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Keeping a Smile on the Boat Race

03 April 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

The 163rd men's and the 72nd women's University Boat Race went ahead as planned despite an unexploded World War Two shell being discovered sunken into river mud on the route down old lady Thames.

Specialist officers working closely with the Marine Police Unit and local police in Hammersmith and Fulham successfully removed the ordnance found in the water on the north side of Putney Bridge in time for the area to be declared safe. The boating action actually takes place on the south side of Putney Bridge.

Crowds of onlookers were able to take their places on the banks to see the women of Cambridge and the men of Oxford overcome their traditional rivals. In fact, whilst the respective dramas of sport and bomb disposal unfolded, no roads were actually closed. The women set off at 4:35pm with the men's race at 5:35pm.


No joke

Police were called by a member of the public just before 2:oopm on Saturday, April 1. The submerged item was assessed and removed by specialist officers on Sunday. Chief Inspector Tracy Stephenson said on the day: "I'm very happy to update that the ordnance has now been safely removed and the boat races will be going ahead as planned. We have been working very closely with the organisers of the boat race to plan this event which is eagerly awaited by spectators and supporters alike."

Picture: The Marine Police Unit and local police in Hammersmith and Fulham made sure the University boat races were not a bomb-out

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 03 April 2017


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