Asleep since the war: unexploded bombs
The bomb disposal team was called to a building site this month in Kent, where a German WWII bomb was exploded on site.
Last week the team was called to dispose of a 75 year old bomb, as the nation marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day (the end of the second World War.)
Too risky to be moved, the team built sand bags (called Hesco Bastions) around the bomb and used plastic explosives to detonate.
Discovered at 4pm by a digger, the Bastions were constructed and the German bomb was exploded 18 hours later.
29 EOD Group, who answered this request, head the whole bomb disposal and counter-IED effort in the UK.
This area was heavily bombed during the war, and this is the third bomb found in recent months.
The bomb disposal teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. This is part of Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA). Bomb disposal call-outs are led by police, with military specialists from the Army or Navy in tow.
MACA requests fall into four categories: environmental (floods, wildfires, etc); strikes; terrorism and bomb disposal. These are managed by Standing Joint Command, who can offer specialist military skills to assist emergency services. They respond to everything on UK soil from terrorist attacks and suspicious packages, to 75-year-old bombs at building sites.
This is why Standing Joint Command is in charge of the MACA response against coronavirus.
Due to the pandemic, people are clearing out attics and garden sheds, and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team have seen some interesting call-outs as people uncover old objects.
Corporal Steven Sharp says:
I’m the team commander for a team of 7. We’ll build a structure around the bomb itself and use 300 tonnes of sand, put it into the bastions, and cocoon the device inside to be exploded safely.
Did you know?
- The bomb team includes sniffer dogs and have their own veterinary corps.
- The shortest reaction time is 10 minutes from getting the call to being out of the door.
- The team used to be tri-service, but is now only Army and Navy.
For more information, on Military Aid to Civil Authorities click here, and on Standing Joint Command, here.
Read more on the UK Armed Forces’ support to the government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak here:
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