Bomb experts detonated device dredged up in Portsmouth Harbour

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A wartime device was destroyed by bomb disposal experts following its discovery in Portsmouth Harbour during dredging work ahead of the arrival of a multi-billion pound aircraft carrier.

The British-made Armstrong Whitworth munition was found at 2am yesterday in the excavator head of a barge dredging the harbour, the Royal Navy said.

The dredging work was being carried out as part of a raft of infrastructure upgrades taking place before the arrival of the Navy’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

It is not known how the device ended up at the bottom of the Solent, but it was destroyed after divers from the Navy’s Southern Diving Unit 2 were lowered to the seabed.

Petty Officer (Diver) Scotty Eaton said: ‘The swift action by my team to get to the barge and safely remove the bomb before the morning ferries sailed meant people were not disrupted or placed in danger.’

Millions of pounds have been spent to prepare Portsmouth Naval Base for the Navy’s two new aircraft carriers - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Dredging operations are under way to deepen the main channel used by shipping in Portsmouth by one metre, and new power facilities are also being built.

In November a controlled explosion was carried out on a 500lb Second World War bomb which was dislodged from the seabed by dredging work in the harbour.

The bomb was towed to an area east of the Isle of Wight where a controlled explosion was carried out by the Royal Navy’s Fleet Diving Squadron.