Friday 3 March 2017

Residents return to their homes after Willesden bomb removed

Photo: Rupert Frere
The bomb was disposed of at the Shoeburyness Range near Southend

 From Brent Council

The 500Ib World War II bomb, which was discovered in Brondesbury Park yesterday (March 2nd), has been safely removed by bomb disposal experts, the army has confirmed.

The huge device was removed safely this evening (March 3) and hundreds of affected residents are returning to their homes within the 300 metre exclusion zone.

Police were called to The Avenue, near the junction of Willesden Lane, at around 11.30am on Thursday after builders unearthed the device while digging a basement car park for a new block of flats

Army bomb disposal experts were scrambled while hundreds of people, including school children and OAPs, were evacuated. Some were briefly allowed back into the exclusion zone to collect clothes, medicines and emergency supplies.

78 people who were unable to stay with friends or family were put up in a local hotel by Brent Council overnight. The council also organised a rest centre at a nearby church, during the day on Thursday and Friday, where evacuees were looked after by council officers and volunteers from the Red Cross.

Local resident Carole Hutchinson, who attended the rest centre, said:
We got lots of help from the Red Cross and the people from Brent Council at the shelter. They have been keeping us well-fed and watered. My husband was evacuated during the war and was telling me to hurry up all the time to get out, as he knows how much damage a bomb can do. He came back for the blitz. He was evacuated at the start of the war and they thought it was all quiet and calm and they all came back and then he stayed in London.       
I actually met three or four neighbours who I've never met before which has been really nice. It's been a blitz spirit, definitely. Everyone has been very kind and generous with food and lots of cups of tea from the Red Cross, so it's been wonderful from that point of view.
The exclusion zone around the device was widened this morning while army experts dismantled the explosive.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said:
The blitz spirit of the community is alive and well in Brent and my thanks go to all of the residents who showed such great patience and humour in the face of adversity while the army experts did their job.

I would also like to thank our partners in the Army, Police, Fire Brigade and Red Cross as well as council colleagues who worked tirelessly throughout the night to help sort this out.

We’re a resilient lot in Brent and I am immensely proud of how everyone responded.
Unexploded bombs are still being found across London following the Blitz, which was the most intense bombing campaign Britain has ever seen.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps something of 'the blitz spirit' is required in LB Brent in order to deal with the Council Leader's collaboration with 'austerity'?

Alan Wheatley

Philip Grant said...

The Brent Council news circular which Martin has shared above concluded with the line:
'London was bombed 71 times between September 1940 and May 1941 with more than one million homes destroyed or damaged.'

71 times? I think that the Blitz was a bit more than that! Perhaps those at the Civic Centre should check their facts with the Brent Museum and Archives team at Willesden Green!


Anonymous said...

Blitz spirit, eh? Shameless as ever.
But not like Butt to miss a photo opportunity. I was expecting a picture of him surveying the area in a siren suit while chomping on a fat cigar and flashing a V sign. Or better still, clomping around in a flowery hat, handbag and heels daring to 'look the North West End in the face', 1940 Queen Mother style. He's losing his touch.

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

I would much rather have seen a picture of Butt sat astride the bomb with the army engineers saying saying quietly under their breaths "Hard luck mate we haven't actually managed to remove the fuse. Just a few good whacks with your feet and off it will go."