Calgary

Don't be alarmed if you saw a massive bomb rolling down an Alberta highway

If you were travelling along a highway south of Calgary on Friday, you may have gotten a glimpse of a replica of the largest bomb in the Second World War — the Grand Slam, a behemoth that weighed 10,000 kilograms.

41 were dropped on German targets such as rail bridges, submarine pens

This replica of the Grand Slam bomb will go on display at the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alta. (CBC)

If you were travelling along a highway south of Calgary on Friday, you may have gotten a glimpse of a replica of the largest bomb in the Second World War — the Grand Slam, a behemoth that weighed 10,000 kilograms.

A full-size replica of a bomb called the Grand Slam was moved 90 kilometres along Highway 2, from Calgary to the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton.

The 10,000-kilogram Grand Slam was the largest bomb in the war. 

The replica, which is constructed from fibreboard, aluminum and fibreglass, is eight metres long and about a metre wide.

The replica bomb was moved down Highway 2 on Friday from Calgary to Nanton. (CBC)

It was built over three months by veteran woodworkers John Morel and Andy Lockhart in Morel's shop.

They normally build high-end furniture, so when they were asked by the museum to make the bomb, they knew they could use their skills to pull it off.

Lockhart calls the replica bomb one of the biggest projects he's done.

Woodworker Andy Lockhart, shown here, and his friend John Morel built the replica with fibreboard, aluminum and fibreglass. (CBC)

"It had its moments," Lockhart said, explaining that the materials were heavy and hard to manoeuvre.

"The tail part is sheet aluminum, bent from flat into a cone. And all of the various pieces had to line up with no gaps," he said.

"It's great to see it finally done." 

Museum historian Dave Birrell says the Grand Slam bombs were carried by specially-modified Lancaster Bombers with the elite Dambusters squadron.

"No other airplane could come close to lifting 22,400 pounds," he said.

The Allies dropped 41 one of them on German infrastructure targets such as rail bridges and underground submarine pens.

"Used in just that last few months of the war and the Canadian connection is that the leader of the squadron at that point was Johnny Fauquier, the most decorated Canadian airman in World War II," Birrell said.

Lockhart said he hopes the replica serves as a valuable teaching tool, and can foster "an appreciation of the scale of things that actually happened in World War II, the abilities of the guys who flew the Lancasters and did the missions, and some of the elements that actually went in to winning that war."

There are no other replicas of the bombs, but there are three or four originals at museums in the U.K., Birrell said.

The Grand Slam will be put on display alongside the museum's Lancaster bomber.

The Grand Slam bomb, at 10,000 kilograms, was the largest used in the Second World War. (Bomber Command Museum)
The Grand Slam bomb was carried by specially-modified Lancaster bombers with the elite Dambusters squadron. (Bomber Command Museum)

With files from Dave Gilson

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