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Only a door stop!


Gunner Bailey
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Yesterday's Metro newspaper carried an article about the door stop used in the household of Thelma Bonnett of Paignton, Devon. The photo showed a quite nice shell (looks like a Jack Johnson, but was said to be 7 inches high) that had been fired but was a dud. Thelma's grandad, Authur Croxhall, had brought it back from the war in 1918. A neighbour was suspicious about it and reported it. The 'bomb sqaud' said the fuse was no longer live but the explosive 'could have gone off at any moment'. It was taken to a quarry and blown up.

Here's the link http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?i...p;in_page_id=34

Nice story. At least that one didn't end up on e-bay!

Gunner Bailey

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The 'bomb sqaud' said the fuse was no longer live but the explosive 'could have gone off at any moment'.

Gunner Bailey

Some years ago whilst walking the beat I was sent to a housing development where a JCB had unearthed something. On arrival an unexploded WW2 500lb bomb had been discovered.

The local yobbery had decided it would be highly amusing to pelt the aforementionned item with bricks and bits of wood. Thankfully it didn't go of, but the bomb disposal lot said it was still as volatile as the day it was made.

Having considered the area it was in and the yobs who were pelting it, perhaps it's a shame it didn't go off.

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See my Previous Posting on "Is Selling Somme Relics Illegal"

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A similar, but WW2 related, report which appeared in the Daily Record of 26 April 2006:

WAR BOMBS FOUND IN BAR

A PUB was evacuated by police after a worried customer spotted two World War II shells used as ornaments.

A bomb disposal team sealed off the Westlake Arms in Cwmavon, Gwent after a Ministry of Defence worker warned they could explode.

Landlord Cyril Davies said the shells had been in the family since his father brought them home from war.

Cyril, 55, said: "My mother used to use one of them when she was rolling out pastry."

The all-clear was given after two hours.

Dave

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I mentioned in a similar recent thread the way in which many explosives become unstable over time. The reason is that explosives that detonate (as opposed to gun powder that burns very fast) from Dynamite to the explosives of WW2 were made by incorporating an explosive very sensitive to shock (originally nitro glycerine) in a matrix that desensitised it so it could be handled safely and only a very sharp shock (such as produced by the explosion of a detonator) could set it off. Nobel achieved this by incorporating the nitro glycerine in a clay matrix (but it didn't desensitise it enough to make it safe to fire from a gun and under heat or with age the matrix breaks down so that the charge sweats pure nitro glycering making it very dangerous). Attempts were made to get round this by using a liquid matrix (but in very cold weather the matrix froze before the nitro which was freeze distilled out - very dodgy). The later explosives used in WW1 & WW2 shells and bombs used a similar technique but the chemistry was better understood and the explosive was usually very safe to handle and could only be detonated with another explosive (one technique for dealing with UXBs was to burn the explosive out as fire would not set it off). However over time the matrix crystalizes and the mix once again becomes sensitive and will explode without the need for a detonator. This makes the disposal of old ordinance difficult.

In the 1950s the RAF technique was to dig a deep pit in peat (which deadens the shock wave of an explosive) place the bombs and shells to be disposed of very gently in this, cover with sand bags and fill the pit in again with peat. The munitions were then exploded using a charge on a control wire buried with the munitions. In case this sailed a second charge on a long timer was also buried with the load. If neither went off or the main charge failed to explode then , after a due wait, the pit had to be reexcavated (very very carefully and by hand) and fresh charges inserted. My uncle was a Flt Lt in charge of this process (Carrington Moss in Cheshire was one site used for disposal) and he said that any digging out was a tense proposition (I think he understated it) but fortunately very rare.

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While living in Greece I was unfortunate enough to see a local man killed by a WWII 500-pound bomb going off. It seems the airfield we were using had been also used by the Germans during the war, and bombed.

He was out digging and hit the thing. I was standing across the road and one minute he was there, then there was a huge plume of dust, and then concussion and sound (can't remember which order) and he was simply gone.

These things really can kill you....no joke.

Paul

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Sounds funny now, but when I was about 11 a school friend brought one of his Grandad's WWII hand grenades to school. Not to worry, they weren't live. It was showed off and passed around the history class. A few days later we discovered that said school friend had been given a good kicking by said Grandad, because he'd nicked it and taken it to school without Grandad knowing.

Anyway, it came to pass that a few years later I discovered that said Grandad had a store of all things deadly for when the Soviet's came.

I suspect that the grenade we joyously tossed about the schoolroom may well have been live.....

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Pals,

About 2 years ago I was sitting in my car outside the Ulster tower looking at my maps and a coach pulled up behind the car......As usual all the kids and teachers left the coach and stood around having a talk by the wall, I noticed that one of the kids at the back of the group dropped something into the grass area where the Orange memorial used to stand I thought nothing of it for a while but once the coach had left I got out the car to start my walk and went over to the spot where this item was dropped..............Only a live egg grenade!!!!!!!!.

Ian. :wacko:

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They will Explode when subjected to intense Heat or a Violent concussion I.E. some Person attempting to Saw or Chisel off the Shells Drive Band or Nose Cap,or simply Dropping or Knocking,or Picking Up Said Munitions,Inside these Munitions the Mechanism and Explosive are as NEW as the Day that They were Made.It simply takes that ONE action to Detonate them.

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If these things are live and could go off any minute, why aren't they going off every minute?

That, my friend, is the best question I have heard all week.

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Sadly a recent post on the battlefield news section on the Guild of Battlefield Guides website reported a 21 year old Frenchman being killed back in March by a mortar bomb he had discovered at Verdun. Explosive experts are said to have removed 2-3 TONS of explosive ammunition and debris from his house. Even more tragically two members of the French Army bomb disposal squad were killed in April handling old munitions. So thay look harmless and doubtless the majority are ...but.......SG

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It has recently been announced by the Eygptian Govt,that they plan to develop the Battle Area of El Alamein in to the Worlds Premier Golf Course.Only problem halting the proposed Development ?....23,000,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance affecting an Area of 3,000 Square Kilometres.Since 1945 700 people have been killed and 8,000 injured.

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Allegedly from a U.S. Army training manual:

"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend!"

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Just think of a fully fused and filled Grand Slam (22,000lb) - used as a "gate guardian" at RAF Scampton - from Wikipedia:

In the late 1950s, due to rebuilding work, the gate guardian – then a Grand Slam bomb – had to be moved. Efforts to lift it with a crane proved futile, as it was heavier than expected. Upon closer examination, it was discovered to be still filled with live explosives. It was cautiously trucked away and detonated on a test range. It is unclear when or how a live bomb managed to be put on display, but it seems that it was in place for well over a decade.

Now imagine if it went off........

(apparently when it was destroyed at Shoeburyness Range it was heard/felt in London).

Edward

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Just think of a fully fused and filled Grand Slam (22,000lb) - used as a "gate guardian" at RAF Scampton - from Wikipedia:

In the late 1950s, due to rebuilding work, the gate guardian – then a Grand Slam bomb – had to be moved. Efforts to lift it with a crane proved futile, as it was heavier than expected. Upon closer examination, it was discovered to be still filled with live explosives. It was cautiously trucked away and detonated on a test range. It is unclear when or how a live bomb managed to be put on display, but it seems that it was in place for well over a decade.

Now imagine if it went off........

(apparently when it was destroyed at Shoeburyness Range it was heard/felt in London).

Edward

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That, my friend, is the best question I have heard all week.

But it is a question that demonstrates ignorance and/or contempt.

No, the vast amount of unexploded ordnance lying around in many parts of the world (and possibly at a town near you)

does not explode every minute.

But it has THE POTENTIAL TO DO SO.

Ignore that at your peril.

Ian

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Yesterday's Metro newspaper carried an article about the door stop used in the household of Thelma Bonnett of Paignton, Devon. The photo showed a quite nice shell (looks like a Jack Johnson, but was said to be 7 inches high) that had been fired but was a dud. Thelma's grandad, Authur Croxhall, had brought it back from the war in 1918. A neighbour was suspicious about it and reported it. The 'bomb sqaud' said the fuse was no longer live but the explosive 'could have gone off at any moment'. It was taken to a quarry and blown up.

A workmate of mine was bricking herself....she lives across the road!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone for contributing so far. I've just returned form holiday in France so am catching up.

Whilst on holiday I found another story in a the newspaper Adjord'hui on the 17th July.

The story was of an unnamed 62 year old man from near Chartres who had his own muesum of items from WW2. His house was raided by customs officials and it was found that he had many live items in his collection. Whilst he was authorised to hold some firearms, the authorities took away the following:

6 Rifles

Many kilos of ammunition

34 shells

5 Bombs

21 Mortars and grenades

These all dated from WW2 and 'represented a real danger and were disarmed'.

Some people need saving from themselves!

Gunner Bailey

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is from an entry in another forum for ex-pats resident in France.

Question - "Anyone have experience of recovery following loss of an eye?"[/i]

"After a stupid and easily avoidable accident and a week in the specialist eye hospital I am currently blind in one eye and have accepted that it will probably remain that way".

Reply - "......... was the accident WW1 related - don't answer if you don't want to!"

OP's Reply - "Thank you all for your replies.

I consider myself very lucky to have survived and be enjoying every new day, if in one year or whenever like ****'s nephew I will be able to do most things then that is fantastic.

In fact a lot of the problems I am experiencing are not in the adjustment but realising and coming to terms with the fact that the remaining eye was the weaker one, now, on its own I am very aware of its limitations for close work and reading etc. However an eyetest and some new glasses should improve that.

*****, I was stupidly disactivating some WW1 munitions!

I had happily lived side by side with them as ornaments until my family visited and pressurised me to get rid of them. On reflection of what could happen to say the Pompiers in a fire, I decided that I had to either hand them over to the service deminage or make them safe to keep.

The addition of a little alcohol to the equation and the result, with hindsight was inevitable".

The idiot concerned then has the audacity to sign himself off with the tag line "Le dernier mec blessé par la première guerre mondiale"!

Or for the benefit of non-French speakers - "The last guy wounded by the First World War."

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*****, I was stupidly disactivating some WW1 munitions!

I had happily lived side by side with them as ornaments until my family visited and pressurised me to get rid of them. On reflection of what could happen to say the Pompiers in a fire, I decided that I had to either hand them over to the service deminage or make them safe to keep.

The addition of a little alcohol to the equation and the result, with hindsight was inevitable".

Some people are amazing. Doing this untrained and with a few drinks inside them!!!!!!!!!!

When I was at school one of my friends got hold of a few .22 blanks left over from sports day. He hit one with a hammer and not being contained in a steel chamber, it sent shards of copper everywhere. One piece sliced right across his hand and needed stitches. An early lesson in the effects of shrapnal and how even something like a primer or a very small blank round can injure.

Gunner Bailey

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It turned out that he was trying to make safe a selection of "German army bullets". Apparently since the incident, he has given up drink completely!

At my suggestion, he has now also removed the tag line from his forum musings.

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At my suggestion, he has now also removed the tag line from his forum musings.

Now a bit wiser but at such a cost.

Mind you his tag line was right, until the next one, and the next one.......

Gunner Bailey

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