Hundreds of mortars are found buried in woodland

CAREFUL SEARCH: Bomb disposal experts at work on the Castle Howard estate.

WOODLAND FIND: Dr Christopher Ridgeway with some of the Blacker Bombard rounds.

CUNNING PLOY: The fake anti-tank mines laid out to lure German invaders into a trap.

First published in World War II The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

DEADLY secrets of an estate’s wartime past have been uncovered in a major operation by bomb disposal experts.

Hundreds of anti-tank and anti-personnel rounds were recovered from woodland on the Castle Howard estate, near Malton, North Yorkshire.

The practice ordnance contained only tiny amounts of explosive and was not particularly dangerous, but has shed new light on the area’s role in the Second World War.

The Royal Engineers unit was deployed in the woodland, near Welburn, after the ammunition was first sighted on Friday.

They discovered 275 Blacker Bombard rounds buried in the undergrowth.

Also known as the 29mm Spigot Mortar, the Blacker Bombard was an infantry anti-tank weapon devised by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Blacker early in the war. Although originally intended for use by regular Army units, it was issued to the Home Guard.

Bomb unit leader Sergeant Scott Docherty said: “These practice rounds would have been used for training purposes in readiness for a German invasion.

“Given the hillside location of the find, it is likely that the spot was a Home Guard lookout station. The training would have taken place there, and the ordnance most certainly just left behind.

“Because these are practice rounds, they are not considered high risk. However, each will contain a trace of explosive, so it is our task to safely remove and destroy them.”

His team also dug up 18 con- By Mark Foster mark.foster@nne.co.uk CAREFUL SEARCH: Bomb disposal experts at work on the Castle Howard estate WOODLAND FIND: Dr Christopher Ridgeway with some of the Blacker Bombard rounds.

Below, soldiers take them away for disposal CUNNING PLOY: The fake anti-tank mines laid out the lure German invaders into a trap crete-filled dummy anti-tank mines, which had been laid out to direct invading German tanks into the firing line of the Home Guard waiting on the hillside.

The discovery has been timely for Castle Howard’s curator, Dr Christopher Ridgway, who is about to start research for a new exhibition about the castle during the war.

He said: “Finding these unknown items is very exciting, but at the same time there are so many unknown stories from the locality that we are keen to tease them out in our preparatory research.

“If anyone does have any recollections of Castle Howard and the estate in wartime, I would be delighted if they got in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to email Dr Ridgeway at house@castlehoward.co.uk

Comments (1)

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9:24am Wed 17 Aug 11

antihypocrisy says...

Perfect job for those on Community Service to sort out.
Perfect job for those on Community Service to sort out. antihypocrisy
  • Score: 0

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