I’d not long been at Finningley after my fireman training at Catterick when there was a ‘Mickey Finn’ exercise. Our Vulcan’s (four of them) were deployed to Burtonwood near Warrington. The station was no longer operational but could still take aircraft. Three or four of us from the Fire Section were sent there. The Vulcan’s carried inert Blue Steel bombs.

The second or third day High Test Peroxide on one of the bombs was being decanted into a pit. Myself and an NCO were on standby for this when the HTP reacted and began to dramatically gurgle and gush out of the pit and flow towards the aircraft. Heaps of steam and fog and all within moments!

‘Take a delivery and direct the jet to stop the flow to the aircraft’

I was instructed to do and did it. However it meant my being in the ‘cloud’ and soon I was almost blind! Straight to hospital but no long term damage to the eyes I’m pleased to say. It did start rumour’s in Warrington though that the base was reopening as a missile site!