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The Lewes bomb was a blast-incendiary field expedient explosive device, manufactured by mixing diesel oil and Nobel 808 plastic explosive. It was created by Lieutenant Jock Lewes, one of the original members of L Detachment SAS in 1941. The SAS needed a combined incendiary and explosive device light enough to be carried by a small group of commandos yet powerful enough to destroy and set fire to aircraft on an enemy airfield. Weighing approximately 1 pound (0.45 kg), the Lewes Bomb could be carried in quantity by an individual.

The only available bomb at the time was too cumbersome to be carried by a paratrooper. Lewes experimented with various types of incendiary and explosive materials, using trial and error. The final design used a pound of plastic explosive, mixed with a quarter pound of thermite and a small amount of diesel oil. Inside the mass was inserted a 2 ounce dry guncotton booster, plus a detonator attached to a thirty-second fuse. Alternatively, Lewes bombs could be triggered by pencil detonators or booby-trap firing devices such as pressure release switches.

It is not clear what was used as a container for the explosive, though it was probably a small canvas bag of some sort. In use, the device was placed inside the cockpit or on the wing of an aircraft in order to ignite the aviation fuel stored within.


  • Lewes, John (2001). Jock Lewes: The Biography of Jock Lewes, Co-founder of the SAS. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-805-4. 
  • Reese, Peter (1999). The Scottish Commander. Canongate Books. ISBN 0-86241-833-X. 

See also

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