BRANCASTER: Bomb Squad called as children find a ‘mine’
Schoolchildren who stumbled on a suspected wartime mine at Brancaster wasted no time helping to raise the alarm.
National Trust Learning Officer Rob Jones, who was accompanying the youngsters on a beach litter-pick, said: “They took great delight in shouting ‘It’s a bomb’ to their friends. They thought it was the best thing ever.”
At first sight, he thought the large metal ball was a rusty mooring buoy but said: “When I saw rusty fittings sticking out it suddenly looked very much like a mine.”
He instructed the children to keep clear. Coastal Ranger Keith Miller called the coastguard and took on the nerve-racking task of standing watch to prevent anyone getting too close.
Two coastguards arrived, adding to the excitement of the children who mistook them for policemen and hoped they were going to explode the device.
They cordoned it off and Mr Jones said: “There were a few tense moments when they were hammering in the posts.”
The coastguards also took photographs to help identify the object but bomb experts remained mystified and a Royal Navy bomb disposal team from Portsmouth arrived to investigate the next day.
Mr Jones said: “After careful study they found it was a compressed air container for powering a World War II torpedo. They likened it to a giant hollow ball.”
There was another heart-stopping moment for the onlookers when a member of the team, having decided it was harmless, hit the object with a spade to remove some of the outer crust.
Mr Miller was left with the weighty task of manhandling the metre-wide metal globe into his van and taking it away. “You could just lift it as one person,” he said.
He is now waiting to see if a historical group would be interested in acquiring it or whether it could be put on display.
Finding the “bomb” was the instant highlight of an action-packed week at the Trust’s Brancaster Millennium Activity Centre for the children from Carbrooke Primary School near Watton. Mr Jones said: “I think it will be a lifetime memory for them.”
The youngsters also managed to collect several bags of litter, which disappointingly included many plastic stoppers and strings from balloons advertising a fast food chain.
“The balloons are biodegradable but the strings are not,” he said.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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