Controlled explosions in Burntwood today


Police seal off Chasewater Industrial Estate this morning, 31st December 2013. Image from Staffordshire police.

Blimey, it’s all happening today. It seems some unexploded wartime grenades were found near Chasewater Industrial Estate, Burntwood (Known as the LCP) in the last 24 hours, which were subsequently destroyed in a controlled explosion.

Nearby businesses were cordoned off while the operation took place.

I see the historical foo is already rife over this – no bombers dropped excess ordnance in Chasewater during the war, and there wasn’t a wartime ammunition or ordnance dump there, either; the site of what is now known as the LCP was a mine during the war, as older folks will know. There was later a business here recovering war scrap – possibly E.F. Smith – where they may have originated, but considering the small previous finds at Chasewater it’s just as likely they were left from home guard or other training exercises.

Although these devices were small, they were still capable of causing fatalities and severe injury. If you find anything like this in the area, leave it well alone and contact the police.

Thanks to all involved for keeping us safe, and thank to Lucy ‘The Wheeled One’ Wood for the tipoff.

Staffordshire Police posted the following on their Facebook page:

Local police officers closed and cordoned off roads around Chasewater Industrial Estate, Burntwood, today while an Army Explosive Ordance Disposal unit carried out controlled explosions on nearby wasteground of six WW2 anti-tank grenades found locally and believed to have been there since the war.

Measures were put in place to ensure public safety. We would like to thank workers from the industrial estate and local residents for their patience and cooperation.

These are photos at the scene at Chasewater Industrial Estate, Burntwood, this morning when officers closed and cordoned off the area to keep workers and residents safe whilst an Army Explosive Ordance Disposal unit carefully placed the six WW2 anti-tank grenades inside a high wall of protective sandbags to lessen the impact on the surrounding waste area.


The anti-tank grenades in question, now safely destroyed. Police have not said where exactly they were found. Image from Staffordshire Police.

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6 Responses to Controlled explosions in Burntwood today

  1. William Roberts says:

    I know from my metal detecting in the past that Cuckoo Bank is strewn with spent .303 blank cartridges from ww2 the area must have been a favorite training ground for the home guard during the war.

    Also No Mans Bank is littered with spent 9MM automatic rounds and cartridges and a few drill/practice 9mm rounds so I assume the local home guard were messing about with a STEN sub-machine gun at some point.

    The spoil heaps of the Coppice colliery No(1) overlooking Chester Road North are littered with a scattering of empty .303 blanks too so the home guard must have been practicing covering the road.

    • Hello, you. Happy new year.

      Highly likely. I know the HG and possibly other military groups used the heaths and commons for training. After all, Walsall Aerodrome and RAF Hednesford were not far away.

      There’s constant talk of an ‘ammo dump’ here, which implies wartime storage, which wasn’t the case. However, the war scrap business in the UK was huge, and Smiths probably left some remnants. Enterprises like that made the fortunes of many a Black Country scrap merchant – the Ferrie empire and the Richardsons were all beneficiaries of it.

      I’d still love to know more about the Home Guard’s activities.


  2. William Roberts says:

    I believe I’ve read somewhere Bob that the home guard often stored munitions in the explosives magazines at collieries as these buildings were specifically designed for just that purpose.

    Its logical if you think about it the buildings were designed to blow out through the roof and they were also positioned at a safe distance from the main colliery buildings so less likely to be hit in air raids. I’m sure they were very secure buildings too under lock and key with high perimeter fences guarded full time or at the very least regularly patrolled day and night.

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  4. mick c says:

    There are three brothers living in Norton Canes, 84, 86 and 91 years old who will attest to seeing bombs dropped on Chasewater during the war, not to get rid of surplus bombs but to escape the searchlights and AA batteries that were stationed around the area, unfortunately they do not use computors but I feel sure if anyone wished to talk to them they would welcome it. Smiths dump was founded in 1947 (at the same time as Leavesly at Fradley) and I believe at least some of the Hangers came from RAF Abingdon

    • Olly Brown says:

      Hi Mick
      Interesting stuff, do you have any more details on Smith’s Chasetown dump? I’m doing some local research and struggling to find any more info on this war materials scrap site.

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