Exmouth widow speaks of ‘surreal’ moment her home was raided by a bomb disposal unit

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 June 2018

A World War One artillery shell which was 'kicking around' an Exmouth pensioner's house.

A World War One artillery shell which was 'kicking around' an Exmouth pensioner's house.

Archant

The sleepy home of an Exmouth widow was raided by a bomb disposal team after fears were raised that a World War One artillery shell she kept in her kitchen might still be live ammunition.

The World War One artillery shell.The World War One artillery shell.

Judith Livermore, 82, of Brixington, had been ‘kicking’ the device around her kitchen for two weeks after buying it for a military memorabilia-mad friend believing it to be an army ornament.

The device had been sitting in a garage for 26 years and had previously been used as a door stop.

It was only when Judith’s friend came to collect it that fears were raised that the timing mechanism could still be live.

After hurriedly taking the shell to the end of her garden the police were called shortly after, followed by a bomb disposal unit from the Royal Navy Southern Diving Group.

The timing mechanism which gave rise to suspicion that the device might still be liveThe timing mechanism which gave rise to suspicion that the device might still be live

The Royal Navy confirmed the bomb was a World War One nine-centimetre artillery shell and had been detonated at a range in Cornwall.

Judith said: “It was surreal, but it didn’t frighten me one bit. I have been sleeping here with it for two weeks.

“I just thought ‘if it goes off, I might get a new fence out of it’.

“I’m still laughing about it because I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.”

The World War One artillery shell which was thought to have still been live.The World War One artillery shell which was thought to have still been live.

Judith had been asked by a friend’s son to look out for war memorabilia and she had heard another friend had some old military medals and photo albums to sell.

Judith purchased the artillery shell – which she thought had been converted into an ornament – for £10 and took it home with her.

A spokesperson for the Royal Navy said: “It was a German World War One nine centimetre artillery shell.

“They couldn’t say if it was safe so they took it back to the naval base where they x-rayed it.

“The fuse was still live but there were no explosives in there.

“It is still something you wouldn’t want to be using as a door stop.

“They took it to their range in Cornwall and they detonated it.

“We would advise that anyone check what you have put in your home. If you have any doubts, check with police.”

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