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  1. ITV Report

First World War mustard gas canisters recovered from bottom of lake

Mustard gas canisters were discovered in lake in Lincolnshire. Credit: ITV News

Divers have recovered 10 First World War mustard gas bombs from the bottom of a lake.

Canisters of the potentially-lethal gas were first discovered by two bottle diggers on 1 October, the Royal Navy said.

The pair received minor burns and were taken to hospital with respiratory problems.

Two men received minor burns after they discovered the gas canisters. Credit: ITV News

Eight days later, after using sonar to map Stixwould Lake near the village of Woodhall Spa, Lincoln, Royal Navy divers donned chemical suits and spent three hours underwater removing the 6lb bombs.

The explosives were then handed over to Lincolnshire Police, who are investigating how they came to be on the lake bed.

The area was once the site of RAF Woodhall Spa, a wartime bomber base used by the legendary Dambusters, 617 Squadron.

The Royal Navy was called in to investigate the findings. Credit: ITV News

Petty Officer Jonathan Norris, who led the divers, said:

It was a bit of a mission. With reports of other people suffering from mustard agent poisoning, full bio-hazard precautions were taken, diving in a chemical environment wearing cumbersome personal protection equipment, then undergoing full decontamination at every stage.

The bombs themselves were British and well over 70 years old, the UK no longer uses chemical or biological weapons.

– Jonathan Norris, Petty Officer, Royal Navy
The area was once the site of wartime bomber base RAF Woodhall Spa. Credit: ITV News