DCSIMG

Cannon shell found in Cowfold Oak Tree could have been shot in WWII

Lee's daughter Katie Maguire, holding the piece of Oak with a cannon shuttle wedged inside. Photo by Steve Cobb

Lee's daughter Katie Maguire, holding the piece of Oak with a cannon shuttle wedged inside. Photo by Steve Cobb

A builder has discovered a cannon shell in a tree in Cowfold which he believes was shot from a fighter aircraft in the Second World War.

Lee Maguire, 43, of Millthorpe Road, Horsham, was amazed when he found a 20mm cannon solid shot while he was chopping up an oak tree for fire wood in Bolney Road.

He said he believed the shell was fired from a cannon in a Messerschmitt Bf 109, a German World War II fighter aircraft.

The find was a strike of luck after he took a break from his usual role of landscaping to chop some fire wood.

He said: “It was an off chance that we were offered some wood chopping in the barn because it was a wet day.

“The chances of finding it in an Oak Tree three foot in diameter!

“I recognised it straight away because I’ve always been interested in history.”

Lee said the shell had a copper band on the back and rifling marks on it which he said confirmed it was a fired shell.

Lee said he has been in the landscaping industry for more than 15 years and has never made a discovery like this in the past.

He added: “I’ve probably moved thousands and thousands of tonnes of soil and all sorts and I’ve never found a thing in my life.”

After finding out all he could about the shell through online research, Lee would like to talk to a professional about its origins.

He said: “I would be more than happy for anyone to have a look at it to confirm what it is.

“I would like to know if there are any recorded incidents over Cowfold during the war. It would be good to know why it was fired over that location.”

Anyone who has more knowledge of where the shell could have come from can contact the County Times to be put in contact with Lee.

 

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