A Norfolk schoolboy caused alarm yesterday when he brought a WWII projectile he had discovered on Hunstanton beach into his school. Staff immediately evacuated the premises and called the Police who alerted an RAF Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team to the issue. The 25lb projectile was transported back to the beach at Hunstanton where it was destroyed in a controlled explosion.
The Norfolk coast was lined with practice firing ranges during WWII. This included an Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) range at Hunstanton, with live projectiles fired out to sea at targets both in the water and towed through the air by gliders. As such, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) is regularly washed up along this stretch of coastline and this latest discovery was therefore not a surprise.
What was troubling, however, was that the schoolboy picked up and removed the device, bringing into contact with other children and teachers. Whilst it was not a malicious act, it reinforces the importance of educating children (particularly those living along the coast or in areas used for past military activity) about the potential dangers of tampering with UXO.
Fortunately the incident ended safely, with the school staff doing an admirable job.