A team of bomb disposal divers has been presented with a bravery award for a complex operation to remove a large air-dropped mine.
Royal Navy Petty Officer Nick Frost, of the Devonport-based Southern Dive Unit received the Chief Police Officer’s Commendation at a ceremony in Guernsey on behalf of the team.
The heavy World War Two mine had to be excavated by hand, lifted from the burial site where it was dropped by the Germans and transported first by muscle power, then by truck to the sea where it was detonated in deeper water.
Hundreds of houses were evacuated along the transportation route in case the explosive detonated by accident.
A 200-m tall sea water plume resulted from the detonation.
The Navy team responded to this incident early on the third day of the operation when the police realised the Navy’s skills were needed.
Nick rendered the mine safe to move, but it still needed destroying safely.
The Guernsey Police Chief Officer’s Commendation is the highest internal police force accolade.
It is considered for incidents such as acts of bravery, where having determined that there is potential danger, an officer consciously decides to place themselves at risk with the intention to save or protect human life.
The award citation stated: “For their courage and professionalism when providing assistance to the community of Guernsey with the recovery, transportation and safe disposal of a large and dangerous unexploded WWII mine.
“The main difficulty was transporting the bomb by hand to the nearest road after the bomb was dug out and removed by pulleys and rope from eight-ft underground.”
Nick has commanded the SDU1 explosive ordnance section since January. He is responsible for any munitions found below the high water mark and provides specialist advice during operations.
The Southern Diving Unit of the Royal Navy has up to 60 clearance divers and supporting specialists.