Beaches, forests, farms, even in boxes of household items: UXO really can turn up anywhere


Beaches, forests, farms, even in boxes of household items: UXO really can turn up anywhere 

This last week has been a busy one for items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) turning up in strange places.

UXO is commonly discovered by ground workers, typically on construction sites.  This last week has reminded us that WWI and WWII has left a significant ordnance footprint and that UXO can be found in the most unlikely of places. 

This week, ordnance has washed up on beaches, been discovered in the forest, migrated to farmer’s fields, and even turned up at the bottom of a box of auctioned items!

WWII Incendiary device found in box of items purchased by owner at an auction house 

In Western Canada, Andrew Winger purchased a box of interesting mechanical items from an auction.  At home, he began to properly unpack the box only to discover a strange looking device.  It had a dark-green tail fin, measured approximately 35 cm and weighed about a kilogram.

Andrew was unsure what to make of this unusual find, so he snapped a picture and sent it to a friend who had knowledge of military equipment, on the off chance it was of interest.

The friend promptly contacted him with suspicion that the unidentified object was in fact a WWII German incendiary device!   He advised Andrew to contact the authorities.

The military arrived and evacuated everyone within a 100m radius and blocked off the street.

The device was then confiscated and transported to a secure location where it could be safely detonated.

This thermal energy device is technically not a bomb as it does not contain any explosives.  It is dangerous and sits within the UXO family because it contains chemicals that trigger a reaction that results in fire.

Although this had not yet been triggered, the device still contains chemicals that when triggered can burn to temperatures of over 2000 degrees celsius.  This was an unexpected find for sure!

450kg aerial bomb washed up near Cape Hatteras lighthouse

On Thursday 22nd October, a 450kg aerial bomb from WWII washed up on Buxton beach in North Carolina.

This colossal piece of ordnance resulted in closures to:

  • Cape Hatteras Light Station grounds and parking area
  • Old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse parking area and beach
  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach Access and parking area
  • Buxton Beach Access and parking area.

The bomb was able to be safely detonated by explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts on Friday 23rd.  A dull thud could be felt and sand skyrocketed 60 feet into the air. 

Flood cause the migration of an anti-tank mine

On Saturday 24th October, while working their fields, local farmers found an Indian-made anti tank landmine along the banks of Nullah Dek, near village Pandiyaal.

A bomb disposal squad was alerted to safely deal with the situation.

The item of ordnance weighed 5 kg.  The experts explained that due to recent flash floods the device had migrated into what was believed to be safe grounds.

Forest walker discovers unexploded WWII mortar

79 year old walker, Christopher Taylor often enjoys an off trail wander.   However, during a walk on Saturday 24th October, Christopher discovered an item her thought looked like a WWII mortar. 

The item was found in Thetford Forest near Mildenhall (UK), close to the Icknield Way walking trail.

Christopher said,  “Not everybody gets off the beaten track but I do on a regular basis because I like to follow deer tracks.

It takes you to different and interesting places in the woods and you discover new things, but not usually anything that will blow up.”

Christopher knew that it was impossible to tell the state of the device and that if his suspicions were correct it had been designed to kill.  This meant he knew not to handle the UXO and to contact the authorities immediately.

Army explosive ordnance disposal experts arrived and confirmed that Christopher had correctly identified the device.  They were able to safely destroy the item in situ. 

Mitigate the risk

This last week has shown the impact UXO has on a global scale.  These somber mementos of war can turn up in the most unusual places.  This week we are pleased to report that no one was harmed as a result of these discovered and that the individuals who found them correctly contacted the right people.

If you ever see an item that may be UXO, do not handle it.

It’s always better to mitigate the risk early on. 

Contact SafeLane for more information regarding threat mitigation services.


Published by SafeLane Global on (modified )