Oxford-Cambridge boat race will go ahead after removal of WW2 bomb

Richard Cosgrove

The annual boat race between Oxford University and Cambridge University will go ahead today, after a suspected World War Two bomb was removed from the river.

The "submerged" device was discovered on Saturday (1 April), but experts had to wait until 1am GMT for the Thames' tide to recede enough for them to inspect the bomb.

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The Metropolitan Police (Met) have said the area around the ordinance, which is near Putney Bridge, west London, remains open, reports the BBC.

In a statement the Met said: "Police were called by a member of the public at approximately 13:50 BST on Saturday... reporting what they thought to be World War Two ordnance on the Chelsea shoreline by Putney Bridge. Officers including the Marine Policing Unit are in attendance."

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Michelle Dite, race director of the Boat Race, said on Saturday: "At this stage the races will go ahead as planned. Any decisions regarding changes to the event will be made in conjunction with the police."

Around 300,000 people are expected to watch the boat race.

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While it is unlikely that a bomb from the Second World War will explode, they are inherently unstable and still pose a risk to life. In January 2014, an Allied bomb on a building site detonated in Bonn, Germany, after being disturbed by a digger. The digger's drive was killed.

The women's race begins at 4:35pm and the men's race at 5.35pm.

This year marks the 163rd race between Oxford University's "Dark Blues" teams and Cambridge University's "Light Blues". The first race between two all-male teams was held in 1829, but it was nearly a century, 1927, before the women's race was first held.

The race takes place along a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course, which runs between Putney and Mortlake along the River Thames.

Over the last five years, Oxford has won three of the races. However, Cambridge is the overall leader having won 82 of the Boat Races, three more than Oxford, since 1829. Only one race, held in 1877, has ever ended in a draw.

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