A spigot mortar bomb was found on Teignmouth beach in Devon yesterday, forcing the Police to put in place a 300m safety cordon around a popular seaside hotel. A Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was called to the scene where they declared the device safe and removed it.
Spigot mortar emplacements were erected in their thousands across the UK during WWII in anticipation of a German invasion. They were initially manned by regular troops and then subsequently by the Home Guard.
The spigot mortars could be both fixed or mobile, the mobile version popularly known as a ‘Blacker Bombard’. These weapons typically fired a 20lb high explosive mortar bomb and were to be used primarily in an anti-tank role at road blocks or to defend airfields.
Approximately 22,000 Bombards were produced by mid-1942 and many of their fixed pedestals were installed, several of which still survive. Many were established along beaches which were, of course, the initial point of any invasion. It is likely that the Teignmouth discovery is a remnant from those fearful days of 1940.