Second World War: Explosion at the Ammunition Plant

Nebraskan recalls a near-miss while working at an ammunition plant during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

I had a narrow escape after my husband, Louis, went overseas and I came back to Nebraska. I went to work at the Carnusher Ammunition Plant, putting boosters in the big bombs. 

I had worked there several months when I was transferred to driving a donkey (Ford tractor hauling ammo). This particular day I was coming down the ramp, walking with the maintenance man. I got my donkey and stopped in the building where they were filling the bombs to see if they needed any more TNT. I talked to Shorty and the foreman, then went on to the next building.

I had just gotten to the next building when the one I was just in blew up. Nobody ever knew what caused the accident. Everyone was killed, and they never did find enough parts of the maintenance man or foreman to identify them.

When we heard the explosion, everyone tore outside. The racks and cement were coming down around us. My first thought was, "This is what Louis is going through in Germany." A truck came and picked us up to take us to the change house - it was a mess, and our clothes were, too. They took us to the cafeteria, and everything there was a mess, too. One of the girls who rode out with us every day was killed.

I feel I certainly had an angel on my side. When I went back later to get my belongings, they told me my donkey was still in the doorway, and my sweatshirt was on it.

Dorothy Drake
Arcadia, Nebraska

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April 27-28, 2019
Asheville, N.C.

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds