Royal Navy

Royal Navy bomb disposal team remove Second World War device in River Thames


Royal Navy bomb disposal experts who worked alongside the Metropolitan Police have safely removed a Second World War device found in the River Thames.

The 500kg ordnance was discovered in the George V Dock during pre-planned work at London City Airport on Sunday morning (Sun 11 Feb 18). The device has been examined by Metropolitan Police and Royal Navy diver teams and was confirmed as being a 500kg tapered end shell measuring approximately 1.5m.

The Royal Navy’s team of expert bomb disposal divers, from Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2, who are on permanent standby to deal with unexploded ordnance were first on the scene.

Lieutenant Commander Jonny Campbell, the officer in charge of Southern Diving Unit 2, said:

“Our priority is safety to life which is why the airport has been closed as a precautionary measure.

“We are taking the necessary steps to ensure the device is as safe as possible before we remove it from the sea bed and tow it away to a safe disposal site.”


Flights resumed early on Tuesday, with a British Airways flight from Rotterdam landing at 6.42am and a BA flight to Geneva departing at 6.56am.

The bomb, which was lodged in silt about 11 metres underwater, was removed to the centre of the dock at about 6pm last night.

It then continued its journey away from the airport before midnight as tides rose.

It was escorted by the Port of London Authority, with boats at the front and back to ensure no danger to other river traffic. Road bridges were closed as the convoy passed by.