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Divers blow up WW2 mine after 'testing' operation

The mine is safely detonated

27/11/2012

Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have blown up a huge German mine off the Kent coast after a delicate operation to remove it from a dredger. It took seven hours to safely dislodge the wartime device, containing 1,500lbs of high explosive, which was trapped in the teeth of the boat's dredge head.

It was a tiring operation – one of the most testing I have been involved in – but everything went to plan
CPO Ian 'Scouse' Fleming

THIS is the gigantic plume of water and mud thrown up by a huge German mine, safely blown up by Royal Navy bomb disposal experts blew up a huge German mine off the Kent coast after a delicate operation to remove it from a dredger.

The air-dropped ‘GC’ mine, containing 1,500lbs of high explosives, was brought to the surface by the dredger six miles north of Sheerness.

Before carrying out a controlled explosion a four-man Navy team from Southern Diving Unit 2 in Portsmouth had to carefully remove the device from the vessel’s dredge head.

CPO Ian ‘Scouse’ Fleming, who led the team, worked for seven hours through the night in atrocious conditions to safely extract the mine and hoist it onto the dredger’s upper deck.

He said: “I had to crawl along a pipe to reach the mine to attach chains. It was a confined space and waves were splashing all around me. The fuses had been bashed about a bit and were quite dangerous and the explosives were exposed.

"It was a tiring operation – one of the most testing I have been involved in – but everything went to plan.”

Yesterday the WW2 device – which measured two metres long by 50cm diameter – was towed two miles further out to sea and dropped to a depth of about ten metres.

The controlled explosion caused a 76-metre-high (250ft) plume, which was clearly visible from the shore.

Accompanying CPO Fleming on the task were Leading Diver Lewis Watson and AB(Divers) Peter Birse and Josh Spibey.

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