Many of you out there will probably have heard of the infamous Australian Great Emu War of 1932. But I suspect many of you have never heard of when the British army were called out to try to blow up an unspeakable horror.
The Monster of Ickham Pond.
Which is near Canterbury, in Kent.
The foul beasty conducted a reign of terror between 1975 and 1977. It had an insatiable appetite and a fearsome reputation, devouring thousands of…goldfish. Which was a problem for the property owner, Mr. Alf Leggett, who used to make a living selling them.
The identity of the killer was not certain, but Mr. Leggett believed the terror was, in fact, a perch. A common predatory fish in British waters, it was thought that the beast may, in fact, weigh up to as much as one pound (about half a kilo) in weight. However, this was no ordinary perch, as the cunning of the creature knew no bounds.
Despite the efforts of fishermen, including the famous explorer Col. John Blashford-Snell, the monster eluded capture, and continued its rampage.
I am not really sure at what point the Army got involved. Apparently, their first efforts to kill the wee beasty utilized a five-man crew with a machine gun. I have literally no idea how that is meant to work, or if that is actually true, as reports from the time are murky.
But what certainly did occur was the deployment of sappers from the Junior Leaders Regt., Royal Engineers, on May 18, 1977. They deployed a Ferret Scout car, divers and eight explosive charges in an attempt to deal with the menace.
Though they did kill one small fish, it was not the vile terror of the deep, because that was caught on June 10 by two Southern Water engineers equipped with a rowing boat, fishing net and a stun rod. They recovered the suspected culprit, a one-pound Perch.
But doubts still lingered as to whether this was, in fact, the monster. As one of the heroic captors remarked at the time:
“I rather think herons could be responsible for much of the trouble.”
Huge thanks to Matt at The Armourer’s Bench for bringing this utterly nuts story to my attention and if you want to watch all of the original BBC report on the sappers attempts to blow up the monster, again, link is here.