Explosive day out for our Reigate volunteers

Second World War 2in mortar round found by volunteers at Reigate Hill © Marc Russell

Second World War 2in mortar round found by volunteers at Reigate Hill

The day began as any other when volunteering with the National Trust. The Reigate volunteers were out working pulling up ragwort (which is poisonous if eaten by our livestock) on the side of Reigate Hill. It was about lunch time and they were just packing up for the day when one of the team spotted a couple of bundles of ragwort that had not been collected.

John Webb offered to go back down the slope with Marc Russell, the Reigate ranger, and collect it. As he bent down to pick up the bundle he spotted a piece of metal sticking out of the ground in an area of recently cleared scrub.

Not realising what it was he gave it a good tug and out popped a Second World War mortar bomb. Not surprisingly, he was not sure of what to do and handed it to Marc. He gingerly placed it on the ground and cleared everyone from the area before calling the police.

On arriving and seeing the mortar the police called the bomb squad or EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). They confirmed that it was a high explosive 2in mortar round that had not gone off. The pin had been forced back into the explosive but it had failed to detonate leaving it in a very unstable state. The bomb squad decided to carry out a controlled explosion on site to make the device safe.

The volunteers were completely unfazed by their brush with death and are still just as keen to volunteer.  They’re looking forward to further adventures volunteering on Reigate Hill and Gatton Park.