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Plymouth bomb: device to be detonated tonight or tomorrow, say police – live


Police: Bomb will be detonated this evening or Saturday morning

Devon and Cornwall Police Superintendent Phil Williams, said the plan is for the bomb to be detonated this evening or tomorrow morning.

Although he added he does not “have all the details” as the military has taken over handling of the device.

Williams said the bomb has now been taken past the breakwater.

It reached the slipway at around 5pm when it was loaded from a military vehicle onto a boat.

Key events

The underwater detonation of a Second World War bomb “might not be as Hollywood” as some spectators imagine, an army officer at the scene said.

Lieutenant Colonel Rob Swan told Sky News those who had gathered to watch the scene unfold “might see a jet of water on the surface” but it depended on the weather and sea conditions.

“Unfortunately it might not be as Hollywood as people would like to imagine,” he said.

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport and the shadow armed forces minister, has paid tribute to the army and emergency services on X.

Thank you, Plymouth. This has been an extraordinary team effort.

I want to pay tribute to all those who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to keep us safe – bomb disposal and additional military personnel, the council, volunteers, the police, the Life Centre and many more. pic.twitter.com/Cbr9U77QyR

— Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) February 23, 2024

Lt Col Rob Swan, who has been leading the bomb disposal team, told the BBC the World War II bomb will be lowered into the sea to about 14 metres down before it is detonated.

He said it would happen “hopefully at some point this evening, or indeed tomorrow depending on the weather conditions”.

The leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Tudor Evans, thanked the armed forces for their bravery in carrying out the operation to remove the unexploded Second World War bomb from a garden and take it out to sea.

He said: “I think it is fair to say that the last few days will go down in history for Plymouth. This war-time bomb has really brought out the war-time spirit, people coming together to really support each other and whilst it has been really tough – we got through it!

I would like to thank the bomb experts for their bravery, putting their lives on the line to remove the WWII bomb from the garden in Keyham, carefully loading it onto a lorry, driving it slowly to the slipway so it could be loaded onto a boat, taking it out to sea so it could be safely detonated. As a naval city, this is a first-class example of why our armed forces are the best in the world.

“I would also to recognise all the other organisations who have demonstrated a stellar performance of community resilience and what it truly means to be a public servant. Hundreds of Council officers joined the small army of organisations that worked hand in hand to support the people of Keyham and keep our city safe.

“And finally – of course I would like to thank the people of Keyham, Ford and Devonport. It has been a rollercoaster of emotion the last few days, and I would like to praise the community for helping the emergency team in evacuating and supporting our effort to protect their home.

“It is a day I will never forget. I am so proud of Plymouth.”

Police: Bomb will be detonated this evening or Saturday morning

Devon and Cornwall Police Superintendent Phil Williams, said the plan is for the bomb to be detonated this evening or tomorrow morning.

Although he added he does not “have all the details” as the military has taken over handling of the device.

Williams said the bomb has now been taken past the breakwater.

It reached the slipway at around 5pm when it was loaded from a military vehicle onto a boat.

Steven Morris

Steven Morris

Usually as the weekend approaches, the streets, shops and pubs around Devonport, the largest naval dockyard in western Europe, hum with life.

But an eerie hush fell on the area on Friday after more than 10,000 people were evacuated from homes and workplaces so that a second-world-war bomb dropped on Plymouth by the Luftwaffe 80 years ago could be extracted from a back garden.

Police cleared parks, ferries stopped running, trains were halted, schools shut and there was a collective holding of breath as a military convoy transported the 500kg bomb – very slowly – through the terraced streets that tumble down to a slipway leading to the River Tamar.

From there, it was being gingerly floated out into Plymouth Sound, past Drake’s Island and the breakwater, to be detonated far away from the city’s streets.

It was a satisfactory conclusion to a difficult few days for the people who live near the back garden in the neighbourhood of Keyham where the bomb was discovered.

“Funny old week really, wasn’t it?” said Cassie Dunton, who works in a motorcycle shop close to the dockyard. “Strange times. You wonder how many more of these bombs are out there waiting to be found. What’s been nice is that everyone has stuck together. It’s a great community here. We look after each other.”

A man said he has gone to Devil’s Point in Plymouth with two friends to try to watch the bomb being taken out to sea and detonated.

Adam told BBC Radio Devon: “Since we came a couple of hours ago, it’s gone quite dark, so it is much, much harder to see.”

Devon and Cornwall Police has confirmed the successful military operation.

Rail services to and from Plymouth have restarted, National Rail has announced on social media, after the bomb was moved into the water.

Police chief superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith wrote on X said: “The bomb has gone to sea!

“Thank you to everyone for your patience and good spirits.”





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