Artillery shell found in Ridgewell pub garden

An Army bomb disposal officer with the shell found at the Kings Head ANL-140708-162454005
An Army bomb disposal officer with the shell found at the Kings Head ANL-140708-162454005

When Mark Brailsford decided to clear a patch of garden at the rear of the Kings Head in Ridgewell he ended up in a potentially explosive situation by striking into an artillery shell with a pick axe.

Mark was carrying out the work at the pub owned by his wife Dawn at about 4pm on Tuesday of last week (Aug 5) when the unusual discovery was made.

Having some knowledge of military things, Mark quickly had an idea of what he had stumbled across.

Fortunately, the pub is closed on Tuesday’s, so neither the business nor any customers were inconvenienced.

Dawn, who opened the pub last month after completing a 13 month renovation, said: “The reason whey he was using a pick axe was because lots of debris and a metal and all sorts of things had been dumped there so when he hit metal he just thought it was another piece of metal that had been dumped there.

“It wasn’t until he hit it a second time and started to lever it out of the ground that he realised what it was.”

After Mark called Dawn over they agreed to call the Police, who soon decided to call a bomb disposal unit in from Colchester.

Dawn continued: “They looked at it and said yes, it’s definitely an artillery shell, but it’s what they call a practice shell.

“Although it’s not going to explode they can hold a small amount of charge, so they still wanted to take it away and explode it.

“Their sense of humour was fantastic. They found it very amusing that my husband had hit it twice with a pick axe.”

It is believed, added Dawn, that the shell is 30 to 40 years old, although how it ended up buried in the garden remains a mystery.

Dawn added: “Once Mark got his composure back and sat down it was a good job I own a pub because I was able to pour him one. He has never looked so white.”