swindon.

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