On the night of November 27, 1939 artillerymen at Shoeburyness saw a German seaplane dropping parachute mines on the foreshore. A naval officer and a photographer followed the retreating tide until near enough to take flash-light photographs. Experts from the Portsmouth Mining School arrived 6 hours afterwards, and then began the heroic work which, as .Mr. Churchill said, “reads like a detective story." Five men, Lt.-Cdr. J.G.D. Ouvry, Lt.-Cdr. R Lewis, Lieut. J. Glenny, C.P.O. C. Baldwin (later killed while in service), and A.B. A. Kearncombe, set about the dangerous task which might well cost them their lives, but would, if successful, reveal the secret of the Nazi magnetic mine. First they anchored the mine and then made pencil and paper rubbings, of the external fittings, and whilst waiting for the next low tide special tools were improvised of non-magnetic material. Lt.-Cdr J G. D. Ouvry undertook to make the first operations. He told the rest of the party which fitting he was going to start working on and the sequence of his procedures. Thus, if the mine should happen to blow him up, the others would beware of that fitting when dealing with other mines. He removed the fitting in safety, and it appeared to be the detonator. So the whole party got to work on the other fittings. One by one they removed them, and then came a nasty shock when they discovered a second detonator Twelve hours after they had arrived to make their investigation of this latest example of the Nazis ingenuity in devilish invention, they had sent the mine on its way to Portsmouth, harmless and with its secrets laid open before the experts. -------------------------------- The first German magnetic mine before being rendered safe. Shoeburyness, 23rd November 1939. After Decorating the Five men who solved the “Magnetic Mine Mystery” His Majesty along with Lt-Cdr Ouvry, inspects the Mine at H.M.S Vernon Mine and Torpedo School at Portsmouth. Loading the mine into a lorry after rendering it safe. Left to Right. A.B. Vearncombe. Lt-Co Lewis, C.P.O. Baldwin, and Lt-Co Ourvy with bact to the camera.