Fears RAAF officer leaked secrets at lecture

A lecture on German V rockets, given by the RAAF’s Director of Radar to the Institution of Engineers in Melbourne on this day, caused fears in the US that a major security leak had occurred. Having become an authority on these weapons while on exchange with the RAF in Europe during 1944, Wing Commander George Pither said in his talk that the invasion of Europe had saved England from possible annihilation. Had war been prolonged, he claimed, Germany might have armed its rockets with uranium disintegration bombs as warheads. Unfortunately, Pither’s lecture coincided with the first explosion of an atomic device under America’s Top Secret ‘Manhattan Project’, and his remarks caused alarm when carried in media reports overseas. Later investigation showed that Pither knew nothing about the existence of atomic weapons, but had based his comments entirely on speculation in popular science about German experimentation in this direction.

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