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Vernon  

Bomb blown to "smithereens"

 

A piece of history has been unearthed in the hills east of Lumby.

A Tolko employee contacted Lumby RCMP Thursday morning after discovering what is believed to be an unexploded WWII Japanese balloon bomb in an area off Thunder Mountain Forest Road.

The bomb was partly embedded in the ground with the bush.

RCMP spokesman, Gord Molendyk says the suspected bomb was photographed before a call went out to the military bomb disposal unit in Esquimalt.

The unit arrived Thursday night and are expected to dispose of the bomb today.

Prior to disposal, Lumby RCMP are hoping to gather a few pieces of the bomb found nearby and donate them to the Lumby Museum.

"There are a couple of pieces they would like to bring back and, I think that is a neat thing ... preserving a little bit of history in the local area," says Molendyk.

They are hoping to collect the large aluminum rings and possibly a fin from the bomb.

Between November of 1944 and April of 1945, it is estimated Japan released about 9,000 of these balloon bombs. It is estimated about 1,000 reach North America.

Six people, five children and the pregnant wife of a pastor in Bly, Oregon, were killed May 5, 1945, as they played with the large balloon they found in the woods.

They were the only casualties reported on the North American mainland during WWII.

Molendyk says it has been years since one of these bombs was discovered.

The North Okanagan is no stranger to the discovery of unexploded ordnances.

Several unexploded bombs have been found, many had already been fired as part of training exercises.

Most recently, an ordnance was found and retrieved from Cosens Bay a little more than a year ago.

Molendyk says anyone who comes across an unexploded shell should mark the area and contact police.

Regardless of the age of the device, Molendyk says police always treat these objects as live.

If you were the one who discovered the bomb, please email us at [email protected] We would love to hear your story! 



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