Poppy Appeal collector handed dud bomb

11:30 17 November 2012

An inert bomb handed in to Dave O'Connor, chairman of Sidmouth Royal British Legion. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6731-45-12AW

An inert bomb handed in to Dave O'Connor, chairman of Sidmouth Royal British Legion. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6731-45-12AW

Archant

A Poppy Appeal collector outside a Sidmouth supermarket was asked a dangerous favour – to dispose of a bomb.

Dave O’Connor, chairman of the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion, was approached outside Lidl by a man who had come across the device in his garden.

He said: “I didn’t know the guy, but he said ‘Dave, can you help me dispose of something?’”

The man visited his house and presented him with a German World War Two incendiary cluster bomb.

Dave said: “The man told me it had been sitting in his shed for a long time, and he just wanted to get rid of it.”

It turned out he was the right man for the job – after alarming his wife by bringing it into the house his bomb expert friend confirmed it was inert.

He now hopes the harmless device will be accepted by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter as part of an exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of the blitz of the city.

Thousands of incendiary bombs were dropped across the country and many people may have come across them in their gardens and even kept them as souvenirs of the war.

A report on the B1-E1 model found that the impact speed would need to have been quite high to cause a detonation, so there must have been quite a number of duds.

“A lot of people had things as ‘souvenirs’ and they might be worried they are still dangerous and don’t know how to get rid of them,” said Dave.

He has appealed for anyone who finds one to inform the police.

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