The Fauld Explosion, Staffordshire – 27 November 1944

Posted on November 26th, 2013 by The British Newspaper Archive

On 27 November 1944, the underground ammunition store at RAF Fauld in Staffordshire blew up, killing 70 people and also creating ‘the Hanbury Crater’.

It’s said that the explosion, which is also rumoured to be the world’s biggest non-nuclear explosion (there is some debate regarding this point), was heard as far away as Geneva.

Here is a newspaper report about the tragedy, published the day after the explosion took place.

historical newspaper reports on Fauld Explosion

Nottingham Evening Post – Tuesday 28 November 1944

Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

historical newspaper reports on Fauld Explosion

2 Responses to “The Fauld Explosion, Staffordshire – 27 November 1944”

Tim P.November 27th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

A fascinating article about a tragic story. I do have one point of contention with your Introduction, however. “It’s said that the explosion, which is still the world’s biggest non-nuclear explosion …”. I’ve always heard that the Halifax Explosion of 1917 (in Nova Scotia, not West Yorkshire) was the largest non-nuclear explosion prior to 1945. Wikipedia ( seems to agree with this, although the estimates of explosive force are just that – i.e., estimates. There appear to have been a few non-nuclear explosions deliberately conducted by the military since 1945 which exceeded the force of both the Halifax and Fauld Explosions, for which more accurate force estimates were presumably possible.

I really enjoy your blog – thanks, and keep up the good work!

The British Newspaper ArchiveNovember 27th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your comment.

Am pleased you to hear that you like the blog.

Yes, when researching this story I found various estimated claims regarding the world’s biggest non-nuclear explosion.

But I’ve since altered the copy in the introduction, so as not to leave any ‘hostages to fortune’, and to leave things open to interpretation about which was the biggest explosion.

Best regards,

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