July 23, 1943: Son Blows Up Crippled Dad With Anti-Tank Bomb!

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A Brief History

On July 23, 1943, an English lad of 19 had enough of his crippled father’s abuse and blew up the 47 year old in his bath chair.  The incident, famous in Britain as the Rayleigh Bath Chair Murder, has to be one of the first and perhaps only incident where someone killed their dad with an anti-tank bomb, thereby arguably meriting a ranking on our list of unusual deaths!

Digging Deeper

Archibald Brown lost the use of his legs at age 24 due to a motorcycle wreck and was confined to a wheeled “bath chair.”  Although he was attended by nurses he was demanding and mean to his wife and son, petty and abusive verbally and physically.

On top of the  family discord, Archibald had taken a sweet eye to his latest nurse, Doris Mitchell.  One day the nurse and Mrs. Brown (also named Doris) came home to find the 19 year old Eric coming out of the house seeming strangely upset.  As they got Archibald dressed in pajamas and into his chair, the nurse wheeled the disabled man away when a massive explosion engulfed Archibald and the chair, both of which were blown to bits.

Mitchell survived the blast, but with injured legs.  Investigators first considered enemy action as World War II was raging and England was a common bombing target for the German Air Force.  Quickly discounting any activity by the Germans, investigators found the blast was caused by a “Hawkins Grenade,” a type of anti-tank bomb.  As Eric had access to an armory as a member of the Army he became a prime suspect.  Eric confessed to the murder, having put the bomb under the bath chair seat cushion.  Eric claimed the abuse he had taken from Archibald was the reason for the murder.  Eric was found to be insane and was locked away until 1975.

As with many other odd cases, people seem to have no limit to their imaginations when it comes to find ways to kill someone else.  Question for students (and subscribers): What bizarre cases do you know about?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more bizarre murders, please see…

Unsolved Mysteries: Bizarre Murders.  Alchemy / Millennium, 2005.  DVD.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.