This page features and interesting letter from Herbert King, an explosives expert, to Borough Engineer, Harry W Smith. The town received advice on unexploded bombs. But it also shows how the bombardment helped the scientists study the new German explosive T.N.T.
I have to thank you for kindly securing for me the sample of explosive from the German shell. I have examined it and find that it is not Lyddite but the new German explosive Ti-Nito-Tolasl (T.N.T.). Along with one my students (who is in charge of the prussic acid making of Brothertons).
I had made some of this before and we are comparing its properties with the properties of yours. I learn from Prof. Green (who is retained by Government in connection with the Aniline dye question)that two or three British firms have started to make it but as there are difficulties they are pleased to have additional information.
With regard to removing it in case of consolidation I should suggest adding benzene (benzol, as sold for motors) and the solution will deposit it in needle crystals. In solution it is not explosive but the benzene vapour is very inflammable and no flame must be brought near it.
To warm the liquid before adding it to the T.N.T. in the shell set the tin containing it in warm water u to 70c (or 15.8 Fah) The boiling point of benzene is 177 degrees F. When the warm benzene is poured on the explosive sli(illegible) up well with a glass rod, and then pour out the liquid. Warm mentholated spirit would do but not anything like so well.
For various reasons I have not been over to Scarborough for 5 or 6 weeks. Very busy - time simply flies - A letter to Mr Millhouse is much overdue - of others.
With kind regards - to yourself and family , yours very truly, Herbert King
Letter from Herbert King, 8 Middleton Crescent, Leeds, to Harry W Smith, dated 24th March 1915