World War II bombs wash up on Essex beach

Ceri Roberts

Controlled explosions have been carried out on a number of World War Two explosives which washed up on the beach at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex in the recent storms.

BBC News reports that experts from The Royal Navy identified the explosives as anti-aircraft shells, and carried out a controlled explosion at 9.45am yesterday.

Thames Coastguard said that the shells, which were corroded but still live, were found in low water at Ray Gut Channel, about 800m away from Westcliff seafront. They were spotted on Sunday morning by a man who was walking on the beach.

Echo News reports that there were seven devices in total. The surrounding area was cleared, before the Southern Diving Unit's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team detonated the devices on the shoreline.

A statement from the coastguard said: "It was down to the recent tidal action and prevailing weather. Now and again these things do get uncovered."

In fact, there was a similar incident just a week ago, when bomb disposal experts detonated mortar shells which had been washed up on the Suffolk coast.

The suspected artillery shell found on the beach at Bacton. Picture: Kurtis Gale
The suspected artillery shell found on the beach at Bacton. Picture: Kurtis Gale

The Ipswich Star reports that members of the public found six shells on the beach between Dunwich and Walberswick. Again, they had been exposed by rough sea conditions.

It's not just coastal areas that have been affected, either.

The Lancashire Telegraph reports that a walker found a 'two-inch high explosive' mortar while walking on Pendle Hill, Sabden, on Saturday.

The unexploded ordinance, believed to date from the 1940s, was then safely detonated by Royal Logistics Corps bomb experts.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson told the Lancashire Telegraph: "I would call on the police and mountain rescue teams to work together to search the area to make sure that no other devices have been unearthed by the bad weather."

However, not all suspected devices turn out to be live explosives. Yesterday EDP24 reported that Bacton beach in Norfolk had reopened after an object, believed to be an unexploded artillery shell, was identified as a piece of scrap metal.

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