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BUILDERS DIG UP WWII GRENADES; Experts carry out controlled explosions.


SHOCKED builders unearthed more than 20 live grenades abandoned at the end of World War II.

Workmen discovered the explosives while excavating a site near Ruffwood School, in Roughwood Drive, Kirkby.

Police were called and a team of army bomb disposal experts dispatched.

They destroyed the weapons in a series of controlled explosions in a skip at the Balfour Beatty construction site.

The explosion sent plumes of smoke across nearby fields. Dozens of people left their homes to watch.

The grenades were too unstable to move. They were believed to be A.W bombs - named after their wartime manufacturers Albright and Wilson.

Norma Rothwell, 71, who lives near the site, said: "We heard this bang and I thought it sounded like a bomb.

"I had no idea what was going on so I walked over to have a look.

"There's a lot of war history here so the whole thing is really very interesting."

Ann Harrison watched the commotion with her grandchildren Megan, 16, Ryan, 13 and their cousin Rebecca, 11.

The 83-year-old said: "It was quite scary. There was all this black smoke everywhere.

"The police came around and told us exactly what they were doing and we heard several explosions throughout the after noon.

"All the children were excited about everything that was going on and lots of people stopped to see what was happening."

A.W bombs contained a self-igniting phosphorus chemical designed to explode on impact.

The bombs may be linked to the wartime Royal Ordnance munitions factory in Kirkby which employed more than 10,000 people - including 8,000 women - to produce detonators and fill shells.

The busy factory, built on a site that later became Kirkby Industrial Estate, produced 10% of all the ammunition used by Britain in World War II.

The grenades may be linked to the Kirkby Home Guard which was staffed by both local people and factory workers.

The bombs were found around 2.30pm yesterday and disposal experts completed their work just after 8pm.


UP IN SMOKE: The scene in Kirkby after the explosion
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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