Military expert explains explosive device after charity scare

Police and a bomb disposal squad at Drayton on Thursday. Pictured inset is militaria expert Ian Clark

Police and a bomb disposal squad at Drayton on Thursday. Pictured inset is militaria expert Ian Clark - Credit: Antony Kelly/Priscilla Bacon Hospice

An explosive artillery shell which gave city charity workers the fright of their lives has been identified by a group of military enthusiasts. 

The Priscilla Bacon Hospice retail warehouse in Drayton was evacuated for several hours on Thursday as a bomb disposal squad was called in. 

The live First World War explosive was detonated in a field later that day.

The World War One artillery shell which was donated to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Retail Warehouse in Drayton

The First World War artillery shell which was donated to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice retail warehouse in Drayton - Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice

The Norfolk Military Vehicle Group - which comprises of ex-forces and military enthusiasts - has since noted the British Kite Mark in an online photo of the explosive.

This indicated the shell was British and dates back to around 1916. 

Ian Clark, 70, a member of the group who used to serve in a parachute regiment, said: "If it was deactivated it would be worth around £20 to £30. 

A bomb squad and police were called to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Retail Warehouse in Drayton on Thursday 

A bomb squad and police were called to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice retail warehouse in Drayton on Thursday - Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice

"Unfortunately the bomb squad blew it up. A lot of people throw things away which are worth money. Believe me, there are people who collect these kind of things with an absolute passion." 

It is understood Priscilla Bacon Hospice staff are unaware who donated the First World War shell as they only take note of an individual's details when they are using Gift Aid. 

First World War pillbox at Bradfield. Militaria expert Ian Clark. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Militaria expert Ian Clark - Credit: Archant

Staff wondered whether the shell was donated after a house clearance following a passing.

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Mr Clark said: "The top of the bomb has a fuse for the shell which screws on. They might crop up more so in Europe on the battlefields in France and Belgium.

"There is tonnes of it. People are more aware of it now and this is all over the world. You will never get rid of it. Just look at the wars in Ukraine and Afghanistan. 

"Most of the live action stuff in the UK happened in designated areas like Slapton Sands."

A controlled detonation of the artillery shell which was donated to a Norfolk charity

A controlled detonation of the artillery shell which was donated to a Norfolk charity - Credit: Contributed

Jordan Codling, retail business manager for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice charity said: "We are incredibly grateful to the police and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team for their swift actions to make safe this artillery shell." 

Jordan Codling, retail business manager for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice charity

Jordan Codling, retail business manager for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice charity - Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice

Priscilla Bacon Hospice has confirmed no other military items were donated at the same time. 

The charity has pledged to note any future items which may be of interest to the Norfolk Military Vehicle Group.