News

Fawkes for good as RN divers deal with bomb near Parliament
20 January 2017

Navy bomb disposal experts safely blew up a wartime explosive scooped up by a dredger just yards from Parliament.

The divers moved the 50kg bomb more than 25 miles down the Thames before detonating it near Tilbury.

THIS is the legacy of the Blitz which brought the capital to a standstill overnight – until Navy divers blew it up.

Dredgers hauled up this Luftwaffe bomb yesterday evening just a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament.

It took all night – and the experience and expertise of the RN’s Southern Diving Unit 2 in Portsmouth – to shift the explosive safely down the river to Tilbury, where it was blown up just before dawn, bringing an 11-hour operation to an end.

“It was a long night for me and the team but this is exactly what we are trained for so it was a successful operation, although it was a little surreal carrying out our job right next to the Parliament,” said Lt Mike St Pierre, the officer who led the bomb disposal team on scene.

“The bomb itself was in good condition considering how old it was, and it clearly still presented a danger. We removed it from the barge and towed it along the Thames, working very closely with the Met Police to safely close off bridges as we went, until we were sure we could detonate it safely.”

Some iconic Thames crossings – including Waterloo and Westminster bridges – were temporarily closed to traffic before the bomb reached its destination… and then oblivion.

It was identified as a SD 50kg cluster bomb, typically carried by Me109 fighter-bombers to wreak havoc among ground troops.