The second explosive device found in Guernsey waters in the last three months

Over the last couple of days Boatworks+ on Guernsey has been taken over by a five-man Royal Navy bomb disposal team.

The team were called to Guernsey by the local police and harbour dive teams.

A month or so ago, a visiting cruise ship’s dragged its anchor whilst at anchor off St Peter Port and snagged a submerged wreck of a Second World War armed trawler Dr Rudolf Wahrendorf, which was sunk on 24 July 1944 by a Royal Navy Aircraft as the ship left St Peter Port.

The Channel Islands were occupied by the German’s during the Second World War. After the cruise ship re-anchored in its rightful place the Guernsey Harbours workboat Sarnia was called out with harbour divers aboard.

Depth charge discovered

The divers found what looked like a depth charge had been uncovered and called in the Guernsey Police bomb disposal officers. After they inspected the item the Royal Navy were called and they arrived in Guernsey last Monday afternoon.

At 27 metres depth and a strong tide running, the divers could only spend a short time on the wreck. After they had returned to land the police and divers agreed they needed more time to investigate the object.

Unfortunately Wednesday’s weather was foul and no diving was carried out. Yesterday morning, the dive team – Royal Navy Southern Diving Unit – headed back out into the Little Russel to the wreck which is about 600 metres from the Harbour entrance and dived down to the seabed.

After a short time they managed to identify the object as a German depth charge and decided to move it from the wreck to a position about one and a half miles southeast of St Peter Port harbour.

The divers were unhappy about blowing it up on the wreck because they didn’t know if there were more explosives aboard. The wreck is also dived on quite regularly by local and visiting recreational
divers and they didn’t want to cause any more damage to it.

Controlled explosion

It was decided to move the depth charge into deeper water on the Northern tip of the Great Bank and detonate it at 1400 (low water). Unfortunately with the wind and sea condition starting to rise, the depth charge started to bob up and down on the seabed so the naval divers bought the detonation forward to about 1230 BST.

A large amount to seabed came up when it was blown up. But the divers reported that no fish were killed but they may have had a headache.

Later on Thursday afternoon, the dive team returned to the wreck to check there were no other explosives aboard and gave it the all clear.

The dive team were due to leave Guernsey at 0400 this morning and return to the UK.

August explosion

This is the second explosive device blown up by Navy Divers with-in the last couple of months. A large parachute bomb was found on land after it had lain undetected in the Blue Bell Woods south of St Peter Port after being dropped during the war by Canadian Planes.

The bomb, which was about 10ft long, was moved from the woods before being transported to Fermain Bay on the Southeast side of Guernsey.

The Navy divers towed it out the Great Bank before detonating it infront of hundreds of Islanders.

The depth charge yesterday weighed in at about 100lbs of explosives where as the parachute sea mine in August weighed 850lbs. That’s why the water rose far more during the first detonation (pictured in the last image).

All pictures by Tony Rive