Lawyer digs up “crates of bottles” only to discover they were WWII grenades

A lawyer working in his garden uncovered two crates lying buried for more than 70 years.

James Osborne thought they held bottles – until they started smoking.

The father of three called the police and within minutes his home in Hampshire was sealed off.

The “bottles” weren’t bottles but WWII hand grenades.

James said: “Initially, we didn’t realise how significant it was.

“They looked like milk bottles.

“We were lifting them out and putting them on the side and thought we could carry on with the work.

“But a couple of them were smoking so we thought it best to call the police and then we had the fire brigade, about five or six ambulances all preparing for a controlled explosion.”

The phosphorus grenades were gently placed in a skip surrounded by a wall of water.

Then a bomb disposal team detonated the cache.

It’s thought the grenades were given out to the local Dad’s Army in case the Germans attacked.

Winchester Police said:

“A military bomb disposal team safely carrying out a controlled explosion.

“In all, just over 45 of the phosphorous grenades around the size of a milk bottle were located in the garden on Petersfield Road.

“They have now been disposed of.

“No one was hurt in the incident.”

Mr Osborne said his children found it all “very exciting” – but the air was filled with the “smell of rotten eggs”.

About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV’s Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.