Police Bomb Disposal Unit
The Bailiwick of Guernsey has seen significant military activity throughout history but especially during the German occupation from 1940 - 45 during which period the Islands were occupied by a reinforced infantry division and were subject to attack by both allied and axis air forces.
After the liberation German engineers from Pionier bataillion 319 cleared minefields and ammunition stores under the supervision of 24 Bomb Disposal Platoon, Royal Engineers. Once the task was complete and the Royal Engineers were due to return to the UK it was recognised that some unexploded ordnance would have been overlooked and so the Guernsey Police were trained to deal with any finds, saving the British Army from dispatching a team.
Initially items were dumped at sea, then in disused quarries however once this practice was no longer acceptable items were disposed of by controlled explosion using explosives provided by the Army - if fact the last of the wartime high explosive 1oz primer charges left behind by 24 Bomb Disposal Platoon were destroyed in 2011.
Since then the numbers of officers trained to deal with the explosive remnants of war has decreased from half the force in 1947 to the small number who perform the role in addition to their normal police duties today. Guernsey Police is unique in currently employing serving British police officers in this role.
Notable incidents included the discovery of a 500lb bomb which was dropped on Fort George in 1944 by the Royal Canadian Air Force and which surfaced in 1989 under the gas main at Fort Road. In this picture the officers had their fingers in their ears for the benefit of the press photographer.
Officers have dealt with thousands of items over the years and current calls for service are running at around 24 per annum. As well as unexploded ordnance the team deal with items on the request of the Health and Safety Executive and burn out of date marine flares and markers in a skip which has been purchased by Health and Safety for that purpose. Officers are also responsible for the recovery of human remains.