WW2 High explosive shell discovered in Portmahomack, Scotland.

We were recently in communication with one of our readers – Stuart Payne, throughout his discovery and the involvement of the Scottish Bomb disposal unit. Here’s Stuart’s story –

“It was a stormy wet weekend in October in Portmahomack in the Highlands of Scotland.

I had planned on detecting a recently harvested potato field to see if I could find more of the silver brooch that I had previously found a segment of in the summer on a path between the crops. So I braced the mist and drizzle on the Sunday afternoon.

Swinging my Simplex in the field I noticed 3 piles of stones and cast off potatoes and thought their could be something in there. There wasn’t. On my way back to my original line of travel I came across a solid great signal. I dug, checked, dug and checked until I got through the top soil and down to a layer of stones. So I really went at It and a piece of rusty metal appeared. It didn’t look like a plough part. I thought this could a bomb or a box of treasure. Both in some ways could of spelt my retirement.

Having only recently had a long chat with a bomb clearance expert on our local military range and explaining my hobby he swiftly warned me of the dangers of old bombs and how volatile they become with age. So I dug a bigger hole is the item wouldn’t need any levering with the shovel. Then up it came. Immediately I knew. Back it went and I kicked the soil back on top.

I thought I’d be safe and stopped the dog fetching it for me which he has now got into the habit of with large lumps of iron.

I called the Police and several hours later they arrived in the dark. I walked them back to roughly where it had been found but I couldn’t really see. We put out some tape to mark the area. First thing Monday I went back with 2 new officers. I took my detector just in case, as I thought we had taped the area of the wrong hole. Luckily I managed to find the original one again and the officers were very impressed. They then wanted to see it…. so with everyone one stood around I dug down gently and grab it out the hole. Probably not a good idea but i figured it would of gone off in the night if it was going to.

I contacted Dave Sadler of the Archaeology and Metal Detecting Magazine to let him know what I had found. He contacted Nick West of the Metal Detecting War Relics Facebook group Who identified the find as a High Explosive Shell.

The Bomb disposal Unit were called, but a 5 hour trip from Edinburgh and having to go to work, I was not present for the collection. The Police informed me that the shell had been taken to Fort George in Inverness for disposal.

I didn’t realise metal detecting was an extreme sport!”

Thanks to Stuart for contacting us and to Nick West for helping with the Identification of the Shell.

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