Great Panjandrum rolls again at Westward Ho!

THE Great Panjandrum rolled again on Westward Ho! beach on Friday morning – more than 60 years after it s first fearsome sighting. Devised in World War Two to help break through D-Day beach defences, the secret military weapon was tested on the North De

THE Great Panjandrum rolled again on Westward Ho! beach on Friday morning - more than 60 years after it's first fearsome sighting.

Devised in World War Two to help break through D-Day beach defences, the secret military weapon was tested on the North Devon sands, but proved a failure.

It was brought back to life in replica form this week to mark the 65th anniversary of

D-Day - and to raise awareness of the forthcoming Appledore Book Festival, being held from September 26-October 4.


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The original Panjandrum comprised two 10ft high steel wheels fastened by a drum filled with more than a tonne of high explosives and driven by rockets.

It was designed to be landed on the beach and ignited, so that it would roll towards defences and explode. But tests showed it to be unstable as it veered wildly off course. At one test viewing VIPs were forced to run and hide behind Westward Ho! pebble ridge.

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The Book Festival version by fireworks company Skyburst was smaller at six feet high and proved more stable. But hopes that it would travel some 500 yards were

confounded when it came to a halt after only 50 yards.

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