My Door Stop is a WWI Shell

A weight used to prop open a front door for more than 20 years was a German World War I shell packed with explosives.

The time-delay bomb had been in the family since the end of the war in 1918 – played with by generations of children and even kept on the mantelpiece at one time.

Army bomb disposal experts, who took it to a quarry to detonate it after a tip-off from a concerned neighbour, were amazed it had never exploded.

The drama happened at the home of Thelma Bonnett, 68, in Paignton, Devon. She said: ‘I had no idea it was dangerous. Grandfather picked it up on his travels with the Merchant Navy in 1918.

‘When I was young, five of us children would play with it. ‘I don’t think he would have brought it back if he’d known it was live.’

Ms Bonnett’s neighbour, John Malinovskis reported the 18cm (7in) shell after spotting it one day on a visit.

He said: ‘I put two and two together and thought, “that really shouldn’t be there”.’

The bomb squad said a firing mechanism had been activated during World War I but the shell failed to go off.

The mechanism had since fallen off but the ‘live’ explosive could have gone off at any moment.



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