Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Assembly Rooms in Wick closed after wartime grenades uncovered

News of wartime munitions found in Wick, courtesy of the John O'Groats Journal and Caithness Courier.

by Alan Shields

A CACHE of at least two dozen Second World War hand grenades have been discovered in the centre of Wick.

Police have confirmed that the Assembly Rooms is closed after multiple cases of what is thought to be No 76 special incendiary grenades were uncovered just behind the building this afternoon.

Northern Constabulary’s Sergeant Ian Sutherland said: “A cache was uncovered on the other side of the wall behind the Assembly Rooms by a person digging the foundation for a flagpole.

“There’s at least a couple of dozen, but we don’t know how deep it goes. They appear to have placed there.”

Sergeant Sutherland added: “It appears they were only really issued to Home Guard units during World War Two, so it’s a bit of mystery how they got there.”

The area has been secured with a police presence and the Assembly Rooms closed as a precaution.

A Royal Navy bomb disposal unit is expected to deal with the munitions tomorrow morning.

The No 76 special incendiary grenade or A.W. bomb (named after manufacturers Albright & Wilson, of Oldbury) was mass produced during the 1940s.

The weapon is essentially a flask containing a volatile mix of yellow phosphorus, benzene and water.

The flask would be thrown at enemies and when broken the contents would instantly ignite producing poisonous fumes and heat – in a similar fashion to modern-day petrol bombs.

For more on the find see Wednesday’s Caithness Courier.

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