WW2 Bomb Safely Detonated at Sea After Being Removed Through City


A German World War Two bomb weighing 500kg (1,102lb) that led to the evacuation of thousands in Plymouth has been successfully detonated at sea. The unexploded bomb was discovered in a garden on St Michael Avenue, causing four days of disturbance. On Friday, as the bomb was transported 1.4 miles (2.3km) through the city, police shut down roads and halted rail and bus services. The bomb was taken out to sea and detonated at 21:51GMT, marking an end to the large-scale disruption for Plymouth residents.

A temporary 300m (984ft) safety cordon was established on Friday afternoon to allow experts to move the bomb from the Keyham area to the Torpoint Ferry slipway. According to Plymouth City Council, 10,320 people and 4,300 properties were within the cordon. Residents were asked to evacuate their homes for approximately three hours from 14:00 GMT as a safety measure.

Residents expressed relief at the successful removal of the bomb, with many praising the efforts of those involved in the operation. Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans thanked everyone involved and highlighted the “war-like spirit” that the incident had brought out in the city.

The Life Centre leisure centre was used as an emergency rest centre for those who had been evacuated. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps commended the “bravery and fortitude” of those involved in the “highly complex operation” and thanked the public for their patience and cooperation.

Around 30 of the Armed Forces’ most experienced bomb disposal specialists worked tirelessly since Tuesday to assess the bomb’s condition. Staff at The Box, a cultural space and museum in the city, believe the bomb fell during one of the heaviest nights of bombing in World War Two. Using war-era “bomb maps”, they estimate it was dropped on 22 or 23 April, 1941.

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