A shocked farmer has revealed how he unearthed a deadly British hand grenade while harvesting his asparagus crop in Germany.
The grenade – a Mills No. 36 bomb – was unearthed in a field in Lavelsloh in the Nienburg district of Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany on Tuesday.
After realizing what he had found, the farmer called the police to help get rid of the grenade, which was widely used during the First and Second World Wars.
Experts said the bomb was too unstable to travel and decided to detonate it on the spot in a controlled explosion.
Police cordoned off the area and evacuated 23 neighbors while bomb disposal experts secured the grenade.
It was successfully detonated that night.
The Nienburg/Schaumburg Police Department said in a statement obtained by Zenger News (in German): “On Tuesday (May 10, 2022), a hand grenade was found during ongoing harvesting work in an asparagus field in Lavelsloh. The discoverers alerted the police and fire brigade around 7 p.m.
“After consultation with specialists from the explosive ordnance disposal service in Hanover, the emergency services classified the grenade as untransportable at a distance and decided on a controlled detonation. For this purpose, the site on Mindener Strasse was cordoned off and cleared within a radius of 300 meters.”
“With the support of firefighters and other riot police forces, residential buildings in the radius were evacuated.
“A total of 23 people had to leave their homes for the duration of the measures. Despite the late hour, those affected showed understanding for the safety measures taken by the emergency services. Diepenau fire station has been made available to them as a point of contact.
“Shortly after 11 p.m., the green light is given: the British Type 36 hand grenade has been successfully detonated.
“The area of operation was again liberated by the police and the inhabitants were able to return to their homes.
“In order to be able to inform affected citizens about the current situation in a timely manner, the use of social media was accompanied via the Twitter and Facebook channels of the Nienburg/Schaumburg police department.”
“Mills bomb” is the popular name for a series of British hand grenades which were the first modern fragmentation grenades used by the British military.
They were patented, developed and manufactured by William Mills, a hand grenade designer from Sunderland, England.
They were manufactured at the Mills Munitions factory in Birmingham in 1915 and were in service from that year until August 2021 when their last major operator, India, replaced them.
Filled with the explosive Baratol, they were still in combat use as recently as 2004.
Over 75 million were produced.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.