South Scotland

Power workers unearth Home Guard grenades near Tongland Dam

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPower workers unearth Home Guard grenades near Tongland Dam

Engineers working on a routine power network upgrade have stumbled across a stash of 70 unexploded Home Guard phosphorous grenades.

They were found near Tongland Dam in Dumfries and Galloway on Wednesday.

The team from SP Energy Networks (Spen) called in the bomb squad who put an exclusion zone in place and carried out a controlled explosion.

Three properties were evacuated for safety reasons and the power supply to 60 homes was briefly turned off.

Duncan Muir, team leader for Spen, which is based in Dumfries, was in charge of the team on the ground.

Image copyright Scottish Power
Image caption An exclusion zone was set up and a controlled explosion carried out

He said: "The lads thought it was old milk at first when they saw the yellowed glass bottles, then one started slowly smoking and that's when our health and safety training kicked in.

"We covered them back over with soil and retreated to a safe distance to call the fire brigade and the Ministry of Defence.

"The bomb squad were soon on site and knew exactly what to do."

Anti-tank weapon

He added: "I've worked for SP Energy Networks for almost 30 years and have never come across anything like this before."

"We certainly didn't expect to come across something like this.

"It's a first for me ... and hopefully a last too."

The grenades unearthed by the Spen team were commonly known as the Sip (self-igniting phosphorus) grenade and were primarily to be used as an anti-tank weapon.

The Home Guard - volunteers tasked with defending Britain's coastline during World War Two - hid caches of them during the war for use in the event of an invasion.

However, not all locations were officially recorded and some caches were lost.

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites