The device was found by construction workers, involved in the building of a subway line in the city’s center, not far from the Rennes town hall.
The bomb was packed with 70 kilograms of explosives material and the experts faced a very “delicate operation” to disarm it, Nathalie Appere, city’s mayor, told AFP.
La fameuse bombe anglaise larguée le 9 juin 1944, découverte place Saint Germain à Rennes, qui contenait 75kg de TNT pic.twitter.com/KKRMEPXGl7
— Laurent Riéra (@LaurentRiera) November 23, 2014
"It took two hours to defuse the bomb and it was quite difficult because it was old and it wasn’t in really good shape,” Frederique Camilleri, sub-prefect, said.
The police had to evacuate all homes and businesses within a 270 meter radius of the operation, including 90 elderly residents of a local nursing home.
— Isa Rettig (@isa_rettig) October 24, 2014
“It is quite common to find bombs from World War II in France but the difficulty today was that the bomb was in a very populated area,” Camilleri told RFI radio station.
In 2010, another British bomb was discovered in Rennes during the building of a medical facility in the city’s center.
— Ulysse Paris (@ulyssepariser) November 23, 2014
France was under Nazi German occupation in 1940-44, with major railway junction, Rennes, becoming a frequent target of Britain’s Royal Air Force bombing.
The Western Allies performed airstrikes against 1,570 French cities and towns during World War II, killing nearly 67,000 civilians.