Specialist navy team from Portsmouth blow up 500kg wartime bomb

Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have detonated a 500kg Second World War bomb found in the River Thames
Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have detonated a 500kg Second World War bomb found in the River Thames
HMS Forth, the first of the Royal Navy's next generation offshore patrol ships arrives for the first time at her home base in Portsmouth. PHOTO: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire PPP-180226-125346001

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ROYAL Navy explosive experts have detonated a Second World War bomb discovered in the River Thames.

The historic ordnance was found in the George V Dock during pre-planned construction work near London City Airport on Sunday morning.

The bomb being detonated

The bomb being detonated

Royal Navy divers from Horsea Island-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 midday yesterday in the waters off the MoD’s Shoeburyness range.

Following the successful detonation, Mark Lancaster, armed forces minister, said: ‘Our armed forces are on standby 24/7 to keep the people of the United Kingdom safe.

‘I’m immensely proud of the Royal Navy bomb disposal teams who have worked in very difficult conditions over the last 36 hours to safely dispose of this Second World War bomb.

Navy divers out on the water   Picture: Royal Navy

Navy divers out on the water Picture: Royal Navy

‘Whether on operations overseas or held at high readiness for contingencies at home, our priority is always the safety and security of the UK.’

After examination, the device was confirmed as a 500kg tapered end shell measuring 1.5m in length.

Bad weather on Tuesday meant it was unsafe to detonate the device and the Royal Navy diver team guarded the ordnance overnight until calmer weather settled yesterday.

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.’

The detonation comes after The News revealed bomb disposal teams from Portsmouth had been called upon dozens of times in the past year.

Navy bosses praised the professionalism of the divers.