ARC2002_10.jpg Bomb crater at Bell Block training ground (1943). Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-10).

Following the entry of Japan to World War Two, in December 1941, the threat of invasion to New Zealand became a real possibility. The superiority of the Japanese air force and their notorious heavy bombing raids, led the New Zealand Government to mobilise several specialist bomb disposal groups. The 2/C Section, New Zealand Bomb Disposal Group, was a Territorial Army unit responsible for the disposal of mines, bombs, shells, mortars, and grenades found in Taranaki. However opportunities to practise for the 2/C Section were few and far between, and most live bombs were provided for detonation by the RNZAF. This photograph shows the crater formed by a 112 kilogram anti-shipping bomb detonated during practise at the Bell Block training ground in 1943.

One real-life emergency did arise when, on 15 February 1943, an enemy mine was discovered being pounded by heavy seas into the rocks below the Belt Road camp site. The 2/C Section decided that it was too risky to detonate the bomb at this site. 2/C member, and strong swimmer, George Wood, volunteered to secure the bomb with a rope, which he then swam to a launch that towed the mine into shore near the mouth of the Waiwhakaiho River where it was disarmed.

Related Information


Search the Puke Ariki Heritage Collection


Please do not reproduce these images without permission from Puke Ariki. 
Contact us for more information or you can order images online here.