Blast from the Past: WW2 Bombs discovered in Sheffield

Four unexploded wartime bombs have been found in Sheffield over the past couple of weeks and plenty more will probably be discovered in coming years, according to a leading expert on World War 2.

In December of 1940, Sheffield lost close to 700 people during a 3-day period in what became known as the Sheffield Blitz. Thousands were injured and left homeless by the Luftwaffe’s raids.

Dozens of bombs are found yearly across the nation, as well as in countries which sustained major damage and attack during both world wars, such as France and Germany.

And the legacy of those raids still has the capacity to bring the modern city to a halt when unexploded munitions are found during building work.

Professor Bob Moore, a lecturer at the University of Sheffield, who specialises in the Second World War said:

“Given the amount of bombing that the Germans did on Industrial cities during the second world war its hardly surprising that some of their payloads failed to go off at the time. When bombs are being dropped from 20,000 feet, they can go very far down into the ground.

“You can’t rule out the possibility that these bombs are going to be found as more buildings are made.

However, there is no reason to suggest that these degraded bombs become more dangerous with time”.

Despite this, a direct hit could trigger a bomb according to Mr Moore, who said:

“Occasionally you’ll have a JCB driver in a field somewhere who will hit an unexploded bomb and explode.”

Mr Moore also said that it is impossible to know how many bombs didn’t go off during the war, given the amount that was dropped on the country.

Official estimates suggest somewhere around 40,000 tonnes were dropped by the Luftwaffe.

He also believes that it isn’t just necessarily World War Two bombs which are still out there, with IRA devices and abandoned British munitions which have been dumped still unaccounted for.

A World War Two era bomb exploded in 2014 in Germany killing one and injuring eight.

The MOD regularly sends bomb squads out to deal with cases of unexploded bombs.

In the most recent incident Matilda Street in Sheffield city centre was cordoned off for several hours after unexploded bombs were found, before they were disposed of safely.


Daniel Hopkins

University of Sheffield Journalism Student.

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