Capt. Sidney Brazier GM
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Posted 13 June 2016 - 12:26 AM
"Captain Sidney Brazier, who has died aged 96, had a hazardous Army career in bomb disposal and was awarded the George Medal.
On October 12 1963 Brazier, then an Ammunition Technician WO1 or Conductor with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), was called to assist Major William Musson in the removal and disposal of No 74-type grenades discovered close to the married quarters’ barrack area and the railway at Aldershot.
Known as “sticky bombs”, these were some of the most dangerous such devices ever produced. The glass bottles had no handles or metal covers and had been in the ground for at least 20 years. The nitroglycerine content was highly unstable and there was no question of using proper digging tools to extract the explosives.
The next day, the two men, using wooden probes, tried to establish the size of the cache and removed 12 grenades which were embedded in the soil and stuck together. They carefully carried the devices to a demolition area 160 yards away.
On October 14, relying on their rubber-gloved fingers, a small paint brush and the probes, in the knowledge that the smallest vibration might be disastrous, they found a further 38 grenades. All were firmly stuck together. Some had cracks in the glass and were leaking. Eight were removed but it proved impossible to separate the remaining 30.
After it was decided to explode these in situ, Brazier constructed a sandbag traverse to minimise the risk from the blast, and prepared the charges. Both men were awarded the George Medal. The citation for Brazier’s award stated that he had shown physical courage, mental endurance and technical skill of the highest order. In recognition of their bravery, the following year both men were named as “Men of the Year” by the British Council for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled.
Sidney Brazier was born at Rotherham, Yorkshire, on December 8 1919 and was educated at Rotherham Grammar School. He had an idyllic childhood and as a small boy, in the school holidays, would set up camp in a farmer’s field and his father would bring food to him once a week.
After a spell at Rotherham Forge, in 1946 he joined the RAOC and, for the next 28 years he was employed on technical ammunition and explosives duties. He saw active service in the Korean War and, between 1957 and 1974, he served on bomb disposal duties in Cyprus, where he was Mentioned in Despatches. He was also stationed in Aden, England, Northern Ireland and Kuwait."
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