Saturday, August 15, 2015

The bombs beneath us: Unexploded ordnance linger long after wars are over

Military explosive ordnance disposal experts examine an unexploded 500-pound World War II bomb discovered at a building site in Bethnal Green, London, on Aug. 10. (Sgt. Ross Tilly/Ministry of Defense via Reuters)

By Sarah Kaplan and Nick Kirkpatrick August 13, WashPost

The knock came after residents of the east London apartment complex had already gone to bed. They opened their doors to find someone in uniform standing before them: a police officer, a firefighter, a member of the army.

A 500-pound bomb had been found a few hundred feet away, the officers said. They needed to get out.

It’s an alarming message for anyone to receive while standing in their pajamas, but especially so for someone in a city that hasn’t seen active conflict in seven decades. How did an explosive wind up beneath this leafy London neighborhood?

It was probably dropped by a German bomber during the blitz of British cities at the beginning of World War II. Unlike most of the other bombs dropped during the attack, this one didn’t explode and instead sunk deep into the London clay, where it lay dormant for 70 years.

(More here.)

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