Share this page - XShare this page - YouTubeShare this page - Linkedin

Get in touch


Thank you for getting in touch. We will be in contact shortly.

An unexploded World War II bomb was found in a back garden during a home extension garden excavation. Its discovery led to the largest peacetime evacuation in the UK since WW2!

Following the unearthing of the bomb, a mass evacuation of over 10,000 people in the Keyham area took place, and a mission, known as Operation Foster, was put into action. The aim of the mission, remove the bomb from its location, and carry out a controlled explosion to avoid mass destruction of the local area and its infrastructure.


SWH Plymouth Highways, the Ringway team working in the Keyham area, were called in quickly to assist with road closures around the area and to provide as much sand as possible around the area in which the bomb was lying.

In a short amount of time, SWH managed to source over 1200 sandbags which were delivered to site for use by the army. During this planning phase, SWH had to prepare for a number of scenarios, even the prospect of a detonation in situ! Others included structural support, tree surveys, drain surveys and damage cleanup.

The night before the planned explosion, the Royal Navy proposed transporting the bomb from its location to Plymouth Sound and taking it out on a submersible to be detonated safely.

A 6am meeting was called the following morning between Plymouth City Council and SWH to discuss the exclusion zones for the transport and the evacuation zone was extended to keep traffic and residents safe.
SWH quickly created a TM plan to cut off that side of the city to all traffic, which required 29 road closures, 1.5km of lane closures and 25 operatives. This was to be implemented by 12:00 as the bomb was due to be transported at 14:00. The roads were closed at 13:00 but due to issues with the evacuation, the transport was postponed. SWH had to maintain the closures until the time it was transported (after 17:00!).
Dealing with angry motorists and abuse from the public, the operatives maintained their cool and exceeded expectations in a challenging situation. Once the bomb was safely in the water, SWH were requested to fence off the damaged back gardens of the houses to allow some privacy for the returning residents. Following their return, the clean-up commenced with eight SWH operatives clearing up sand, debris and pallets left over from the event.


The efforts put in by the Ringway teams during Operation Foster were exemplary, with Tracey Lee, Chief Executive of Plymouth City Council saying to Operations Manager Steve Tart: "We are writing to express our sincere thanks to you and the staff within South West Highways, that assisted with Operation Foster last week. It was an absolute honour to be a part of such a tremendous multi-agency response; your unwavering dedication, compassion and teamwork were truly commendable."

Phil Bellamy, head of Plymouth Highways, echoed this message by saying: "The crew were amazing in the face of such resistance from many members of the public. I have to single out Steve Tart on this response… He was responsive, super organised and a pleasure to work with. It was a long day and even the Police passed their thanks onto him and the team."

Well done team, and many thanks to all of those involved!

Steve Tart - Staff
Duncan Mortlock - Staff
Gary Bennett - Staff
Darren Packham - Staff
Chris Kerr - Staff
Chris Wright - Staff
Codie Walker - Staff
Andrew Nation - Operative
Rick Steadman - Operative
Lee Nation - Operative
Georgia Dyton - Operative
Darren Limpus - Operative
Rob Boyes - Operative
Tom White – Operative
Ray Thorn - Operative
Brad Henniker - Operative
Sam Horswell - Operative
Darren Bennett - Operative
Simon Andrews - Operative
Jack Nation - Operative
Lee Nation - Operative
Alex Lee - Operative
Shaun Phillips - Operative
Rob Kerr - Operative
Leon Sutton - Operative
James Hill - Operative
Stuart Goves - Operative
Nathan Harvey - Operative

Continue readingRead less
Discover moreDiscover moreDiscover moreRingway Milton Keynes praised for supporting city visit from the King


Ringway Milton Keynes praised for supporting city visit from the King

His Majesty King Charles III visited Milton Keynes on the 16th February to celebrate the newly appointed city status, meeting many local community groups including charitable, business, faith, environmental and arts organisations.

Discover moreDiscover moreDiscover moreRingway Introduces UK's First Plastic Traffic Management Electric Vehicle with Acklea


Ringway Introduces UK's First Plastic Traffic Management Electric Vehicle with Acklea

Traffic management vehicle specialist Acklea has introduced a zero-emission electric-powered model to extend its range of recyclable plastic-bodied 7.2t commercial vehicles. It is the UK's first electric traffic management vehicle of this size.

Get in touch


Thank you for getting in touch. We will be in contact shortly.