Efforts to defuse WW2 bomb continue


Published: Tuesday 24th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Army bomb disposal experts are continuing to defuse an unexploded Second World War bomb that police said has the potential to destroy homes.

The Ministry of Defence said it will take the 1,000lb (454kg) bomb to Kent to be destroyed once it has been defused.

The disposal of the bomb may result in delays to flights at London City Airport, according to the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

Highly trained army experts have built an “igloo” around the 5ft (1.5m) device in Bermondsey, south-east London, in order to protect the surrounding buildings. The blast wall has been created in case of accidental detonation.

Robert Shaw, a former army bomb disposal officer, said: “It’s a piece of ammunition designed to kill people. It’s been left there for a long time so it’s more dangerous.”

He claimed that the techniques used by these bomb disposal experts have not changed much since the Second World War.

He added: “The fuse is the most sensitive part of it. It’s a failed device.

“The explosives are a chemical substance. It can liquefy and crystallise, and become more sensitive to being knocked.

“It’s liquid, like milk in the fridge. It goes off – they get more sensitive over time. The explosives harden and liquefy as temperatures change.”

German bombs from the Second World War uniquely have their fuses on the side, rather than in the tail or nose, where fuses are located on more modern ordnances.

Mr Shaw, who has served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “They will dig a mine shaft down to the device to gain access to it and underneath, because they have to find the fuse on the side.”

He added: “The fuse is the most sensitive part of it. It’s a failed device.”

Simon Hughes, the local MP, tweeted: “Thank u 2 members of the Armed Forces & all involved in moving the #UXB 2 Kent today & grateful 2 local #Bermondsey residents 4 patience.”

In the Second World War, failed bombs were taken to Romney Marsh in Kent to be detonated.

Residents living within 200 metres of the site were evacuated today as Royal Logistic Corps bomb disposal experts continued to work on the bomb, and those living within 100m were asked to leave their homes yesterday.

In a leaflet given to residents living near the ordnance last night, the Metropolitan Police said: “The Army bomb disposal team have advised that, if the bomb explodes, buildings in the 200-metre zone will be significantly damaged and those close to the bomb will be destroyed. Remaining in your home is placing your life at significant risk.”

Scotland Yard’s Southwark borough said in a tweet: “Sorry if the leaflet was a bit blunt but we wanted 2be honest&persuade ppl that it’s in their interest2leave (some don’t)”.

London Fire Brigade said that between 2009 and 2014 it was called to seven unexploded Second World War bombs and five unexploded hand grenades.

A spokesman for London City Airport said: “We are monitoring the restrictions in place around the Bermondsey area. Any delays to flights are currently expected to be minimal.”

Published: Tuesday 24th March 2015 by The News Editor

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