1st Line Defence have been keeping busy throughout the lockdown, and one of our UXO Target Investigation Teams have been working on an interesting site in Hampshire where we have recently recovered several WWII 1kg German Incendiary Bombs.

Several years ago, 1st Line Defence were commissioned to undertake a Detailed UXO Risk Assessment for a highways project. The client was aware of the general historic military activity of the wider area, and knew that there were a number of viable WWII bombing targets in the region. Naturally the client wanted to know more about this history and whether any risk was posed to their planned works.

1st Line Defence undertook extensive historical research for the project, visiting the local record office, National Archives at Kew, acquiring historical maps, aerial images, bomb plot maps, RAF site plans, bombing decoy maps, D-Day planning documents and various other resources.

The report identified several bombing hotspots where references were found to bombs falling in fields close to intended targets. Given the technologies available at the time, bombing accuracy was often poor, with stray bombs commonly falling all around target areas.

Like other regions in the south of the UK, the area also suffered from ‘tip and run’ bomb incidents, and sporadic, indiscriminate bombing where bombers would jettison their bomb loads if they came under heavy anti-aircraft fire or fighter attack. This research resulted in a risk map for the project, with areas of higher and lower risk demarcated.

In early 2020, 1st Line Defence were called upon to revisit the project now that initial works were underway. One of our Site Investigation Teams undertook a Non-Intrusive UXO Survey of the ‘at risk’ areas, and the data was sent to our Geo team for processing and interpretation.

A number of targets were modelled and listed for physical investigation. This May, we sent another Team to investigate these buried anomalies. Using GPS, they located, excavated, investigated and removed each ferrous target.

Some targets proved to be old farming equipment, but in one area of more dense anomalies, the remnants of a number of WWII 1kg German Incendiary Bombs were recovered.

These bomblets would have been deployed in a container which evidently missed its mark and fell on agricultural land just north of an airfield. Several pieces were found including tail and nose sections.

Our UXO Specialists carefully investigated each item to make sure it was safe and free from explosive or hazardous content. The conclusion was that the bombs were safe to move, and they were taken from site without the need to involve the Police or Army units.

Our client is now able to commence work, safe in the knowledge that the risk within the primary works area has been reduced to as low as practicably possible.

If you would like more information about how to minimise risk on a current or future project, or general advice about our UXO Risk Assessments – contact one of our Sales Team on +44 (0) 1992 245020 or info@1stlinedefence.co.uk.

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