Explosive Rat Dummy.
SOE [Special Operations Executive] Training example; an Explosive Dummy Rat, [Hertfordshire, 1941]. A dummy rat with space for explosive to be inserted, with label noting "S1452a. Training. SOE Dept. Rat Explosive dummy. No 27 detonator. time delay pencil. time fuse No 6 Primer and PE Section 7." Contained in a later wooden wine box. Length 230 mm. Provenance: The Mountfitchet Castle Museum, Essex.
A very rare example of a Rat bomb, this example used for training purposes by the SOE. In 1941 SOE came up with a new idea to keep the Germans on their toes. The laboratory at Alston House, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, thought up the idea of a rat bomb. They procured 100 rats, ostensibly for use in London University experiments; and then packed them with explosives and sent the first batch off to France to be placed in boiler rooms, where the stoker would throw the rat away by scooping him up and putting him in the fire. Unfortunately this first batch was intercepted and the Germans spent considerable time searching boiler rooms for rats. No rat bomb ever exploded in anger!