THE sound of the detonation of a seven-feet long by two-feet wide World War Two bomb found at a property in Glenthorne Road, Exeter, carried out at 6.10pm on Saturday, February 27, could be heard as far away as eight miles at Crediton and even 20 miles away as far as Coldridge.

Other people as far away as Witheridge, Kennerleigh and Cheriton Fitzpaine also heard the blast.

The controlled detonation of the device, believed to be a 1,000kg "Hermann bomb" used by the Nazis in the Second World War, was carried out by bomb disposal experts from the Royal Navy and Army.

All 2,600 properties, including around 1,400 students from Exeter University halls of residences, within a 400-metre cordon, had been evacuated earlier in the day.

Extensive work to mitigate the impact of the blast, including the laying of 400-tonnes of sand, the building of walls and the digging of trenches, was implemented.

However, unfortunately structural damage has been caused to some buildings, primarily within the 100-metre cordon, including blown-out windows and cracks in brickwork.

A trench was dug around the bomb to take some of the force of the blast but debris has landed in not only the immediate area but more than 250 metres away.

Many properties have sustained broken windows and there are also reports of doors blown in, cracks in brickwork, roofs and walls of properties damaged.

A crater, the size of a double decker bus remained after the blast.

This morning structural assessments to properties was being carried out.

Evacuated residents had hoped to return to their properties soon after the blast but are advised to work on a worst-case scenario basis, that they will not be able to return home this evening.

The city council has confirmed that those already in hotel accommodation will be able to stay in their hotels tonight if necessary.

The council helpline is open until 5pm today for any evacuated residents needing support or advice: 0345 155 1015.

Police and partner agencies, including Devon County Council and Exeter City Council and various utility companies, are working hard in the hope that some evacuated residents will be able to return home today.

The bomb was discovered on Friday, February 26 on a building site.


Crediton area residents were faced with the closure of Cowley Bridge Road when the cordon was expanded. To-date, the road, and others in close proximity, have been closed to traffic and many motorists from the Crediton area have faced difficulties finding alternative routes.

Wreford Road has been unusable on more than one occasion, one of those when a lorry became stuck in a narrow part of the road.

Train travel has resulted in a bus service to and from Crediton and Exeter, all services between suspended.

An update is expected at around 3pm today.