Groundworkers at a site on Tavistock Road, Plymouth uncovered 10No. Self-Igniting Phosphorus (SIP) grenades which required disposal by an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team. The area is close to several former military barracks and a wartime American army camp.
The grenades (a favourite of the Home Guard during WWII) comprise glass bottles filled with a mixture of benzene and white phosphorus and are designed to ignite when exposed to the air, requiring extreme caution when being dealt with. As such, the EOD team took no chances, putting in a place a 100m safety cordon before supplying two water-filled disposal bins in which to put the grenades. A controlled explosion was then carried out at a remote location.
The following day a further 14No. SIP grenades were found, causing more chaos in the local area and confirming the presence of at least 2No. caches of the devices.
Such finds remain common in the UK, with the often haphazard munitions disposal practices of the Home Guard coming back to bite some 75 years later.