70-years later, unexploded munitions from the Second World War still remain a problem to be dealt with. Fortunately, Royal Navy clearance divers have the necessary EOD skills to deal with these historic hazards.
Southern Diving Unit blows up World War 2 bomb in north Cornwall
The team of four from the Southern Diving Unit 1 at HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth, blew up the air-dropped bomb in-situ in a controlled explosion where it was found by contractors for SW Water laying a mains in a field at St Eval Kart Circuit near Wadebridge, north Cornwall yesterday.
The unexploded German 50g, two-ft-long device was still live and had to be rendered safe through working on the fuse. An exclusion zone (including a no-fly-area because of the adjacent Newquay Airport) was enforced over night by police. Roads were closed and horses in the field were also removed for their safety.
The incident also involved staff from the water company and a local authority. Preparation for the operation began with the building of a protective earthwork with 6.5 tonnes of sandbags in two rings round the bomb in order to prevent damage to property and people from the bomb if it went off unexpectedly and when detonated in the controlled explosion.
Petty Officer Diver Sid Lawrence said: “This was a very well run operation with several organisations including the water company, builders on the site who discovered the bomb and emergency services, local authorities and the guys who put up the protective works. This made our job a lot more straight forward and ensured the safety of the public.
“This was a live bomb which caused a major hazard. However, after the delicate work needed to disarm the bomb we decided to detonate it on the same site and that went smoothly.’’