SAF's explosive experts dispose of 100kg WWII bomb

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28 Sep 2023 | OPS & TRAINING

SAF's explosive experts dispose of 100kg WWII bomb

The detonation operation – which included two controlled explosions – involved 45 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel.

//Story by Teo Jing Ting / Photos by Chua Soon Lye & courtesy of Singapore Army & SPF

English Melayu

The blasts shook the ground over two rounds on 26 Sep.

The first detonation took place at 12.30pm. The second occurred at 1.45pm, marking the destruction of the 100kg World War II relic, which was unearthed at a construction site along Upper Bukit Timah Road on 20 Sep.

Thanks to the courage and swift action of the SAF's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, the aerial bomb – possibly one of the largest wartime munitions discovered in Singapore – was safely and successfully disposed through two controlled explosions.

Here's what went down:

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On 26 Sep, the 100kg WWII war relic was successfully destroyed in two controlled explosions. The first detonation took place at around 12.30pm and the second occurred at 1.45pm. 

An unexploded 100kg WWII bomb was unearthed at a construction site along Upper Bukit Timah Road. [Photo: Singapore Police Force]

The unexploded ordnance was first discovered during excavation works at the construction site of the upcoming The Myst condominium in Upper Bukit Timah Road on 20 Sep.

The EOD team from 36th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers (36 SCE) was activated and identified it to be a 100kg WWII aerial bomb.

After decades, the mechanism and metal components in the unexploded bomb were likely to have deteriorated and become unstable. As the team assessed it to be unsafe for moving, plans were made to dispose of the bomb onsite on 26 Sep.

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In preparation for the bomb disposal, the EOD Team had to build a disposal pit to absorb and control the impact of the detonation. This was done on 25 Sep, a day before the detonation.

Here, EOD personnel from 36 SCE are pictured ensuring that the overhead cover is constructed properly. 

The disposal pit comprised 1,000 sand bags and 55 concrete slabs. The construction of the overhead cover alone took close to six hours. 
3SG Teo, who took part in the construction of the disposal pit as well as post-detonation recovery operations, is proud to see the EOD team's efforts and training paid off. [Photo: Chua Soon Lye]

Meet one of the faces behind the operation: 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Teo Jia Kai was among those who were involved in the construction of the disposal pit.

The 21-year-old full-time national serviceman (NSF) also took part in post-detonation recovery operations which included clearing the area of remaining fragments and debris on 26 Sep.

"I was excited to be involved in the bomb disposal operation 'cos it meant I could put my training to use," said the 3rd In-Charge from 36 SCE, who was at a safe distance of 200m away from the detonation point.

"When I first heard the explosion, I was like "Woah!" – it was definitely very memorable and exciting."

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Even though it took many hours construct the disposal pit, 3SG Teo said that it was rewarding to see that their efforts and training paid off. "I have no regrets joining EOD – it's a meaningful vocation."

Asked what his family and friends thought of his involvement, 3SG Teo replied that his parents were proud of him and his younger sisters thought that "it was cool".

Assured of what he was going to be doing in the operation, his parents were not worried and told him to take care. His friends also texted messages of encouragement when they found out that he was involved.

"It's my duty and my job to deal with these kind of threats and to protect the public's safety. This is what I was trained for, and this is probably going down as one of the most memorable incidents of my NS journey."

EOD personnel piling on sandbags as part of protective works to contain the impact from the blast during the controlled detonations on 25 Sep. 
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The sandbags are used to absorb the blast of the explosion and fragmentation of the bomb, while the concrete barrier prevents damage to nearby structures.

The EOD engineers also set up the firing point and laid the firing cables in preparation for the detonation the following day. 

The SAF EOD Team ensuring that the sand bags were compacted properly. 
Fragments of the WWII bomb after its successful detonation on 26 Sep.
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