On house clearances we find many items. Everything you can imagine in your own house, your friends houses, and those that you see on TV. Sometimes, odd object make us laugh, cry, or wonder why someone would have them in their house. Then there are the other objects, that make you think twice, and take a step backwards, like this one.
Whilst on a recent house clearance in East Sussex, we made a find that blew us away. We’d never found this before, and didn’t expect to find it where it was.
Having been instructed by the executors of a will, we were to clear the house, garden and garage of a 3 bed house in a small town in East Sussex. The house was a bit of a time warp, and the bedrooms were straight from 1986 with their Jason Donovan and Philip Schofield posters. Neighbours and Home and Away were popular amongst the VHS tapes still on the shelves, and the wall paper left a lot to be desired.
The small, nondescript garage was typical. Owned by someone who had a trade, and then retired, there were many tools either on the walls or in multiple tool boxes, neatly stacked around the perimeter. As we began to clear and separate the rubbish from the re-usable items, we came across a wooden chest, that was very heavy. Too heavy to move single-handed, it was left, and we continued with the rest of the garage.
When we returned to this heavy box, we decided it was best to empty it out a bit. We opened it up and saw many of the older style brass flame torches, that were used in the days before pressurised canisters became the norm. I then spotted, out the corner of my eye, something shiny. I’d seen these before, and reach in a pulled out a 40mm shell cartridge. These were common mementos brought back by solders from both WW1 and WW2. This one we found was a 1943 one. Then, I saw something else. Some fins that go on the back of bomb dropped from an aeroplane, to ensure it falls straight. We’ve found these on other jobs before.
I reached in, and pulled them up. Quickly I realised that it wasn’t just the fins. The device was still attached to it! I carefully lifted it up, closed the tool box and laid the device down on top. “Oooh dear” were the first words I said (or something like that). We quickly made a call to the Police, and they wanted a picture emailed over to them, so they could send it to EOD (Bomb Squad) and get an ID on what it may be. They asked for something to be placed next to it for an ideal of scale, and the only object we had to hand, in a garage full of tools and rubbish, was a hammer!
It was very quickly confirmed as being a WW2 German Incendiary device, and possibly viable. We were advised not to touch it, and leave it alone. Someone would be out to us soon. Luckily, it was within an external garage, so we were able to close the door and leave it alone.
Soon, the Police arrived, and then a while after, the guys from 11 EOD came to take it away. As far as we are aware, they take small items like this, and store them. Once they have enough, they blow them all up at once, as this is more productive than blowing up each one individually.
It certainly made a difference to our day, and will be something that we won’t forget in a while. Its amazong what can be found on House Clearances.