News - March 24, 2011

'Pit bull' explodes after all

Who? Henk Seunninga
What? Operational foreman for garden management
Where? Belmonte Arboretum
Why? Stumbled across a grenade last Thursday during excavations

Tell us about it
'We are busy moving the collection of roses from the small arboretum to Belmonte. The excavator hit something hard. 'Hey, iron!' said my colleague. I saw immediately that it was a grenade.'
So you left it alone?
'No, I picked it up and put it to one side. I thought it was empty. It was a bit rusty and had lost its top. It had already been tapped by the machine so I thought if it had been live it would have gone off by now. We phoned the police and the next day the explosives disposal team arrived.
So, was it really harmless?
'They looked at the bomb and said: it's a pit bull. A high-explosive shell, an aggressive beast. And it turned out that it still contained explosive. That did give me a bit of a fright.'
What did your wife think of that?
'She was very angry with me for picking it up. You are not to do that again, she said. I have been working here for thirty-three years now and it has happened a couple of times before. It turned out afterwards that there was no danger. It took them two goes to make it explode. That thing is already sixty-five years old and was manufactured in England. So pretty poor quality.'