Saturday, June 12

Kolkata dredging throws up WWII bomb

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Dredging operations at the Netaji Subhas Dock (NSD) on Friday, a day before its 90th anniversary celebrations, threw up a deadly relic from the past — a World War II vintage 1,000-pound bomb with US Army markings.

The nearly 450 kg aerial bomb, part of the American arsenal used in the China-Burma-India theatre during 1942-45, can cause extensive damage to life and property in a half-km radius, say experts.

Initially suspecting the huge object to be a torpedo, the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) contacted INS Netaji Subhas, the Indian Navy’s base in Kolkata and the city police. Later the Army was also contacted to defuse the bomb.

“We have examined the bomb and it has US markings. It was clearly left behind by them after the War ended. It somehow landed under water and has been discovered now. It seems quite safe as there is a mechanism that sets off such bombs. However, we may get in touch with experts in Vizag to defuse it,” said Commodore Suprobho K De, naval officer-in-charge, West Bengal.

The NSD, formerly known as King George’s Dock, was extensively used by the US navy and army during World War II and was a frequent target of Japanese bombers.

“When the huge bomb emerged during dredging operations, we suspected it to be of World War II vintage. We immediately got in touch with the Navy and Kolkata Police. After it is cleared, the port authority may want to preserve the shell,” said KoPT’s security adviser Gautam Chakraborti, who is also a heritage enthusiast.

“This dock was inaugurated by Lord Irwin on December 29, 1918. During World War II this dock was the target of Japanese bombers and was extensively used by the US Army and Navy to keep its bases supplied for the ‘Over the Hump Operations’,” Chakraborti added.

Source: Times of India

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