Housing

Danger UXB The Grange in Bermondsey- evacuation, exclusion zone- echoes of the Blitz

Unexploded WWII bomb up close uncovered at the Grange, Bermondsey. Image: British Army photograph Rupert Frere

Unexploded WWII bomb up close uncovered at the Grange, Bermondsey. Image: British Army photograph Rupert Frere

A huge army bomb disposal operation has taken place over two days to make safe and remove a 450 kilogram bomb from the Second World War blitz that was uncovered during building work.

A two hundred metre exclusion zone was put in place with residents advised to evacuate as their lives would have been at risk in any explosion.

Southwark Council says 61 people have been accommodated at the Seven Islands Leisure Centre and eight at the library.

Refreshments were being provided along with newspapers, TVs, magazines, colouring books.

The incident began Monday morning.

The British army hoped to be in a position to make safe and remove the bomb by Wednesday evening and at 6.17 pm the local LibDem councillor Ben Johnson announced that the bomb had been defused, was gone, the cordon lifted and people could return to their homes.

He tweeted: ‘The bomb has gone! Cordon lifted – everyone can return home.’

After being placed onto a military vehicle, the device- believed to have been dropped on London by the Luftwaffe- began a journey escorted by the army and the police to a military leased quarry in Kent where it will be detonated safely.

Chief Superintendent Zander Gibson, Borough commander for Southwark, said:

We are working with Southwark Council, and other partner agencies to ensure the disruption for local people is kept to a minimum, but unfortunately some disruption is unavoidable when dealing with an incident such as this.

As soon as the bomb has been made safe by our colleagues in the Army we will do what we can to tell people it is safe to go home. Please check our website for updates at http://www.met.police.uk. Southwark Council are also running a helpline on 020 7525 0593 as well as providing updates on their website via http://www.southwark.gov.uk

 

Update Wednesday 25/3/2015

The British Army successfully destroyed the bomb at a quarry in Kent and the potential for death and devastation that so worried the authorities was evident in this image of the controlled detonation.

The British Army destroying the WWII bomb they made safe and removed from the Grange, Bermondsey. Image: @BritishArmy

The British Army destroying the WWII bomb they made safe and removed from the Grange, Bermondsey. Image: @BritishArmy

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Simon Hughes told the London Evening Standard that he hoped there would be a ‘clear plan’ for future incidents of this kind.

The Liberal Democrat MP said lessons must be learned; particularly about the earlier evacuation of hundreds of residents who had been contacted overnight when the 200 metre exclusion zone was needed.

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