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Young boy finds unexploded World War 1 "Mills Bomb" hand grenade at beach

Police were alerted today (Saturday 28

May) after a young boy discovered what he believed to be a hand grenade while at the beach.

The child was out on the beach at Cultra, County Down, when he came across the unusual find. The boy remained at the scene until police arrived and was able to tell officers where the device was.

Police contacted Ammunition Technical Officers (ATO) who attended and confirmed it was an unexploded World War 1 ‘Mills Bomb’ hand grenade. Officers accompanied ATO to Crawfordsburn Country Park where a controlled explosion was carried out.

A spokesperson for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said:

“This was a live grenade that was capable of exploding.

“A big thank you to the young lad who found the grenade and alerted police. Thanks to all involved.”

Originally developed in Belgium in the early 1900’s, the self-igniting hand grenade

was adapted by William Mills of Mills Co, and it was considered to be a valuable asset for British soldiers in the trenches.

Mills, an experienced engineer, he was given the task of redesigning the grenade, making it safer and more efficient than its Belgian counterpart.

Resembling a small pineapple due to its segmented outer form, these segments were originally designed to fragment. Due to the nature of explosives, however, they failed to do so, but instead provided a firm grip in the wet conditions of the trenches.