Workers digging near Gatwick Airport yesterday uncovered a grenade.
This wasn’t terrorism, though. The grenade is believed to date from the Second World War. Workers uncovered the grenade near the airport’s railway station. Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion to get rid of it.
While it didn’t pose any great risk except to the poor hardhat who dug it up, rail and flight services were briefly halted until the grenade was destroyed.
This odd event isn’t so rare. Europe is littered with unexploded ordnance from both world wars and other conflicts. In the Balkans, experts are still trying to remove the millions of landmines planted during the Yugoslav Civil War. Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, has 14,000 known minefields. In France, bomb disposal experts have to deal with huge amounts of unexploded ordnance, some even dating back to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
[Photo courtesy J-L Dubois]