Century old bomb destroyed in controlled explosion at RAF Cranwell airfield

An RAF bomb disposal team from RAF Wittering carried out a controlled explosion on the First World War 16lb bomb on RAF Cranwell airfield this morning.
An RAF bomb disposal team from RAF Wittering carried out a controlled explosion on the First World War 16lb bomb on RAF Cranwell airfield this morning.

A disposal team was called to RAF Cranwell airfield earlier today (Tuesday) after contractors uncovered a First World War bomb.

The device, believed to date from around 1916, was uncovered by contractors during routine works at the historic RAF college airfield.

Contractors discovered the unexploded shell while doing routine work at the airfield.

Contractors discovered the unexploded shell while doing routine work at the airfield.

A Royal Air Force Bomb Disposal Team, based at RAF Wittering, were called to the scene immediately to identofy the device and carry out a controlled explosion.

Deputy Commandant of RAF College Cranwell, Group Captain Gordon Bettington said: “On discovery of the First World War ordnance by contractors working on our airfield this morning, we activated our contingency plans to deal with the incident.”

He said: “I am immensely proud of the response from all our personnel and 5131 (BD) Squadron, which enabled things to swiftly return to normal after the ordnance was made safe. We are now fascinated to learn more about the munition itself and the history of operations from the airfield.”

As a precaution, personnel working in the vicinity were evacuated and a safety cordon put in place. Technicians identified the device as a First World War 16lb high explosive bomb, and carried out a controlled demolition. It would have dated back to the time when the airfield was a Royal Naval Air Station known as HMS Daedalus, prior to the beginning of the RAF.

Warrant Officer Phil Hunt the Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer at 5131 (BD) Squadron said: “This was a First World War bomb and it took a few minutes to identify as it was a most unusual find. Nonetheless, it was a pleasure to be called to the spiritual home of the Royal Air Force in its 100th year and to restore the Station to normal as quickly as we could.”