On the 12th February the expansion of London City Airport hit an obstacle, quite literally. The obstacle in question was an unexploded 500kg World War Two bomb.

Major extension works are underway at the Newham airport. The unexploded bomb was found lying in silt beneath 15m of George V dock water.

The airport was immediately shut down whilst further investigations were carried out. Reports suggest some 16,000 passengers have been adversely affected as a result of cancelled or rerouted flights.

The Royal Navy said the bomb would be exploded underwater overnight and the airport should reopen on Tuesday.

Uxb london airport
London city airport from the east with george v dock immediately south of the runway

The Blitz of the Royal Docks

In September 1940, the Royal Docks were subjected to a concentrated strategic aerial bombing campaign, one of the first of its kind ever witnessed.

Thousands of tonnes of Luftwaffe bombs were dropped on the docks and some of them did not detonate on impact with the water. Furthermore, no effort would have been made to recover these UXBs at the time. Consequently, this won’t be the last time German UXO is encountered in the area.

500kg unexploded bomb
Two german 500kg bombs about to be loaded onto a ju 87 during wwii

Recent 500kg unexploded bomb finds in the UK

The last time a German 500kg bomb was found underwater was during Portsmouth harbour dredging works in September 2017. Another WWII unexploded bomb of the same weight was encountered in 2016, buried just 1 metre beneath a disused playground at a junior school in Bath.

Mitigating UXO Risks

At Brimstone, we navigate the risks of unexploded ordnance in conjunction with our clients, who are working to clear sites before they begin the groundworks of their project. We also have an excellent track record for bomb disposal, across large projects and individual demolitions. If you require UXO support on your upcoming project, get in touch.

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