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Blaylock’s Bomb – A History Essay

July 23, 2015

The story of a secret role played by the Trail smelter during the Second World War

P9 tower - completed

P9 tower when completed in 1943.

“Blaylock’s Bomb – How a Small BC City Helped Create the World’s First Weapon of Mass Destruction” is now available in BC Studies No. 186 (summer 2015).

Four years into the Second World War, the citizens of Trail, British Columbia, a small city with a large smelter in the moun­tainous West Kootenay region near the United States border, were, like most of the world, totally unaware of the possibility of creating an atomic bomb.

Trail’s industrial workforce, employees of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (CM&S Company), were home-front producers of war materials destined for Allied forces on the battlefields of Europe. They, along with the rest of humanity, would have seen the creation of such a bomb as pure science fiction fantasy invented by the likes of British novelist H.G. Wells.

Company president S.G. Blaylock in the late 1930s.

Company president S.G. Blaylock in the late 1930s.

They were understandably preoccupied with the life-and-death necessity of ensuring an Allied victory against the Nazis, Italian fascists, and the Japanese. It was no secret that, as it had done in the previous world conflict, their employer was supplying much of the lead, zinc, and now fertilizer that Britain needed to prosecute the war.

What Trailites did not know was that they were for a short time indispensable in the creation of the world’s first weapon of mass destruction.

Blaylock’s Bomb – BC Studies – Summer 2015


Canada's History cover - Canada's Bomb - Summer 2015No sooner had “Blaylock’s Bomb” appeared this summer than a second much shorter and substantially different article, using some of the same research material, was published in the popular magazine Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver).

Canada’s Bomb – Canada’s History magazine – Summer 2015

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2 Responses to Blaylock’s Bomb – A History Essay

  1. Greg Nesteroff on July 23, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Excellent news! Can’t wait to read it.

  2. vicki obedkoff on November 28, 2015 at 3:54 am

    great work, Ron! I am doing research on radon gas/uranium/health effects in the Castlegar area and the lack of information, until recently, on living with radon/uranium. The secrecy around our area’s role in making the atomic bomb meant that anything around radiation risk to the public was hush-hush…..I would love to connect with you around this. Vicki

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