Skyburst Recreate Secret Weapon Designed for D-Day. The Great Panjandrum!

All PreppedOn 5th June 2009, Skyburst recreate their version of the ‘Great Panjandrum’. Unfortunately it never made the D-Day landings, but did make a roll on part featured in Dads Army!

These great photos and videos reveal how the Great Panjandrum, one of the most bizarre British creations, was wheeled out on this day to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

The original device was packed with over 400lbs of high explosives,  reached a great height of 10ft and would be propelled to over 60mph, hoping to blast a hole in the Nazi’s Atlantic Wall Defence.

But, during some of the first tests, it veered out of control nearly wiping out a whole audience of VIP’s! Sadly, further tests proved that the weapon was too unstable and unpredictable, due to miss fires and bumps on the beaches.

Final ChcksAll of the tests took place on Westward Ho! In North Devon, where it was very common to see a group of commanders and soldiers being chases up and down the by this rolling time bomb!

So, the time had come for Skyburst The Firework Co to recreate this uncontrollable rolling disaster, which bought much joy among the team involved. Recreating the device slightly smaller, at 6ft high by 3ft wide, with much appreciated help from archive specialist Tony Koorlander, Skyburst were ready to get explosive!

As the Great Panjandrum rolled into place, a few worried faces asked the question. ‘It isn’t actually packed full ofexplosives is it?’ Skyburst responded, much to their relief and Skyburst’s disappointment, ‘no, we don’t want to kill any dog walkers or onlookers!’

Nerves running high as the replica Panjandrum stood at the ready on a small ramp, everyone was praying that the untested replica was going to work!

Fully lit PanjandrumCounting down and standing clear, a wave of the Union Flag signalled the ignition of the device as it erupted into a shower of sparks! With all the rockets lit, and blasting away, the Great Panjandrum left the ramp blowing everyone away with its lack of speed. But, it was travelling in a steady straight line, which was a good result!

Although the site was great to look at, there was great disappointment that the replica only travelled a mere 50 out of the proposed 500m.


Mr Pittaway followed on to say ‘It was fantastic! All the fireworks set off, so it was a pretty spectacular way to mark the D-Day commemoration

‘It did manage to go in a straight line, but only around 50m’

Meet The Team!10 workers from Skyburst spent two days attaching dozens of rocketsto the rims of the Drum, which had been commissioned by the organisers of the local Appledoor Book Festival.

The original was designed by Nevil Shute Norway, who predicted it would travel at speeds exceeding 60mph and then to blow a hole in the wall large enough to drive a tank through!

It’s a real shame it tended to attack our men more often than not!

Please see the Videos below, first showing the replica Drum created by Skyburst, and the second with real footage of the original tests.

Interested in recreating something similar yourself? Skyburst love a challenge! Check out some of their otherSpecial Projects and get in touch

Luke Christie 01179231368

Grand Panjandrum

British Secret Wartime Follies

20 Interesting Facts about July 4th

482985_114876818642805_1320215111_nThe 4th July marks the Birthday of America. In 1776, on this day, the members of the second continental congress met in Philadelphia, adopting the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming their sovereignty from Great Britain.

There are many ways the American people choose to celebrate this day. From BBQs and drinks, parades, festivals and even Hot Dog Eating Competitions! But the most popular it seems, is to celebrate with fireworks! Many people spot their opportunity to get out the house, and join thousands of fellow Americans to watch a Humongous Professional Firework Display. But it’s becoming more aware that people are choosing to do the celebrations at home, with friends and family in the garden, where they can perform their own celebratory private firework display.

So, here are 20 facts you may or may not know about Independence Day.

1. Initially adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776, the revised version of the Declaration of Independence was not adopted until two days later.

2. The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.

USA-4th-july-glitter SB3. The Declaration of Independence was penned by Thomas Jeffersonand signed by 56 men representing 13 colonies.

4. One of the United States’ patriotic songs, “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British military officers prior to the Revolution as a means to mock the disorganized American colonists who fought alongside them during the French and Indian Wars.

5. France, Greece, Poland, Russia and several countries in South America used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles for freedom.

6. The “Star Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and not decreed the official national anthem of the United States until 1931.

7. Three U.S. Presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, died on July 4th; Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other in 1826 while Monroe died in 1831.

8. In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, the nation’s estimated population in July 2013 was 316.2 million.

9. The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.

10. Both the Philippines and Rwanda celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as“Republic Day” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.”

11. The country’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on Independence Day in 1872.

fourth-of-july-hot-dog SB12. Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone; it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.

13. In 1870 Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday; in 1938, it was changed to a paid federal holiday.

14. Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade and a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.

15. To avoid cracking it, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. To mark the quintessential day, every fourth of July it is symbolically tapped 13 times.

16. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are responsible for the bald eagle as the national bird; Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be the turkey.

17. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.

18. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 professional firework displayslight up the skies in the United States each 4th of July.

19. Two of our nation’s great national symbols were made overseas. The Liberty Bell was cast in England, and the Statue of Liberty in France.

20. The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at age 70, and Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26.

So, the question is. What do you and your family do to celebrate the 4th July? Do you even celebrate it at all?

Here at Skyburst, we think every moment in history should be celebrated like this, as we do Guy Fawkes Night.

Don’t worry though, if you haven’t made any plans yet, its not too late! Order fireworks online now for your 4th July Celebrations, or give us a call to book your Professional Firework Display Now.

flag-fireworks1 SB

Blog by Luke Christie
Skyburst The Firework Co

Fireworks and Funerals… Breaking the Tradition?

downloadBack in early 2000 Skyburst The Firework Company were approached for an interesting project, to scatter the ashes of a lost love one at the wake of the funeral.  With Skyburst being a team of pyro-enthusiasts, they all thought this was as splendid idea, and were happy to help with such a special service.

After testing many types/sizes of rockets, Skyburst finally found the perfect rocket which they felt would send them off in style as well as with a bang! As they deserved to be..

Skyburst didn’t want to handle the ashes without getting to know sed person they were sending off. After a little chat, over coffee, the team now knew who it was they were sending up and how great of a life they had. Skyburst team felt this was the right thing to do, to show respect to the lost loved one who was such a big part of the people around them.

Rocket RIPOnce the process is complete, and required rockets filled. Skyburst will give you the option of taking the special rockets away with you, to send off in the perfect location. But, if you wanted to watch your loved one soar high into the sky, and burst with so muchbeauty, then Skyburst would come along to perform the send-off on your behalf.

Once the word spread of the non-traditional unique celebration, Skyburst found this was becoming a very popular send off for many people across the country.

With only 1 egg cups worth of ashes required per rocket, you can choose the amount of rockets you’d like with plenty left over for any other remembrance services. Its very rare Skyburst get asked to send off a whole person, but it does happen! With such a large request, this can fill up to anywhere between 30-40 rockets.

RIP GEORGEWith rockets being readily available to the public, to buy, transport and store easily, the rockets can be stored for the very special day. But Skyburst thought, why not incorporate someone so special into a fullprofessional firework display? This idea took of quickly, with requests for the largest burst possible! Skyburst have now celebrated loved lives in many high impact display, with the special person eruptingfrom large ground mines, to exploding high in the sky from a 5inch mortar shell.

All the team at Skyburst are honoured to be a part of such a special occasion. Skyburst understand the importance of the someone’s final request, and how such a situation can effect the loved ones around them. Therefor they make the service as smooth and stress free as possible.

To see how this service has affected others in the past, please read this touching story ‘We sent Mum’s ashes up in a firework’ which was recently featured in The Guardian.

If you know someone who’s last wishes are to go off with a bang, please don’t hesitate to contact Luke on 01179231368 or drop him an email

For more info on Skyburst and the services they offer, please click here