Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Looking back: Unearthing deadly relic of wartime defences
7:00pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
Trenches were a matter of do or die for soldiers who dug them to shield from enemy attacks during the Second World War.
But engineers digging a trench to lay power cables at Ford Aerodrome, near Arundel, discovered a war relic which had been hidden for decades.
The workmen discovered the end of a 22ft unexploded bomb which had been hidden during the Second World War to fight the Nazis.
During the war it would have detonated if the enemy had invaded, thus making it harder for aircraft to land.
Army bomb disposal experts were called in and a 500-metre exclusion zone was cordoned off.
Nearby industrial units and water board offices were evacuated and Ford Prison chiefs were forced to close some buildings near the site.
A controlled explosion was carried out to make the area safe, led by then Essex-based Royal Engineers bomb squad captain, Lee Jones.
He said: “We have dealt with a number of these pipe bombs over the years in the South East, but as the years go by they are becoming rarer.”
However, the following February, just down the road in Eastbourne, dozens of shells were washed up on a beach.
Passers-by had discovered six shells on Friday, February 2, after they had become exposed due to recent storms and tidal movements at the time.
It turned out a total of 26 unexploded shells had lain hidden since the Second World War.
Royal Navy ordnance specialists were called in and carried out four controlled explosions to make the artillery shells safe.
The operation involved Petty Officer Jess Owen being lowered down the 200ft cliff, near Beachy Head, by coastguard officers in order to deal with the dangerous find.
He moved the 18in shells, which weighed 25lb each, away from the fragile cliffs to the water’s edge, where he buried them in sandbags before detonating them.
Petty Officer Owen said: “There was quite a large explosion with bits of shell, sandbag, rock and sand whizzing everywhere.
“Some chalk from the cliffs was dislodged but it was nothing to cause concern.”
A lucky escape considering the large chunk of Dover cliffs that fell just the week before.
ON THIS DAY
1939: The Wizard of Oz premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California.
1947: India gains Independence from the British Indian Empire and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.
1952: A flash flood drenches the town of Lynmouth, England, UK, killing 34 people.
1963: Exectuion of Henry John Burnett, the last man to be hanged in Scotland, UK.
1965: The Beatles play to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York, New York, an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.
1971: Bahrain gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- VIDEO: Police helicopter captures hardy Brightonians braving sub-zero tempratures
- Nottinghamshire burglar wanted by police thought to be in Brighton and Hove
- Heartbroken brides-to-be slam Chichester fashion designer for "disappearing"
- Horsham chef through to MasterChef: the Professionals final week
- Hundreds lap up Christmas carol concert cheer in Hove
Comments are closed on this article.