Divers retrieve World War Two 'bouncing bombs' from Scottish loch

LONDON (Reuters) - Divers have recovered two World War Two-era "bouncing bombs" from the bottom of a Scottish loch after a seven-year hunt aided by the British navy.

The spherical Highball devices, developed by British war-time "Dambuster" engineer Barnes Wallis, are similar to the bombs used to destroy German dams during the war.

They did not contain explosives and were used as a prototype for tests, the British Sub-Aqua Club, which led search, said in a statement.

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World War II 'bouncing bombs' recovered

British Sub-Aqua Club divers a Highball bouncing bomb recovered yesterday from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

British Sub-Aqua Club divers a Highball bouncing bomb recovered yesterday from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Divers from the Royal Navy and the British Sub-Aqua Club are recovering two Highball bouncing bombs from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

British Sub-Aqua Club divers a Highball bouncing bomb recovered yesterday from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

British Sub-Aqua Club divers a Highball bouncing bomb recovered yesterday from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

British Sub-Aqua Club divers a Highball bouncing bomb recovered yesterday from Loch Striven on July 19, 2017 in Loch Striven,Scotland. More than two hundred of the spherical bombs were tested on the Loch on the Glenstriven Estate on the Argyll peninsula during World War Two. Highball was the military codename for the weapons, a naval version of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bombs used in the Dambusters raid in May 1943.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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Divers from the club, assisted by a navy ship and crane, hauled the bombs from Loch Striven, west of Glasgow, on Wednesday and Thursday. They now intend to offer them to aviation museums.

"It was unbelievable to see the first one come out of the water," project leader Mark Paisey said.

"It was covered in mud and marine crustaceans but when we cleaned it off it was perfectly preserved, down to the nuts and bolts. No-one has seen one of these for the best part of 75 years, so it was quite emotional to see it close up."

The Highball bombs were intended for use against Germany's Tirpitz battleship, but were never deployed due to the positioning of the vessel in a Norwegian fjord.

They were then moved to the Pacific for use against Japanese ships, but the war ended before they could be used.

(Reporting by Arese Joe-Oshodi; editing by William Schomberg and Alexander Smith)

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