Photoflash Bomb Damaged Keeper’s House at Mount Desert Rock Light
The account below is one of the most unusual and terrifying events – at least initially, in Maine lighthouse history. One can only imagine how utterly frightened the keepers were when, without warning, the photoflash bomb denoted near Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse.
From the Lewiston Sun Journal, February 28, 1956…
“Lighthouse Damage Viewed by Air Force, Mount Desert Rock, Feb. 27 – Officers from Dow Air Force Base (Bangor) today inspected damage to the light-keeper’s home on Mt. Desert Rock caused last Thursday night (Feb. 23) by a low-level explosion of an aerial photo-flash bomb.
The windows were blown out of the dwelling and plaster cracked by the blast, which occurred as the four light tenders watched television. The men took shelter in the generator room of the lighthouse tower. They thought at first it was an oil tank exploding. No one was injured.
The area near Mount Desert Island is being used by the Strategic Air Command’s reconnaissance aircraft for training purposes.”
What is a Photoflash Bomb?
According to Wikipedia, “A photoflash bomb, or flash bomb, is explosive ordnance dropped by aircraft, usually military surveillance aircraft, designed to detonate above ground to create an extremely bright flash of light. These bombs, which are capable of producing light at an intensity of up to hundreds of millions of candlepower, assist surveillance aircraft in taking nighttime aerial photos without the need to fly low to the ground which would make it vulnerable to possible enemy detection. Due to the advent of better nighttime optics, satellite imagery, and stealth aircraft, these bombs are no longer used by the military.”