Honest John

Having noticed a distinct lack of images on this blog, I thought I would share with you this picture from the Imperial War Museum’s British Army 1945-2000 collection. It depicts Cadets from the Chard School Army Cadet Force, Somerset, being shown the Douglas Aircraft MGR 1 ‘Honest John’ free flight rocket at the School of Artillery, Larkhill. There is no date, but a reader of this blog places it circa 1959/60.

Honest John was the first nuclear-capable surface-to-surface rocket to enter the armouries of the United States and became the backbone of NATO tactical nuclear strike capabilities throughout the 1950s. Honest John was capable of firing a 20 kiloton nuclear warhead at a range of up to 15 miles. Around the same yield as ‘Fat Man’, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, this was a weapon that could deal out major damage (see the post ‘What’s in a Name’ on this blog for issues surrounding the classification of nuclear weapons). One wonders what would have been going through the young Cadets’ minds as they contemplated service in Britain’s atomic Army.