On the morning of Friday 26th February, builders in a private lot of land found something they really weren’t expecting – a 2,200lb Nazi bomb. The bomb found right next to the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, is thought to have been a Hermann Bomb used by the Nazis back in World War 2.
It is unsurprising that there are still WW2 bombs around, especially in cities like Exeter. In March 1942, the Nazi Air Force undertook a bombing routine that became known as the Baedecker Raids. These focused on historical British cities, and so were named after German travel guides. During these raids, over 7,000 bombs were dropped on Exeter. The raids happened largely over 2 nights in late April, early May, and left 140 people dead, and 180 people injured.
Luckily for the residents of Exeter, this unexploded bomb had not gone off before it was found. Instead, the authorities were informed, and the Royal Navy bomb disposal force attended the scene on Saturday. People in the nearby area were evacuated, including 1,400 students and residents of Dennyshill care home. Halls such as Clydesdale, Holland Halls and Homes for Students Exeter One were all evacuated Saturday morning. Residents were permitted to break coronavirus rules to stay with friends or family, and students were set up in temporary accommodation – such as hotels.
The explosion happened at approximately 6.15 pm on Saturday evening. It could be heard for five miles around the site, and seen across the county. Many buildings around the explosion have had structural damage from flying metal debris, which will need to be repaired, and debris will need to be removed by cranes.
3 nights later, people who live within a 100m radius of the bomb are still being asked to stay elsewhere, whilst people in the 400m radius were allowed home Sunday.
People have taken to Twitter to discuss the bizarre scenario. Take a look at some of the highlights from online.
The police drone arguably got the best view of the terrifying blast!
We’ve spent the last 2 days in Exeter supporting the huge multi-agency operation for an unexploded WW2 bomb. This is from the drone the moment it was detonated…
(the 2nd clip is thermal imaging)#exeter @BBCNews @SkyNews @DevonLiveNews @DC_Police @BBCSpotlight @itvwestcountry pic.twitter.com/LECX9foVTy
— Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police Drones (@PoliceDrones) February 28, 2021
After evacuating all of its students, the University of Exeter shared this clip of the bomb exploding.
So here’s what all the fuss was about!! Thank you so much to @ExeterCouncil for this amazing clip and of course to @DC_Police @BritishArmy and all the other agencies involved in this huge project to keep us all safe. #exeterbomb pic.twitter.com/j8cFzEvyNi
— University of Exeter (@UniofExeter) February 27, 2021
It really was just a random and weird thing to happen – normally mum only texts to check we’ve done laundry!
— Jose Fox (@JoseFox_) February 27, 2021
And finally, we all know what happens next…
My old student house in Exeter is within the evacuation zone of the #ExeterBomb. If the blast created by the detonation shatters all the house’s windows, expect the landlord to tape them back together and insist they’re perfectly suitable…
— Cian (@Pancucci) February 27, 2021