Britain's Mixed Legacy on Heligoland

I was fighting off the cold with beer and bratwurst when my friend Judy suggested I speak to the boys in blue. Three men in uniform were nursing gluhwein in a corner of the makeshift bar that was really no more than a tent.

Crime is not one of the waves lapping at Heligoland's shores. The last murder - a crime of passion, apparently - took place more than 200 years ago. Few of the 1,600 inhabitants even bother to lock their doors.


But if not the Bronx, this small fog-bound candidate for the lost city of Atlantis still harbours secrets.

In fact, it turned out that my new drinking companions were not policemen after all, but a crack team of bomb disposal experts flown in from Schleswig-Holstein on the mainland.

"Busy day?" I asked.

In reply, I got a cold, but curious stare. Then one of the trio broke into a slow smile. "Two British bombs," he said. "Tomorrow we will send you the bill."

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