Bombs Building Sandcastles

10 Feb

No…………Body………..Move or sneeze or burp or

Well, dear reader, it’s been an interesting few days. Just up the road from my new abode they are constructing a third river crossing, it’s been thirty years in discussion, three years in building and should be operational by May this year – providing they are no more snaffoo like this week.

Tuesday morning a little left-over from 1942 was dredged up from the river beside the construction area. A one meter long, 250lb bomb, that for the past 81 years has napped through thunderstorms, heavy vibrating ships and boats slowly trundling over it, the rumbling of lorries and vehicles along the road beside it, even the pile driving of the river wall strengthening and outer harbour construction, not to mention the seismic waves when the nearby power station chimneys were demolished.

Police closed roads and began evacuating homes and businesses, placing a 100m cordon around the area. After the Bomb Squad arrived they extended the cordon to mandatory evacuation up to 200m and voluntary but strongly advised 400m zones. This included a small dementia home, who have stayed put but have their minibus and trailer packed with kit and essentials should it become necessary.

The local newspaper has been keeping a ‘live update’ page going throughout the day, giving much needed info such as where evacuation centres are, which roads are closed, the consequential congestion (at one time traffic was moving at the heady speed of a whole two miles per hour!). As well as some typical local media style reporting, like, “Warnings that car windows and camera lenses could crack if….” Proper Pulitzer stuff!

It was decided that a 400 ton sand house would be built around Berty Bomb before any attempts to defuse it could begin. Now 400 ton isn’t a couple of lorry loads and most of Wednesday was taken with getting the sand in place. It looks like sand was compacted into large bags that were then placed, brick like, immediately around the bomb, then a second wall built around that. Then a ceiling of sand was added. A walkway barely wide enough for a beefy bloke or robot to fit through snaked between the sand walls.

All was progressing well until …… “I say chaps, has anyone checked utility maps” slightly blank faces.

“Bally eck, there are gas pipelines under the road!!”

No doubt tea was brewed as tools were downed and a clutch of technicals got their calculators out and recalibrated their thoughts.

Of course, I’m paraphrasing and making light, but how come it hadn’t occurred sooner.

The plan seems to be, after the sand has settled, to send in Robo to start cutting into the bomb, to defuse the detonation circuits and make it ‘safe’, for it then to be taken out to sea, strapped to a better bomb, sunk and then detonated.

Another hold up, water is getting into the area and compromising the sand walls – we’ve all been there with our beach sandcastles. Repairs are needed before Robo can continue his delicate cutting. It seemed the cutting equipment was causing the water build up, so another stoppage and brew up to decide on another option to defuse. The slow burn was the only option left.

And then ………….

Berty unexpectedly went boom.

Thankfully all personnel working the area are unharmed and accounted for. It seems no property or vehicles have been damaged either. Where I am (under half a mile if the crow flies straight) it rattled the newly installed fire doors and echoed through the corridor but the earth didn’t move.


Posted by on February 10, 2023 in In The News, Uncategorized


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7 responses to “Bombs Building Sandcastles

  1. daryan12

    February 12, 2023 at 4:23 am

    I recall visiting Ypres and every year they still dig up shells from world war 1 each year. They call it the iron harvest. They leave the shells by the side of the road and the bomb disposal guys come along and pick them up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AnneMarie

      February 12, 2023 at 12:11 pm

      Amazing isn’t it, that all these years later these items are still found. I recall reading about all kinds of armoury being unearthed across France and Belgium.

      The police released a video of the “unplanned detonation” by heck the force! So thankful that no one was injured.


      • daryan12

        February 12, 2023 at 1:41 pm

        The worst of them is that during the war they dug mines under each other’s trenches and filled them with tons explosives. There’s believed to be a couple of unexploded mines still unaccounted for. A decade or two ago a lightening strike in Belgium set one off and blow open a massive crater! Fortunately nobody was around at the time. Then there’s the sunk munitions ship in the Thames with several thousand tons of of WW2 bombs on board.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AnneMarie

        February 12, 2023 at 1:53 pm

        Wasn’t there a recent bunker of explosives from WW2 that exploded, maybe that’s the one.

        Yes, the SS Montgomery, I believe there are discussions about how to manage that. Scary, hope there are no thunderstorms due soon, or another summer of baking heat.


  2. Jill

    February 12, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    Thank goodness its all over and no-one was hurt

    Liked by 1 person

  3. snowbird

    February 13, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    Struth! What a wonderful, exciting read. I saw that on the news, had no idea you were so close to it. Loved the ending!xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • AnneMarie

      February 13, 2023 at 6:06 pm

      The highlight for me was the police saying “unexpected detonation” 😂 oh, you mean it went boom, who’d a thunk it of a bomb 🤣.

      We’ve been extremely lucky that no one was injured, so it feels safe to make light of it. Also makes you wonder how many more are lurking as over 2,000 were dropped on the town.



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