Wartime UXO Threatens Boat Race

Discovery of Device Fails To Halt Proceedings

SPIRITS WERE not dampened as crowds gathered to watch the 163rd Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race despite the discovery of a Second World War bomb, as witnessed by Britain at War’s Alex Bowers.

The partly-submerged device was discovered yards from the starting line, but as news circulated regarding the possibility of postponing the race, EOD specialists had to wait for low tide to examine the device. However, in the early morning, just hours before the start, specialists safely removed the bomb allowing the event to continue unaffected. The race ran smoothly with suggestions made that the recovered bomb should be made into a sculpture!

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “Police were called by a member of the public at approximately 1:50pm on Saturday reporting what they thought to be a World War Two ordnance on the Chelsea shoreline by Putney Bridge.”

Had the find indeed disrupted the prestigious event, it would have been first time the race would have been interrupted since 2012, when Trenton Oldfield swum out as a protest. The race, with exception to the First and Second World Wars, has never been called off.

The men’s boat race began in 1829 as a challenge between friends and continued irregularly for the next 25 years. It was not until 1836 it moved to London while the women’s races did not begin until 1927. New research establishes that 42 former boat race team members died during the Great War, including an Oxford rower killed while leading an attack on a German machine gun and a Cambridge graduate killed while assisting wounded comrades.


Commonwealth Air Forces Service, Runnymede, 7 May At 11:00am on 7 May wreaths will be laid on behalf of the Commonwealth Air Forces and Ex-Service Organisation in honour of 20,458 Commonwealth airmen who lost their lives in the Second World War who have no known grave. This ceremony is open to all who and features a performance by the Central Band of the RAF.

Britain and the Falklands War: 35 years on, NAM London, 2 Jun A t 11.30am on 2 June the National Army Musuem’s Dr Peter Johnston will examine the Falklands War as a short, sharp conflict, waged over a mere 74 days, and discuss how the lessons learnt can be applied today in a military, social and political context. Tickets: Free, but booking recommended.

Jutland Legacy Conf., Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, 31 May - 2 Jun On the 101st anniversary of the battle, this three-day conference explores who really won, how, or indeed, if, the battle helped determine the outcome of the war, and what the social impact on Britain and Germany was and why it still matters today. Tickets: From £75 to £225. See: https://www.nmrn.org.uk/jutland-conference

Meet the Bomber Boys, Wings Museum, Balcombe, 6 May The West Sussex-based Wings Museum is hosting a RAF Bomber Command veterans signing event at 10:30am and again at 2:30pm on the 6 May in aid of the International Bomber Command Memorial. For more infomation see: www.wingsmuseum.co.uk