Bomb disposal experts from Carver Barracks clear a beach of unexploded devices

PUBLISHED: 09:22 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:07 02 September 2020

Soldiers from 35 Engineer Regiment remove the remains from the controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. 



Photographer: 
CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

Soldiers from 35 Engineer Regiment remove the remains from the controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. Photographer: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

@ MoD Crown Copyright 2020

The area is a decommissioned bombing range, used by the RAF and US Air Force.

A collection of unexploded ordnance gathered together on Mappleton Beach.

Photographer: 
CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020A collection of unexploded ordnance gathered together on Mappleton Beach. Photographer: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

Bomb disposal experts from the army’s Carver Barracks have spent more than three weeks clearing a beach of explosive devices.

The experts from 29 (Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search) Group, of 35 Engineer Regiment, have been at Cowden Sands, Mappleton in Holderness, near Hull in East Yorkshire.

A 600-acre area of the beach is a decommissioned bombing range, formerly used by the RAF and US Air Force for practice until 1998.

Coastal erosion is now revealing the practice bombs and other explosives buried in the cliff.

A soldier from 35 Engineer Regiment prepares to remotely detonate a controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach.

Photographer: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020A soldier from 35 Engineer Regiment prepares to remotely detonate a controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. Photographer: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

The range targets were at the top of a cliff above Mappleton Beach, but it is the fastest eroding coastline in the UK.

Troop Commander, Second Lieutenant Sam Turner, said: “Ministry of Defence explosive ordnance clearance teams have attended the beach on numerous occasions to make the beach safe for the public but recent erosion has revealed a significant pocket of buried unexploded ordnance which has fallen on to the beach and now needs to be removed.

“The safety of the public is always our first priority. Warning signs have been put up and red flags are visible. The public are reminded to adhere to the warning signs and not to pick up or remove any objects.”

The ordnance removal task began on July 13 and the team has dealt with around 1,000 items.

A soldier from 35 Engineer Regiment prepares to remotely detonate a controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. Photographer:
 CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020A soldier from 35 Engineer Regiment prepares to remotely detonate a controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. Photographer: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

The majority were practice bombs, aircraft projectiles and land service ammunition such as the historic 2-inch mortar, also known as two-inch howitzer. They have been destroyed through controlled explosions.

Any items deemed free from explosives were removed and transferred through the logistic chain to be repurposed.

Second Lieutenant Turner added: “The weather determines how much work the team has, because things can change overnight as to what new items are unearthed. “At one point, we thought we had completed the task, but then 170 items appeared overnight with the next tide.”

A long-term plan to deal with unexploded ordnance on the beach is being developed.

A soldier from 35 Engineer Regiment prepares to remotely detonate a controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. Photographer: 
CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020A soldier from 35 Engineer Regiment prepares to remotely detonate a controlled explosion at Mappleton Beach. Photographer: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

It is against the law to pick up military materials from the beach. If you see one or anyone near one, call the police.


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