A World War II bomb prompted an evacuation in England before being taken to sea to be blown up

An unexploded World War II bomb has been safely transported through the eerily empty streets of the southwestern English port city of Plymouth

LONDON — An unexploded World War II bomb was safely transported through the eerily empty streets of the southwestern English port city of Plymouth on Friday before being placed on a boat for its next and final journey to sea, where it will be blown up by Navy divers.

After a massive security operation, around 10,000 people were told they could now return home.

“We have been informed by the military that the operation was a success and the bomb has been removed,” Plymouth City Council said. “We can now start removing the cordon so that people who have been evacuated can return to their homes.”

Many ended up in pubs during the evacuation as residents sought safe shelter.

Plymouth, a famous naval port about 240 miles southwest of London, is where the Mayflower set sail in 1620 to transport Pilgrim colonists to America. The city was targeted by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, especially during the Blitz in 1940 and 1941.

During the war, more than 2,500 explosive bombs were dropped on the city, many of which missed their intended target and landed on residential areas. Over the course of the war, more than 1,100 civilians in the city died during air raids.

The bomb, which was found on a residential property on Tuesday, was taken to the slipway of Torpoint Ferry to be dumped at sea behind the breakwater. According to the British Ministry of Defense, the bomb weighs around 500 kilograms and will undoubtedly cause a huge explosion when detonated.

The decision to move the bomb was made after an assessment by bomb disposal experts concluded that there would be too great a risk of significant damage, including the destruction of a number of homes, if the device was left in the courtyard would explode.

Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner Phil Williams said moving the bomb was the “least impactful option”.

The main railway line into the city was closed as the convoy traveled through the cordon, while ferries were suspended and buses diverted. Schools and daycare centers also closed to allow for the operation, while all businesses within the cordon were told to evacuate.

Giles Perritt, assistant chief executive of Plymouth City Council, said more than 1,000 staff and officers were involved in the operation to safely remove the bomb. He thanked Army colleagues, especially those “at the wheel.”

Unexploded ordnance has been regularly found in Britain since the end of the Second World War. An estimated 10% of German bombs dropped during the war failed to go off, leaving many towns and cities in Britain littered with dangerous explosives.

When unexploded bombs are found, they are usually detonated on site and do not lead to mass evacuations.

Leave a Comment