‘It’s pretty grim’: Diver who discovered unexploded bomb in Royal Docks shares story in new video

PUBLISHED: 16:00 26 September 2018

Met Police divers recovering unexploded half-tonne wartime German bomb from the Royal Docks. Picture source: Met Police

Met Police divers recovering unexploded half-tonne wartime German bomb from the Royal Docks. Picture source: Met Police


The discovery and removal of an unexploded bomb in the Royal Docks has been explored as part of a new behind-the-scenes video.

CGI of how London City Airport will look after the expansion. Picture: LCYCGI of how London City Airport will look after the expansion. Picture: LCY

The five minute clip, released by London City Airport, explains how divers have been checking more than 400 sites on the dock bed for unexploded ordnance ahead of the airport’s expansion.

Disposal diver Tom Fountain, who discovered the 500kg German bomb in February this year, gave a candid account of the experience.

“The environment in King George V Dock is pretty grim, I’m not going to lie,” he said.

“It’s not like diving in the Caribbean. It’s pretty dark and muddy.

“I’ve been here since November and some of the dives we did were two, two and half, hours. It was cold. Minus 4 cold. Damp.”

That bomb caused the airport to be closed and a 214m cordon put in place while the Royal Navy transported it to Shoeburyness for detonation.

But most of the items found were not dangerous, such as discovery of Second World War shell casings which is revealed for the first time in the video.

The vast majority of the 400 sites checked by the divers and surveyors were found to be benign, and there are just 38 left to check. The aim is to complete the survey by November.

Checking the docks for war ordnance is essential to allow the safe installation of 1,100 steel and concrete columns.

These will support a concrete deck the size of 11 football pitches, on top of which will stand new terminal facilities, eight aircraft stands and a parallel taxiway.

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said: “This has been a mammoth survey - the largest inshore diving project in the country, on the doorstep of London’s most central airport - requiring world-class skill and patience.

“We are now entering its final stages and this video helps convey the huge complexities involved and the hidden history uncovered in the docks.

“The survey’s success is intrinsic to the development construction phase, which is underway, meaning we can get on with building an even better airport for Londoners and visitors to our great city.”

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