unexploded device

An unexploded device has been encountered by builders at a private dwelling in Chelmsford, Essex.

The item of unexploded ordnance (UXO) was found during renovation works, presumably involving disturbance of virgin soil. Although this cannot be guaranteed. 

A number of other homes in the area were evacuated as a precaution. The army bomb squad later transported the “WWII bomb” to Admirals Park where they carried out a controlled explosion.

Click here for a news article.

What was the item of UXO?

A “WWII bomb” reported in the media can often be misleading. Many types of UXO are often misreported as bombs.

The fact that the unexploded device was detonated nearby confirms that it was not a WWII German ‘iron’ bomb. That is, a large bomb weighing at least 34kg. The article suggests that a worker inadvertently removed the fuse with a shovel. This indicates a greater likelihood that it was a small / medium artillery shell. As opposed to a 1kg German bomb or any other item of historic British ammunition.

Capture 1 Unexploded device encountered during home improvement works
The controlled explosion in Admirals Park produced a white cloud.
Why was UXO found in a private garden?

As Tower Avenue has been a residential street for some 100 years, there are three likely scenarios. Firstly, a small bomb or shell fell from the air during WWII and buried itself in the garden, unseen.

Secondly, the same scenario, however the device did not completely penetrate the ground. The inhabitant found the unexploded device and then buried it; out of sight out of mind.

Finally, when servicemen returned from foreign battlefields, it was not uncommon for them to bring home souvenirs. Surprisingly, soldiers well aware of the associated hazard occasionally brought back unexploded ordnance. Any inherited yet unwanted items could then have been buried.