Minehunter HMS Grimsby joined NATO allies in the Seine Bay for her second spell of searching for unexploded bombs and mines from World War 2 in a month, say the Royal Navy.
HMS Grimsby is currently assigned to NATO’s Mine Countermeasures Group 1 alongside flagship FGS Donau, BNS Bellis, HNLMS Willemstad, HNoMS Otra.
“Earlier this month, Grimsby located 18 pieces of unexploded ordnance – 15 British mines, three British bombs – in the approaches to Oslo as part of a concerted effort by the NATO group. The locations in which the 38 wartime munitions discovered in total were found meant they could not be blown up, even in controlled explosions, so all the minehunter teams could do was mark their locations and inform the Norwegian authorities.
There were no such issues as the group shifted to the Seine Bay – between the Cherbourg peninsula and Le Havre – where 5,000 Allied warships mustered in June 1944 to liberate France… and the Germans tried to stop them. The waters were heavily mined and bombed – by both sides – during the six years of conflict between 1939 and 1945 and although thoroughly swept and cleared down the decades, wartime ordnance continues to be found; roughly one in three mines laid in World War 2 remain unaccounted for.”
The Royal Navy say that Grimsby’s clearance divers plunged into the water and placed a charge on the mine, then fell back to a safe distance and detonated it.