14th August 2013

Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood

Guernsey’s Bluebell Wood, between Fort George and Fermain Bay, is often a place of quiet contemplation; particularly in spring and summer. In August 2013, though, it was anything but.

Guernsey Police found a Second World War bomb buried there while on a training exercise. Although it had lain undiscovered for 70 years without causing any harm, it couldn’t be left there any longer once it was known about.

A plan for its disposal was immediately formulated, requiring that it be carefully dug out, then transported via Fort George to Fermain. Once it had reached Fermain Bay it would be taken out to sea to be safely detonated. Anyone living within 300m of the route was asked to evacuate their homes in advance of the operation swinging into action. In the meantime, local bomb disposal experts called in the Royal Navy for assistance.

This 300m exclusion zone applied in all directions, meaning aircraft could not pass within 300m of it, either. As a result, its removal and destruction caused disruption to flights approaching Guernsey Airport.

Allied munitions

An initial inspection of the bomb suggested that it was a Canadian weapon that had been used in a raid on four German radar positions at Fort George. It had failed to either hit its intended target or detonate on impact.

However, further examination showed it to actually be a British sea mine. This would have been dropped from an aircraft and only detonated when it found and struck its target. The fact that it landed on dry land, rather than in the sea, and therefore never found a boat or submarine to destroy may well explain why it remained in tact.

The 12ft bomb was detonated underwater four days after it had been discovered, thus doing more or less what it had been designed to do, seven decades later than intended. A short video of its detonation was posted to YouTube.


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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st