In a backpack, a box and a barn: here are the latest bomb finds


From bombs in a barn to mortars as a memento – check out this week’s UXO roundup.

Bewildering barn bomb in a Scottish burgh

In the small town of Aberfeldy, a small Scottish burgh with 1,895 residents, an explosive discovery was made – a 18.5lb World War I bombshell!

The shell was found in the back of a barn in rural Highland Perthshire, surrounded by agricultural equipment.  It has been reported that the shell had been situated there for several decades, unbeknownst to the property owners who have lived there since the 1970s.

After the police were notified, bomb disposal experts were immediately called in from Edinburgh.  This then prompted an emergency evacuation of the premises.

As it was too dark outside to dispose of the ordnance, the shell was guarded overnight.  The 18pdr HE was then detonated by the Edinburgh team the next day.

A lofty discovery

Sandra, a 56-year-old resident of Clacton, was clearing out her loft in preparation to move house when she happened upon a soldier’s box dating back to World War I. Inside, she found a 30mm item of unexploded ordnance (UXO) which she presumed to be safe.

Sandra jokingly played with the device, even pretending to throw it, when she discovered the device was live after researching it on the internet.  The amount of explosives it contained could potentially have destroyed 3-4 neighbouring houses, including her own.

The local police were notified of the discovery, after which bomb squad personnel were sent to the property.  They transported the UXO to Clacton beach where they dug a hole and placed the bomb for a controlled detonation.  The bomb may have detonated sooner than planned as a soldier was close to the detonation.

Sandra commented “I just burst into tears at the shock of it all.  It was just sinking in how serious something which at first seemed like a bit of a joke actually was.” She further added “The fact it has been in my loft for such a long time and then knowing how volatile it actually was.  My 83-year-old mum lives with me and my daughter is often here and she’s pregnant - it doesn’t bear thinking about what could’ve happened.”

Shell souvenir from Switzerland surprises airport security

A 28-year-old man was preparing to travel via Munich airport when he was stopped by airport security for having an unexploded, live mortar shell in his backpack!

This sent Munich airport into an immediate lockdown until specialists were able to retrieve and safely dispose of the shell, causing dozens of delayed flights.

The 28-year-old said he found the abandoned ordnance whilst on a hiking trip in Switzerland, and ‘forgot’ it was in his backpack.  Presumably, the man did not know the mortar was still live and could have detonated.  Regardless, it is likely he will face criminal charges for breaching aviation safety laws and will have to pay for the cost of disposal operations.

The 28-year-old man could also potentially be sued by the airport for the losses incurred.

All of the foregoing highlights one important fact – if you find a suspicious item that could potentially be unexploded ordnance, immediately report it to the relevant experts and do not disturb it. 

There is a high chance the ordnance, if still live, could potentially detonate.

That’s all, folks

With that, we have reached the end of another UXO wrap up – and what have we learned?  If you find unexploded ordnance, do not play with it – and certainly do not try to keep it as a souvenir or take it on a plane!

Unexploded ordnance is no joke and should always be treated with a “worst-case-scenario” mindset.  Even if you are unsure – call in the experts.  UXO could be hiding in your house or in your barn – it does not mean it is safe just because it has not detonated yet.

If you’re constructing a property or clearing land, contact us today for a BombRisk report.  Find out the risk level in your area and what can be done to mitigate it.



Published by SafeLane Global on