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