Huntingdonshire family find World War Two artillery shell in garden
- Credit: Archant
A FAMILY made an explosive discovery while gardening in their Warboys home at the weekend ... an artillery shell from the Second World War.
Rick and Lisa Tipton were clearing their garden in their newly-bought home in Church Road on Sunday morning (April 14) when their uncle, Patrick Forestar, uncovered a 10-inch mystery object just beneath the surface.
Mr Tipton, 40, told The Hunts Post: “We didn’t know what it was at first as it was covered in mud.”
When Mr Tipton’s uncle told him it was an artillery shell after scratching mud off the brass surface, he took it to the garage, rang the police and returned to his gardening.
Mr Tipton, managing director of TC Installation, said: “The police arrived shortly afterwards and took pictures to send to the MoD. They have pictures they compared them to.
“After a while, the officers came out and told us we needed to leave and go at least 100 metres as that’s how much damage they could do.
“The bomb squad X-rayed the device and found it didn’t contain any explosive and the cordon was lifted. It’s amazing that it has laid undiscovered there for at least 70 years, especially as it was so close to the surface.”
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A church council meeting in nearby St Mary Magdalene Church was disrupted by officers telling neighbours to evacuate the area.
Mr Tipton said the shell was taken away for tests.
Mrs Tipton said: “Rick put it in the garage, which is a bit of a monstrosity as it is, so I wouldn’t have minded if it had exploded in there.”
The Tiptons believe the shell was a dummy artillery round that would have been fired during training sessions in which new recruits were shown how to load and fire the anti-aircraft guns.
Mr Tipton said that a day earlier they had found a 6ft piece of marble.
“We intend to use anything we find in the garden as part of our renovations, if it’s good enough,” he said, “but I don’t think we’ll see the shell again.”
Heather Dowman, who used to live at the address with the Rev Peter Dowman, said: “We were there for nine years and, luckily, we were never fans of gardening.
“We would have quite liked having a bomb in the garden, it would have been an attraction – come around to see the bomb and have a cup of coffee!”
A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman confirmed officers were called at 10.40am.
She said: “The road was cordoned off and explosives experts from RAF Wittering checked the device was safe. The cordon was lifted at 1.30pm.”