Police officers who helped remove unexploded bomb from King George V Dock given bravery awards
PUBLISHED: 13:41 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 19 July 2018
Two police officers who helped safely remove an unexploded bomb from the King George V Dock have been recognised for their bravery.
Pc Nigel Murray and Pc Peter Sandell, attached to the Marine Policing Unit, received a commissioner’s commendation for their part in the incident.
The pair were on duty on the evening of Sunday, February 11 when a 500kg Second World War bomb was found in the dock.
A major incident was declared, resulting in the closure of nearby London City Airport and properties within a 214m exclusion zone evacuated.
The bomb could not be recovered until the following day, when the Royal Navy raised it from the dock floor and took it down the Thames to Shoeburyness, where it could be safely detonated.
Pcs Murray and Sandell were involved in planning the route along the river and out to sea and drove the police boat which escorted the Navy’s vessel throughout.
It proved a challenging task as the bomb could not be taken at a speed of faster than four knots, meaning it would take at least eight hours to travel around 40 miles.
A rolling 250m cordon was put in place for public safety, and the Dartford Crossing and Channel Tunnel were also temporarily closed.
Pc Murray said: “It was a very tricky operation, with freezing conditions and rough waters, and Peter and I just did what we could to help and keep things running smoothly.
“By the time we clocked off, we had been on duty for around 36 hours non-stop.”
He added that he was “not expecting” the award and called it a “real honour”.
Both officers are due to retire from the Met later this year, having first met as trainees in the 70s.
They were praised by Chief Supt Craig Haslam, who said: “Pcs Murray and Sandell played an important role in this delicate, challenging operation, and showed initiative, dedication and know-how in ensuring that the ordnance was taken out to sea safely.
“Both Nigel and Pete are approaching 40 years’ service for the Met having joined a month apart, and even with this length of service behind them, they are still engaged with frontline policing protecting Londoners on the River Thames.
“They are a remarkable pair of officers, and these commendations are well deserved.”