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Royal Navy bomb disposal team detonates wartime device found in River Thames

15 February 2018

UK Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have destroyed a 500kg Second World War bomb found in the River Thames on February 11. The historic ordnance was found in the George V Dock during pre-planned construction work near London City Airport on the morning. After examination, the device was confirmed as a 500kg tapered end shell measuring 1.5m in length. 

WW2 bomb detonation off Shoeburyness - Image: MOD Crown Copyright
WW2 bomb detonation off Shoeburyness - Image: MOD Crown Copyright

Royal Navy divers from the Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2, who are trained bomb disposal experts, were called to the scene to make the device safe and take it to be destroyed. It was detonated at 1200 on February 14 in the waters off the MOD’s Shoeburyness range.

Lieutenant Commander Jonny Campbell, the officer in charge of Southern Diving Unit 2, said: “The operation to remove the Second World War bomb from London City Airport was extremely successful. My team worked incredibly hard to ensure public safety remained the priority at all times.

“Royal Navy bomb disposal experts are called out roughly every 18 hours to incidents such as this and we are well trained and well placed to deal with them. We are pleased that London City Airport was able to reopen yesterday while we safely detonate the device well away from any public areas out at sea.”

The safeguarding and ultimate detonation of the historic device was handled by a joint operation between the Royal Navy, British Army bomb disposal teams, and the Metropolitan Police. The discovery of the bomb led to the temporary closure of London City Airport, and caused some evacuations of nearby residents while the bomb was made safe and removed from the site.

Operations at London City Airport have now returned to normal and all residents have returned to their homes.

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