Thousands evacuated in France for Second World War bomb disposal

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Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes following the discovery of a series of bombs from the Second World War in the French city centre of Rennes.

Sixty five years after the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, the city in Brittany was closed as engineers worked to defuse a 550lb RAF device.

It was one of thousands dropped on northern France in 1944 as Allied troops prepared to invade.

All of the work was being coordinated by France's Département du Déminage (Department of Mine Clearance), which recovers around 1,000 tons of unexploded munitions every year.

Since 1945, around 650 of its staff have died handling unexploded munitions, two as recently as 1998 in the former First World War battlefield of Vimy Ridge.

Their work is concentrated on the so-called 'Iron Harvest' of unexploded ordnance which is littered around the battlefields and bombing targets of northern France....

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