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Blast from the past at Cliffe Quarry

Blast at Cliffe Quarry

Ordnance disposal team uses Brett Aggregates site for safe detonation of unexploded WWII bomb

BRETT Aggregates’ Cliffe Quarry, in Kent, found itself at the centre of a major operation on 25 March when army bomb disposal experts used the site for the safe detonation of an unexploded World War II bomb that had been unearthed in Bermondsey, south London, a couple of days earlier.

The 250kg bomb, which had been dropped by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz in 1941, was discovered by workmen on a building site in a highly populated area of Southwark and was said to pose significant risk to life, resulting in the emergency evacuation of around 1,200 local residents.

The army ordnance disposal team brought in to manage the situation concluded it would be best to defuse the bomb in situ before moving it to a place where it could be destroyed without risk to life or property.

Nick Brabyn, area operations manager at Brett Aggregates, said: ‘The army bomb disposal group have been to our Cliffe site previously to dispose of marine-dredged items, so they know our facilities and the security of the site well.

‘Chargehands Keith Tupper, Tony Payne and John Snazle did a great job in preparing the site for the bomb’s arrival and informing local residents that the army would be detonating the device.’

Loaded into a steel container and covered with tonnes of sand, the bomb was taken by road to Brett’s Cliffe site under Metropolitan Police escort and detonated in controlled explosion that could be heard more than 10 miles away.

Warrant Officer John Lester of 11 EOD Regiment RLC, who led the bomb-disposal team, commented: ‘The support that Brett Aggregates provided during the disposal of the bomb was invaluable. The safe disposal of unexploded munitions is a complex task with many aspects that have to be managed to the finest detail.’

Nick Brabyn added: ‘We were pleased to have been able to help bring this dangerous situation to a safe and satisfactory conclusion.’

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