UK: Royal Navy Divers Safely Remove Remains of V2 Rocket

Royal Navy Divers Safely Remove Remains of V2 Rocket

The remnants of a German wartime V2 rocket have been safely removed from the mud off Harwich after a two-day operation. Royal Navy divers and Army engineers worked hand-in-hand to lift the section of rocket out of the River Stour – having discovered that the V2’s warhead was not present.

A 4-feet-long section of the German World War 2 weapon was pulled from mudflats at low tide on the River Stour between Harwich and Felixstowe.

The six-man Navy team from Southern Diving Unit 2 in Portsmouth worked with the Army’s 101 Engineer Regiment bomb disposal team to lift the section of weapon from the mud onto a barge.

They had first excavated around the lowest part of the V2 to discover that the warhead section was not there – meaning there was no safety risk to the local population.

The venturi section of the rocket – named after the effect on a fluid passing through a narrow pipe – could now be donated to the nearby sailing club who have passed it in the mud for decades.

The naval divers were called to Harwich last week – and at first were sceptical it was a V2 because the missiles plunged to earth at more than twice the speed of sound having reached heights of up to 128 miles above the earth’s surface – so normally there was nothing left of them.

But on closer inspection it was identified as the German rocket. It was submerged nose down and is projecting about two feet out of the mud, around 300ft from the Harwich shoreline. It is not known whether the explosive is still present.

Lt Dan Herridge, Officer-in-Command of SDU 2, said:

“This was a successful result to the operation and means people using the waterways and living locally can have confidence that this was not a dangerous piece of ordnance.

“Our guys had never seen anything like this before and probably never will again. It’s a very unusual beast indeed.

“We are grateful for the support of our colleagues from 101 Engineer Regiment for helping remove this section of the rocket.”

The V2 rocket was developed by pioneering scientist Werner von Braun – who went on to be a key figure behind the American effort to put a man on the moon.

Built by concentration camp prisoners, more than 3,000 V-2s were launched from the continent at London, South-east England and the Belgian port of Antwerp – with the aim of demoralising the civilian populace.

The missile attacks resulted in the death of an estimated 7,250 people, mostly civilians. Of these, more than 2,750 were killed in London – and another 6,523 injured.

Naval Today Staff , April 03, 2012; Image: royalnavy