Exploding rats and vegetables created in secret Welwyn base during WWII

PUBLISHED: 11:00 03 June 2018

Some of the gadgets were invented at a top secret research facility known as Station IX in WGC. Picture:  © The National Archives

Some of the gadgets were invented at a top secret research facility known as Station IX in WGC. Picture: © The National Archives

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Exploding rats, books and wine bottles were among ingenious gadgets created in Welwyn to help win WWII.

Explosives concealed inside vegetables. Picture:  © The National ArchivesExplosives concealed inside vegetables. Picture: © The National Archives

Numerous devices were invented at a top secret research facility – known as Station IX – by the Special Operations Executive scientists to help preserve agents’ cover.

The details have been published in a new book, The Spy Toolkit, which uses declassified MI5 material to shed light on how opposing forces tried to outdo each other.

Also among the Welwyn-born gizmos – made in a facility in Frythe Avenue – were hollowed out turnips and sugar beets with explosives hidden inside.

Not to be outdone, the Germans hid bombs in car batteries, tins of food, frozen eggs and firelighters.

Exploding vegetables were created in WGC. Picture:  © The National ArchivesExploding vegetables were created in WGC. Picture: © The National Archives

They also tried to assassinate Sir Winston Churchill using an exploding chocolate bar – in a plot dubbed ‘Death By Chocolate’ – which was foiled by secret services.

The book, by Stephen Twigge, is out now.


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