A RUSTING Second World War Two bomb was unearthed by gardeners working at an office off Abbey Square before a controlled explosion was carried by Army experts.
The German incendiary device, one of hundreds dropped across Chester during the Second World War bombing raids, sparked a bomb scare in the city, leading Cheshire police to cordon off the area next to the cathedral and evacuate nearby buildings, at about 9am on Tuesday morning.
“The shell is old, corroded and appears to have been in the ground,” said Cheshire police spokesman Jason Murray.
“As a precautionary measure the area was cordoned off and people in adjoining buildings which overlook the square were advised to stay away from windows.”
After several hours members of the Royal Logistic Corps Bomb Disposal, based at Dale Barracks, Chester, resolved to carry out a controlled explosion on the bomb.
Along with Cheshire Fire and Rescue service, Cheshire Police and Cheshire West and Chester council, the decision was taken to move the bomb to a field at Bumpers Lane, where it was buried in sandbags and blown up.
A Cheshire Fire and Rescue service spokesman added: “A decision was made to take the device to an empty, council owned, field at Bumpers Lane where it a controlled explosion was carried out.
“We left fire extinguisher and a hose in close proximity ready to react to any secondary fires. It was a good all round professional job and was interesting to see.”
Just two people were killed by bombing raids in Chester during the Second World War, a fireman named Cyril Dutton and a housewife called Elizabeth Moore who was killed at home on Kitchen Street.
Chester historian Len Morgan said: “Chester was pretty much showered with incendiary devices by the Germans in the Second World War.
“The main body of the bomb was made of magnesium and they were dropped to set fire to things, rather than blow things up.
“They were about 14 inches long and when they have burned out all that’s left is the primer, which looks like a bullet cartridge.”