Royal Navy bomb disposal experts detonated an unexploded Second World War bomb today after it was dredged up from the bottom of Portsmouth Harbour.
The German SC250 bomb was found in the early hours of Wednesday 22nd February in the excavator head of a barge dredging the harbour — part of a series of infrastructure upgrades taking place in preparation for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s new 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.
Divers from the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 towed the bomb away from the harbour, lowered it to the seabed, and planted explosive charges for a controlled detonation of the device. Shortly after 11:00am, it was destroyed in a plume of smoke and spray.
The entrance to Portsmouth Harbour was closed until around 7:30am as a precaution while the bomb disposal team assessed the swiftest and safest way of removing the device. Some transport services were temporarily suspended, including Gosport Ferry and WightLink services, and Gunwharf Quays was momentarily closed.
This type of Second World War German SC250 bomb weighs 500lbs and contains 290lbs of high explosives.
Millions of pounds have been spent on works to prepare Portsmouth Naval Base to accommodate the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
Dredging operations are underway to deepen the main channel used by waterborne craft in Portsmouth by one metre. New power facilities are also being built, navigational aids installed, and jetties upgraded to take the carriers alongside.
Video and images provided by the Royal Navy Media Archive.