Next to Bexleyheath police station is a WWII bomb, that in a literal interpretation of swords into ploughshares is now a potplant holder for a small garden. The bombshell was discovered in April 2000 during construction works in Bexleyheath town centre, with its nose down in the ground, and after the army was able to make it safe, it was handed to the police to look after.

Attempts to defuse the bomb were however held up when an order to evacuate the area was ignored by some of the residents who refused to leave. The BBC reported at the time that the army wanted to clear a 500 metre zone around the bomb, and that an operation to move more than 2,000 residents from 971 homes began in the following morning. But people in 70 homes would not leave.

Major Bob Tomkins, overseeing the operation, told BBC News: “Some residents are reluctant to leave their homes. While it might have been quite laudable in the 1940s with the great British Bulldog spirit, I don’t think it appropriate any more.”

Fortunately, the bomb was made safe, and sat in storage for a decade or so until 2013 a small fenced space outside the police station was cleared and turned into a small patio-style garden area.

And the bomb casing was reused as a planter for some flowers.

A small sign next to it reads that “this is the casing of the 1,000lb WW2 bomb dropped in 1941 and found during the construction of Broadway Square in April 2000, close to the site of the Old Bexley Heath police station 1907-1994. There is a plaque on the wall of Sainsbury supermarket marking the site”

As a pocket park, it’s looking a bit weatherworn at the moment, hopefully due to the recent heatwave than due to neglect.

But, the bombshell sits there, looking particularly odd, and that’s how I spotted it when walking on the other side of the street and popped over for a closer look. I didn’t get to see the Sainsbury plaque, but there’s a photo here.

Part of the reason why such bombs are still being found on construction sites long after WWII has ended is that their ballistic shape and the height from which they were dropped means that they tend to bury themselves deep in the ground. If they didn’t explode, the bomb could lay there for decades until a particularly deep excavation takes place that uncovers it.

And here’s one legacy of war, now home to a potplant.

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  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    There’s an excellent WW2 London bombs map site –

  2. Ray lawes says:

    Isn’t there one outside of Catford police traffic station, Bromley rd ? Whether it was found there, i don’t know.

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