Undersea Drilling Expert Stumbles Upon WWII Bomb – Plymouth Garden Unearths Historic Relic

Undersea Drilling Expert Stumbles Upon WWII Bomb – Plymouth Garden Unearths Historic Relic

Ian Jary, a 57-year-old man assisting with his daughter’s home renovation in Plymouth, inadvertently unearthed a 500kg WWII bomb, causing a major disruption in the city.

His motivations were purely practical, aiming to save money on his daughter Natalie’s kitchen extension.

Discovery and Initial Ignorance:

Jary, an undersea drilling expert ironically, encountered the massive wartime bomb while digging foundations for the house extension.

Initially, only a small section was visible, leading both him and the builder to assume it was an old boiler or scrap metal.

Even the building inspector did not immediately recognize it as a significant threat.

Progressive Exposure and Decision to Notify Authorities:

As days passed, further digging and heavy rains revealed more of the bomb’s structure.

Jary, unaware of the potential danger, even struck the bomb with a spade.

However, after consulting with his wife, Judy, he decided to contact the police, sending them photos of the exposed ordnance.

The police promptly involved Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) upon realizing the gravity of the situation.

Evacuation and Police Response:

Police declared a ‘major incident’ and established a 200m evacuation zone around the bomb, affecting approximately 3,000 residents.

This evacuation radius was later extended to 309 meters, encompassing over 1,000 homes.

The incident triggered memories of past wartime bombings, evident from red dots on the Plymouth Bombs Map around the St Michael Avenue area.

Relief and Evacuation Challenges:

Jary’s wife, Judy, expressed relief at her husband’s decision to alert authorities, considering the potential dangers.

She highlighted the fortunate aspect that the bomb was discovered while still covered, preventing a catastrophic situation.

Evacuated residents were given limited access to their homes for one hour to retrieve essential belongings, anticipating the bomb’s removal.

Historical Context – WWII Bomb Origin:

The 500kg bomb is believed to be a remnant from the Plymouth Blitz in 1941, dropped by the Nazis during World War II.

The devastating attack claimed 76 lives, making it the deadliest incident during the Blitz in Plymouth.

The ongoing removal operation aims to mitigate risks and prevent potential destruction of adjacent homes.

Future Considerations and Uncertainties:

Discussions about the bomb’s removal and potential detonation have raised concerns among residents.

Homeowners were given an opportunity to safeguard their possessions during a brief access period.

The decision on the bomb’s fate, including relocation options, rests with higher authorities and bomb disposal experts.


The unexpected discovery of the WWII bomb in Plymouth has not only disrupted the lives of residents but also brought attention to the lasting impact of historical conflicts on present-day communities.

As the removal operation unfolds, the community awaits decisions that will determine the fate of the bomb and the safety of their homes.

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