Navy Bomb Disposal Team Detonates WWII Device

The 987kg German Second World War explosive was found in the wreck of a 17th-century warship.

The mine was towed to the disposal site at Shoeburyness for detonation (Picture: Royal Navy).

The Royal Navy has destroyed a Second World War device found in the wreck of a 17th-century warship.

Weighing nearly one thousand kilos, the German parachute ground mine was one of the biggest bombs used by the Luftwaffe during the war.

Navy bomb disposal experts from dive team, Southern Diving Unit Two, took on the six-day operation to dispose of the bomb, which involved the device being towed to sea in order to be safely detonated.

Team leader Lieutenant Ben Brown said: "The complexity of this task should not be underestimated.

"Dealing with one of the largest pieces of German Second World War ordnance in the Thames Estuary presents some of the most challenging diving conditions there are to work in."

The disposal operation took the team more than six days to complete (Picture: Royal Navy).

The mine was found by civilians on an archeological dive, exploring the 350-year-old protected shipwreck of 'London' near Southend Pier in Essex.

Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit Two completed around 20 dives throughout the task.

Lieutenant Brown believes the mine was most likely dropped during the war by the Germans "to target one of the numerous docks in the Thames Estuary".

The parachute mine contained a main charge of 697kg of Hexamite, equivalent to 767kg of TNT - the police and coastguard also involved in the disposal.