Canadian EOD Divers Clear WWII UXO from Sunken Vessels

Conception Bay, Canada

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Army Museum Makes an Unusual UXO Discover Amid Artifacts

Fort Belvoir, Virgina The 55th Ordnance Company (EOD) has received calls from museums before, but they are usually to verify that Civil War relics such as cannonballs or WWII shells are inert and safe to display. Recently, however, Staff Sgt. Robert Torbush received a different type of "UXO" call when he was alerted by Fort Belvoir Fire and Emergency Services about an explosive threat found in the Army Museum Support Center, which works with the new Museum of the U.S. Army located on the installation.

"The call was initially reported to me as a vial of picric acid, which is a sensitive explosive that, when dried, becomes quite unstable," Torbush said. The fire department cleared the building, and Torbush entered using a bomb suit. What he found was a WWI-era amber glass jar with gauze inside, soaked in an acid which was used to treat burns at that time.

"When it sits for that long, it has a tendency to form unstable salts," Torbush said. "That made it hazardous to even open the jar, and it was determined that the best course of action was to move it to a safe area. We didn't want to load it into a vehicle, because those explosive salts can be very sensitive."

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Property Owners Struggling With Damage From UXO Response

Exeter, United Kingdom in a follow up to an article we posted back in February regarding the controlled detonation of a 1,000 kg German WWII era bomb discovered during construction on a private lot west of the University of Exeter, property owners are reportedly still dealing with the aftermath including damage to houses and vehicles.

Approximately 2,600 properties were evacuated, including 1,400 students from university as an UK Army EOD team conducted a disposal operation on the bomb that was deemed too hazardous to move. Despite hundreds of tons of sand and a special structure being built to contain the blast, many buildings nearby were badly damaged as shrapnel was sent flying into nearby homes. Many residents and buildings on the university sustained damage including some buildings with major structural damage.

Residents frustrated over the damage including who was responsible for covering the costs turned to Mr. Ben Bradshaw, a member of parliament (MP) who represents the people of Exeter. Specifically, the property owners were trying to sort out conflicting information on whether liability for damage was the responsibility of the property developer, the Defence Department, the Home Office*, or individual insurance companies.

Mr. Bradshaw began his inquires by writing letters to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Home Secretary. The letters stated in part, "The Secretary of State for Defence initially told me that he believed liabilities from the incident might fall to the developer of the site. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) briefing that I have been sent states that 'liability for damage caused by EOD intervention typically falls to the Home Office'. However, residents whose properties and vehicles have been damaged have been instructed to approach their insurance companies." The letter went on to state, "It has emerged that some residents have been told by their insurers to contact the Home Office instead."

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EOD Heritage Museum Coming Soon

Funds are now being raised to support the creation of an EOD Heritage Museum. The museum will be located on the property of the Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Florida. The museum will be in a newly built Quonset style building that offers 2,000 square feet of space to tell the amazing story of Explosive Ordnance Disposal. The museum will be open to the public with access outside of Eglin AFB.

The unique story of EOD dates back to its inception in 1941 to the present. There will be static displays, interactive storyboards and artifacts.

For many years, the conversation about having a historical museum that captures our history has been a topic discussed at various gatherings. Now the dream is ready to become a reality, but support is needed.

The building maintenance/upkeep are a donation, but the interior set up and design will come with a cost. Creators are truly looking forward to creating a place where they can tell the story of EOD in a personal way through a variety of display cases that hold artifacts, interactive holograms with headsets and more.

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Munition Found Near Road

Lakewood, New Mexico Authorities responded to a munition off of Lake Road. New Mexico State Police Bomb Squad responded with additional technical assistance provided by an EOD team from Fort Bliss.

EOD determined the device was inert and relocated to Fort Bliss for proper disposal. Authorities are unsure how the ordnance ended up off the road.

Munition Forces Beach Closure

Angus, United Kingdom Army EOD was called to Easthaven beach in Angus following the discovery of a rust-encrusted suspicious item was discovered in the sand. Coast Guard teams secured the scene while awaiting the team's arrival.

A statement from the Coast Guard read in part, "The beach was closed off to ensure everyone was kept safe and the team waited for EOD to arrive. Once EOD arrived, they checked the item and confirmed that it was indeed ordnance. It was therefore decided that the item needed to be detonated using a controlled explosion."

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Armor-Piercing Shell Removed from UK Beach

Chalkwell, United Kingdom Southend Coast Guard were called in to investigate reports of suspected ordnance on Chalkwell beach shortly after Army EOD removed other ordnance from the area. The munition had been covered by the incoming tide, prompting the Coast Guard's return the next day.

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Suspect Ordnance Found On Beach

Lyme, United Kingdom the Lyme Regis Coast Guard Rescue Team (CRT) was called to the beach in Pinhay Bay after reports of suspect ordnance. However, by the time the response team arrived, the suspect item was underwater due to the tide.

The team setup a caution area and responded the following morning during low tide. When the object in question was investigated, the CRT coordinated with Royal Navy EOD to identify the item. EOD concluded that the object was an underwater drone used to locate mines.

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Live WWII Era Sea Mine Recovered

Wemyss Bay, Scotland the crew of a Marine Scotland research boat found got a surprise from the sea when they pulled up an old sea mine. The crew notified Cost Guard who responded to the vessel. Pictures were sent to the Royal Navy EOD team for review.

EOD identified the sea mine as a WWII era German mine that appeared to be live. EOD responded to the vessel as the seven crew members were evacuated by lifeboat before their vessel was sailed to Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute.

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Recreational Area Opened After UXO Removal Action

Lord Howe Island, Australia The Elizabeth Reef Recreational Use Zone of the Lord Howe Marine Park (Commonwealth waters) has been re-opened to marine park users, following a UXO removal action conducted by the Royal Australian Navy. The recreational area was closed last spring after UXO was found by recreational divers.

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