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Shirley residents tell of unexploded World War Two bomb drama
11:38am Saturday 21st September 2013 in News
Residents have told how they were caught up in a unexploded bomb drama in Southampton.
Workmen in Shirley unearthed the Second World War shell yesterday afternoon as they dug up land on a housing site, below, in the heart of a residential community.
Once the alarm was raised, shortly after 1pm, officers from across the city were drafted into Nightingale Road, where they began knocking on doors to try and get as many people as possible to safety.
A 50-metre exclusion zone was established as those on the Nightingale Mews site waited for the bomb disposal experts from Portsmouth to deal with the 22- inch brass bottomed shell that was found in an old chest.
A total of 50 homes were within the cordon but some residents refused to leave their homes, so they were told to stay inside and go to the room furthest away from the site, just in case the worst happened.
One couple, Bron and Joan Jankowski, who live just a few houses up from the building site, had no need to leave their homes, knowing that the safest place to be was the Anderson bomb shelter in their back garden.
Mr Jankowski, 89, who once cleared bombs from Corfe Castle, said: “We couldn’t quite believe it when we heard but we were not worried because it must have been there for 70 years so there would have only been a small risk of it going off.
“Plus we have the bomb shelter in the back garden, so we knew we had somewhere safe to go.”
But the drama was over within two hours, with the bomb disposal team carefully removing the bomb, which was 2.5 inches in diameter, from the site and took it back to their base.
Sergeant Clare Brewer said: “We hope people were reassured by the police presence and we would like to thank the residents for their co-operation and hope that those who had to leave their homes were not too inconvenienced.
“I think everyone was relieved when the explosives team took away the shell and life could return to normal.”
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