Friday, 13 May 2016

UXB


If you need to go up Lansdown Hill in Bath today, forget it. The road's closed until further notice.

They were doing some work to a former girl's school half way up, when they discovered a 500 pound bomb under the playground which has been there for 70 years. There could have been a nasty skipping accident!

They know that there is an unexploded 1000 pound bomb in the river Avon, very near the bus terminal, but so far they have not been able to locate it. A man saw it fall in the river one night of the two-night bombing raids in WW2, and waited for the bang which never came. It must have made a big splash though.

The Lansdown 500 pounder is to be (gingerly) removed to a safer place and destroyed in a controlled explosion. They spent most of last night surrounding it with 250 tons of sand, just in case it decided to get stroppy, having been woken up from its 70 year sleep.

Over 1000 local residents spent last night in two marquees - the ones who were below the bomb went to the Recreation ground, and the ones above went to the Lansdown race course. Rugby versus horse racing.

During the war itself, unexploded bombs had their fuses removed using hydraulic automated spanners, then the explosive was steamed out using a giant kettle, forming a sticky and acidic mess which  - although unpleasant - was relatively harmless until it re-solidified. It could just be burned away.

I would imagine that the fuse will be a bit rusted-in by now, so I for one wouldn't like to take a hammer to the spanner to free it up. Sometimes, the Germans would deliberately drop a bomb which had a delayed fuse in it so the the Disposal teams would get caught out when trying to defuse it.

Sometimes they booby-trapped the fuses, and sometimes they made the threads on them go the wrong way so they were tightened when you thought you were unscrewing them. The experienced teams would spend a long time examining the UXB before actually doing anything, and the fact that they were still alive meant that they were experienced.

Notice how the bloke in the picture above has not bothered to don any protective gear. What would be the point?

I'm going to have to spend the rest of the day with my fingers in my ears.

24 comments:

  1. An WW2 bomb was detonated by accident in Rotherham town cenre last year, demolishing much of the shopping centre
    It caused 32 £ worth of damage

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    1. Sounds like a good way of dealing with Rotheram 2 years ago. I hope the Police and Social Services buildings went up in smoke.

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  2. Amazing how long some of those bombs lie undiscovered before some chance bit of digging or nosing around exposes them. At least there are no minefields in Britain riddled with unexploded mines.

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    1. That's because we kept maps, unlike some other countries.

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  3. Is no update news good news?

    Hope so.

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    1. It's still there, but I have heard no loud noises, which is good news.

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    2. Good to know, from Relieved in New York.

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    3. I would like to say you are safe over there, but I saw the Twin Towers go down.

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  4. Whose insurance covers the damage if the neighborhood blows up?

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    1. Good question. I believe that Germany has only just finished paying for reparations for WW1, but I don't know how their liabilities stand for WW2. I think that the UK has only just finished paying back the USA for WW2 expenses, so I don't know it we have any underwriter for loose ends any more, now that the dollar has collapsed. Germany still hasn't recovered from the unification of East and West, and Russia is under a blockade. The blockade has all but been lifted from Cuba, but the UAE has run out of revenue.

      It's a mess.

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  5. Worried, that you might be in grave danger (we just can't lose you), I mapgoogled the whole thing and read up on it.

    Here is what I learned about the evacuation from the internet: "Harriet Gillingham, 20, a student at Oxford Brookes University, spent the night at a friend's house with her four-year-old cockerpoo dog named Pepper."

    I just thought that was a riot. And now I am worried about Pepper.

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    1. 'Cockerpoo'? Sounds like a Trelawnyd dog.

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  6. There was a wonderful BBC TV series, "Danger, UXB" back in the early 80's I enjoyed, I've tried to find in on line with no success.
    So many countries, the UK, Europe, Africa have unexploded ordinance, mostly thanks to the US. And Vietnam, my own war contributes hundreds yearly to the list of deaths.

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    1. It made me think of that programme too. It was excellent. Trying to remember the main actor…..I think Andrews was the surname?

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    2. PS. Anthony Andrews…..it came to me just as I clicked on publish!

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    3. I didn't see any of those. I did have a WW2 bomb disposal manual when I was a kid, though. I believe I could have defused any bomb from that era at the time, but it's probably good I didn't have to be put to the test.

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    4. Judy Geeson was in it too. ITV, Danger UXB, well represented on You Tube over here.

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  7. Surely someone must have realised that the original hole was made by something dropped from the sky, yet it remained there untouched all these years. Odd. I hear it's now been dealt with; you can unblock your ears.

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    1. Don't forget that it was one of many bombs to land in that small area, so there would have been - and was - a lot of rubble lying around. My friend owns one of the houses 200 feet away which had to be rebuilt. Yes, they took it to Slough and blew it up there.

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  8. You can come out from under the bed now ...the bomb has been defused.

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  9. But you already knew that didn't you......

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    1. Yes, I knew about it last night. I expect they secretly drove it away in an unmarked truck - with very good suspension...

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