Saturday, 20 March 2010

Danger Mines!

Readers may have read the news reports that Robert Keys MP has asked for mine sweepers to check Swanage Bay and the general area for several wartime mines never accounted for after the war.

Mr Keys was caught up in a tragedy in 1955 when he along with other children from the Forres School were playing on the beach when one found a metal tin which turned up to be a mine. Five young people lost their lives that day and again (I'm told for the 3rd time) the beach was swept again to check for ordnance left from the war.

The media seems to have picked up only part of Mr Keys comments, this was a debate in the Houses of Parliament on cluster bombs around the world and the dangers left after wars, he used his own child hood as an example.

It would be wrong of me to say that our waters are totally free of these items as thousand of wartime items are still found around the whole of the UK , only two weeks ago a very large mine was discovered on Portland harbour 60 years after being dropped, Portland harbour was a busy Naval Port and for many years had many warships visit, not one of these picked this device up.

I have to say its the 1st time Ive heard that some mines are still out standing, four years ago thousands of tonnes of sand were poured on our beach, nothing was found then, diggers dug down very deep to take up the wooden groynes, several items of wartime defences were found but no ordnance was found. Swanage is a very popular diving centre and in 20 years I can only think of two examples where a reported mine was reported in Swanage, one turned out to be a lobster pot and the other discovered last year was dropped off Ballard by the Luftwaffe.

As with Studland we treat any reports of ordnance very seriously and if members of the public see anything odd then keep clear, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. In the meantime we will continue to find out what Mr Keys concerns are and work to ensure the area is safe for all concerned.

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