Video: Royal Navy Divers Blow Up WWII Bomb
On Wednesday, an EOD team with the Royal Navy's Southern Diving Unit 2 detonated an 1,100-pound Second World War bomb in the River Thames.
The vintage unexploded ordnance was found on Sunday during construction work near London City Airport. The discovery of the bomb led to the closure of the airport and forced the temporary evacuation of nearby residents.
After examination, the device was confirmed as a WWII-era, 1,100-pound tapered end shell measuring five feet long. Bad weather on Tuesday meant that it was unsafe to detonate the bomb, and the dive team guarded it overnight until calmer weather arrived. It was blown up at 1200 hours on Wednesday in the waters off the UK Ministry of Defense's Shoeburyness range.
“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," said Lieutenant Commander Jonny Campbell, the officer in charge of Southern Diving Unit 2.
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the Royal Navy and in particular, the team of expert divers for their professionalism and tireless efforts . . . to bring this operation to a safe conclusion," said Robert Sinclair, the CEO of London City Airport. “Monday’s events caused a lot of disruption, not least for our local residents and passengers, but flights returned to normal on Tuesday."
More than 70 years after the London Blitz, the supply of unexploded Second World War ordnance in Britain is more than adequate to keep the Royal Navy's EOD divers busy. In the past year alone, Southern Diving Unit 2 has responded to one bomb near Parliament, at least two bombs in Portsmouth, one bomb near a North Sea gas pipeline, one torpedo speared by an anchor, and ten canisters of mustard gas in a peaceful village, among many other highlights.