A bomb disposal squad raised their sirens after a dog walker discovered a suspected live WWII grenade in the village woods.
Christine Burgess took her Springer Spaniel Charlie for his routine morning walk last week in Monkmead Woods, West Chiltington, but as the avid walker wandered deeper into the woodland, she stumbled across a pineapple-shaped object in the dirt.
“I was off track a bit and Charlie was investigating a rabbit warren. I noticed that he was sniffing at a lump of soil dug up by a badger. I then saw that there was a criss-cross pattern and realised that it was a very old rusty object,” the 61-year-old said.
“I knew what it was because my son as a child had a grenade that had been hollowed out and used as a money box.”
The object was later identified as a Mills Grenade that could have possibly been used in WWII, but on closer inspection Mrs Burgess could see that the pin had been pulled free.
“I saw the pin was gone and thought this could still be live.
“I was in shock. I pulled the dog away and froze on the spot.”
In a panic, the Little Dippers resident phoned a friend who advised her to contact the emergency services.
“The police said they would raise it as a second level response. They arrived shortly after with the bomb disposal squad from Aldershot - their blue lights flashing.
“Blue tape was used everywhere to corner it off.”
When a Mills Grenade is triggered the segmented body disperses to create cast iron fragments that can travel up to 100 yards.
“They arrived and inspected the lump and agreed that it was a hand grenade.”
The weaponwas carefully removed from Monkmead Woods in a box to be transferred to a safer location and destroyed.
At this stage it could not be confirmed whether the grenade was still active or disabled.
“Eventually they took the hand grenade to fields beyond West Chiltington Village Hall to be blown up. I was allowed to come along.”
Mrs Burgess was advised by the squad that once the grenade had been blown up they could analyse the size of the crater left in the ground to assess if it had been live or not.
“I was allowed to press the button, it was very exciting, you could of heard the explosion three quarters of a mile away.
“The sizable explosion indicated that the grenade was probably still live.”
Later she discovered that Monkmead Woods was the previous site for a Canadian Army encampment during WWII.
“If someone else had found it and chucked it around it could have killed them.
Mrs Burgess has since returned to the site and found the lever that belonged to the grenade that would have detached when the pin was pulled free all those years ago.