Suspected Second World War bomb was discovered by Farmcare spray operator in Coldham

PUBLISHED: 11:55 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:55 12 October 2016

Bomb disposal team carry out controlled explosion on suspected World War Two mortar in March Road, Coldham

Bomb disposal team carry out controlled explosion on suspected World War Two mortar in March Road, Coldham

Archant

A bomb disposal team carried out a controlled explosion on a suspected Second World War device in a Fenland field on Tuesday.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team from RAF Wittering arrived at Farmcare - a 4,000 acre farm that grows onions, potatoes, sugar beat, wheat, rape and beans and has eight full-time employees – on Coldham Estate at around 9.30am when a farm worker uncovered a “strange” device.

Dan Matthews, farms manager of Farmcare, told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: “We drilled the field the day before, rolled it and sprayed it on Monday morning. Out the corner of the spray operator’s eye, he saw this thing that looked a bit strange.

“He couldn’t believe his eyes really, and when he had a look at it, it was pretty much what he thought it was.

“It looked like a bomb just lying there. I think a bit of rain had washed some of the soil off and it became visible exactly what it was.”

Although initial reports suggested the mortar - a short, smooth-bore gun that was used for firing shells (bombs) at high angles - was dug by a farmer that was not the case.

“It was just routine cultivation - we’d been disking and ploughing in the normal way.

“The rain had washed the final bit of dirt off it and it was there for everyone to see. “You can almost see the marks where heavy machinery had rolled over it. It was right in the corner of the field with all that traffic going in and out; cars, trailers and combine harvesters… it’s certainly seen a bit of weight across it.”

The worker who discovered the device called Mr Matthews and sent him a picture of the unexpected find before the company called the police.

“They came out, had a look and got in touch with the bomb disposal squad, who decided to dispose of it there and then in the field.

The device was destroyed at around 12.40pm.

“It wasn’t that dramatic; it didn’t make the earth move or anything,” added Mr Matthews. “It was more of a pop and a puff of smoke.

“Obviously it was deemed to be enough of a risk, because they decided to dispose of it on-site.

“It’ll certainly make us think twice about where we’re going or what we’re doing, in case we do uncover anything else.

“We’ve never uncovered anything quite like this before, and I hope we don’t uncover anything else like this going forward.”

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