Ex-Navy officer blasts bomb team

A FORMER member of the Royal Navy said today he could not understand why the Felixstowe bomb had not been dealt with as soon as it was found.

A FORMER member of the Royal Navy said today he could not understand why the Felixstowe bomb had not been dealt with as soon as it was found.

Walter Bunn, 65, of Kesgrave, who served for 21 years in the navy, said: “I really cannot understand how they have got themselves into this problem - it was not the most difficult mission.

“I worked on three mine hunters and we had the technology to find a bomb like this 26 years ago without all the advances made since.

“We would have called up a MCM (mine countermeasures) ship which had a camera on it which would sweep the seabed and we could watch on a TV screen where the bomb or mine was, send down and a diver and blow it up immediately.

“I remember we detonated a 1,000lb acoustic mine off Harwich in 1973 or 1974.

“The ship's cameras found the mine, we pinged it and blew it up. It's all pretty straight forward.”

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The Navy's divers hunting for the bomb off Felixstowe today admitted it could take weeks to find it.

The 1,000lb Second World War bomb was discovered a week ago on the town's seafront, but despite extensive searching using hi-tech equipment, its location is still unknown.

More than 1,000 people were evacuated from their homes last week in preparation for the expected explosion of the bomb, but that never happened because the device was lost as it was towed out to sea to be detonated.

The 13-strong Navy team continued to scour the seabed over the weekend and have widened their search, but were still unable to find the bomb.

Lieutenant Commander Mark Hankey said: “We are doing this as diligently as we can and this takes time. The main thing is this bomb is off the beach and away from an area where it can do significant damage or harm.

“We may be here days, weeks - it is a decision that has not been looked at yet.”

The team is now using an unmanned computer-operated submarine called Remus to picture the seabed to locate suspicious objects for their dives.

The 5ft 8in torpedo-shaped equipment was driven down to Felixstowe from Scotland, while the divers made the trip from the south coast.

What's your view on the missing Felixstowe bomb saga? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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