24 No. 76 Phosphorous grenades found in back garden


This would wake you up in a hurry !!
I find it incredible just what ammunition is found in unexpected places many years later.
Sometimes it takes fifty years + before we even hear the story.

"How a bit of weekend DIY unearthed 24 WW2 grenades in a quiet back garden
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:11 PM on 10th May 2010

Ian Cooke, 28, a financial advisor, was digging in his garden when he smashed through a buried glass bottle.

His surprise turned to shock when he then pulled his spade out of the ground to find that the tip of it was smoking.
As fumes began billowing from the hole the financial adviser called 999 and bomb disposal experts later discovered a cache of 24 Dad’s Army phosphorous grenades.

Explosive situation: Emergency services arrive in force outside Ian Cooke’s house in Halesowen, west Mids, after he uncovered the grenades buried in his garden
The Royal Logistic Corps was still extracting the devices from the back garden of the house in Halesowen, West Midlands, yesterday.
Mr Cook, 28, said he found the weapons, which would have been prepared for the Home Guard during World War II, two feet below the lawn as he dug holes for the joists of garden decking on Saturday.

He said: 'I noticed a smell like diesel and then saw a glass vial in the bottom of the hole. When I dipped the tip of my spade in it, the metal started smoking and I realised this was serious.
'The bomb disposal team told me that 24 No 76 type phosphorous grenades had been found - I was gobsmacked.

‘I’m glad I didn’t take any chances. I know nothing about weapons and grenades but knew this could be dangerous.’

Dangerous DIY: Mr Cooke behind police tape today. He unearthed the deadly cache while digging holes for decking
’When smoke started pluming out of the hole I just ran inside and called 999.
'The bomb experts said that they were going to open the rest of the grenades submerged in water - it makes the phosphorous safe by diluting it.
'I was supposed to be going to my friend’s wedding today but it looks like I am going to miss the ceremony.
'It’s okay though - as long as I don’t miss the buffet.
'I will certainly have a tale to tell when I get there - it is just mind blowing to think these bombs have been here since I moved here a few months ago.'
The 76 grenade was a glass milk bottle with a pressed-on cap ( containing a mixture of phosphorus, water and benzine) and was intended for an anti-tank role.

The No 76 was an incendiary grenade filled with white phosphorus used during the war and was issued to the Home Guard at a time when the UK faced a possible Nazi invasion.
The grenade is a pint-sized glass bottle filled with white phosphorus, benzene, a piece of rubber and water.

Grenade: A diagram of the No 76 phosphorous grenade made from a bottle and issued to the Home Guard during the Second World War
Over time the rubber dissolved to create a sticky fluid which would self ignite when the bottle was broked.
Worried neighbour Trevor Neale, 78, a retired firefighter, said he was astounded that these potentially dangerous grenades had been found so close.
'It is such a shock that something like this could be discovered in the area.
'I was a fireman for more than 50 years and never had to deal with anything like this - I still can’t believe it.
'I saw emergency services arrive here at around 4pm on Saturday and they have been here ever since - I think they know they need to be extra careful with chemicals like these.'
According to neighbour William Ashfield, 78, the three-bedroomed semi-detached houses along Belbroughton road had been built in the Sixties.
He said: 'I moved into my house on the road in 1966, three years after the houses had been built.
'Before the area was developed this was all farm land - grazing land for cows and sheep.
‘The bombs must have been buried during the war and have laid hidden since - it is extraordinary to know we have been so close to disaster all these years.’ "
dailymail.co.uk/news/article … arden.html



These were made at a time when the UK was really getting desperate as most of the British army’s proper weapons had been lost at Dunkirk. There are quite a few extremely crude weapon designs which were never tested in combat in the end. At one stage the British Home Guard was being trained to attack German soldiers with improvised spears and farming tools. Solid ball and SG Shot (the British name for buckshot) 12 Gauge shotgun shells were also hastily made and issued for use in privately owned shotguns.







Phosphorus is not “diluted” by water, but the Water prevents it from being in contact with Oxygen in the air…P is a very actively oxidised metal, and the heat developed in its oxidation in open air will ignite any Petrol-type fumes in the vicinity; the P itself, having heated up to white heat whilst oxidising, will also eat its way through wood, and other flammable mnaterials ( excellent incendiary) and also Human Flesh. The White P2O5 ( phosphorus pentoxide) smoke also makes it an ideal Smokescreen and Observation indicator.

Sodium metal does the same effect, but it is activated by water being present ( in Burma, cakes of soap with introduced Sodium pellets, were smuggled into Japanese supply lines, and when used for body washing etc, severly burnt the user ( Sodium metal plus Water>>> Caustic Soda ( Sodium Hydroxide) and lots of heat.

Self-igniting Napalm and also self-igniting Molotov cocktails also work on similar Phosphorus principles.
A timed incendiary device using Phosphorus and Carbon Disulfide was developed by SOE durng WW II as well…the details are in SOE Histories etc. Given the Forensic techniques of the times, it was almost undetectable after the event, and could be attributed to “spontaneous combustion” or “Electrical fault” etc.

The above mentioned No.76 grenade being made in a common glass bottle, was very long lived, if it was undisturbed and well sealed. Talk about Long shelf Life…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics. Forensic Firearms and Explosives Services.

Brisbane Australia.