Tag Archive: Explosive material

Landslide uncovers 1,000 deadly WW2 bombs and rockets

A holiday beach was cordoned off after a landslip sent more than 1,000 deadly bombs and rockets embedded in the cliffs for more 60 years tumbling onto the sands.

WWII grenades

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The cliffs are an old firing range from World War Two, explosives and grenades can be found in the area Photo: ALAMY

The East Riding beach of Mappleton, near Hornsea, was used as a practice bombing range during the Second World War – but the bad weather has led to ground movement which exposed one of the biggest arsenals ever uncovered yesterday.

The fins of many of the bombs have been left sticking out of the mud and rock which has fallen onto the beach.

With holiday crowds flooding to the coast, coastguards are warning visitors thinking of grabbing a souvenir that the bombs may be “highly volatile” and capable of causing tragedy.

Coastguards say the odd item of explosives often turn up in dribs and drabs after being embedded in the cliffs for decades in the area.

But over the weekend, a landslip caused by the combination of heavy rain and coastal erosion exposed at least 1,000 weapons.

Coastguards say that most of them are probably dummy or practice rounds – but they still contain enough explosive to cause terrible injuries.

A 24-hour guard has been placed on the beach by Humberside Police amid fears that children may be tempted to pick up a “trophy” during the school holidays.

An Army Bomb Disposal team from North Yorkshire’s Catterick Army Base has also been called in to clear the beach over the next few days.

The Army experts are hoping to remove some of the smaller items but some will have to be blown up on site in controlled explosions, Humber Coastguard said.

They include rockets, mortar bombs and 25-pounder bombs which were all fired into the cliffs by RAF aircraft during the war years and have been there ever since.

Mike Puplett, watch manager at Humber Coastguard, said: “It’s an old firing range from World War Two and an area where we do get explosives and grenades.

“When the cliff sinks it is a fairly regular occurrence that we get one or two. But there has been a fairly significant landslide occurred due to the erosion and bad weather which has caused it to slip.

“It is a conservative estimate of more than 1,000 items, a mixture of explosives. It is going to take two to three days if not longer to transport the less harmful explosives out of the way while those which are more dangerous or live are detonated in controlled explosions.”

There was no evacuation of the beach which was empty at the time of the landslip, he said, adding that the Coastguard were notified at 1.30pm on Sunday.

The beach can be approached along the sands from Hornsea or down a cliff top path but both points of access have been cordoned off and are under 24-hour police guard.

“The explosives have been fired into the cliff for target practice during bombing runs in World War Two,” Mr Puplett continued.

“Most are practice rounds but the Army have advised us that the amount of explosives even in Low Explosive rounds make them highly dangerous to handle.

“Because they have been in the cliff so long they may have become volatile and dangerous after being exposed to the fresh air.

“They have actually fallen in the landslip down onto the beach and are sticking out of the mud and rock and sand.

“Because there is such a great number of them what we do not want is people wandering around picking up the odd trophy to put on the mantel piece.

“They are all highly dangerous and should not be touched at all. It is highly dangerous at the moment. I am no explosive expert but the Army have told me these things could cause serious injury if not worse and even Low Explosive rounds are dangerous.

“Even the dummy or practice rounds have some explosives in them. Anyone who finds anything like this should dial 999.”

A bunker in the backyard of the Barrie, Ont., home contained dozens of explosive devices. A bunker in the backyard of the Barrie, Ont., home contained dozens of explosive devices. (Barrie Police Service)

Police in Barrie, Ont., have completed their sweep of a home where more than 80 explosive devices were found, allowing neighbors to return to their residences after a week long evacuation.

The explosives, as well as several weapons, were found following the arrest of two men in connection with a cold-case homicide.

“The evacuees of the area in and around 30 Virgilwood Cr. have been very kind, supportive and patient to all the officers involved, which was appreciated during this long complex situation,” police said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Police said the home and neighborhood are now safe, and thanked EMS, fire crews, Red Cross and the city for their help during the search of the home.

As of Thursday morning, police had uncovered an assortment of chemicals, 83 improvised explosive devices — some wired for remote detonation — and 29 firearms. There were also thousands of rounds of ammunition.

The search of the home turned up this device, among many others. The search of the home turned up this device, among many others. (Barrie Police Service)On Wednesday, police released photographs of a bunker in the home. They show a small space crammed with electronic equipment and various items packed in plastic bags hanging on the walls.

The City of Barrie approved a permit in 1984 to the owner of the home for a fallout shelter, which police said has been divided into two rooms.

The explosive devices and weapons were uncovered after police executed a search warrant at the home last Thursday.

They found explosive devices tucked away in hidden places, while others were left out in the open.

Those evacuated from some 20 homes in the neighborhood last Thursday can head back any time they like, Barrie police Const. Angela Butler said.

“I got to tell them personally myself. It was a great feeling,” she said.

Neighbor Joe Ouellette lives just a few doors down and had no hint of the dangers.

“You don’t see these kinds of things in this area,” he said. “Or you don’t think these things happen in this kind of area. And here it is.”

The search was ordered after a 54-year-old resident at the home, Donald Feldhoff, turned himself in to police on Wednesday in connection with the 1978 death of 26-year-old Michael Traynor.

Feldhoff has since been charged with first-degree murder.

His father, William Feldhoff, 75, owns the home and was charged as an accessory after the fact. He made a brief video appearance in court Thursday morning and was prohibited from communicating with his son.

He is scheduled to appear again in court on July 27.

His lawyer, Bernard Cugelman, said outside the court that Feldhoff is a dedicated family man who was traumatized by his boyhood years in post-war Germany.

“Obviously, that’s stayed with him and it’s sort of triggered this survivalist instinct,” he said.

Police will hold a news conference about the sweep of the home on Friday morning.

With files from The Canadian Press