Today's Object of the Week is a First World War hand grenade dug up nearly 50 years ago.

When nine-year-old Knile Albertson-Prescott started digging while playing in his back garden in Catterick Garrison, he had no idea he would unearth something which would spark a lifelong interest.

It was the summer of 1975, just a year after young Knile had moved to the North Yorkshire military town with his family, when he made an incredible discovery.

"I was digging in my back garden when the shovel hit something metal," he says.

"When I started to uncover it I saw it was what looked like a hand grenade. I was excited and panic-stricken at the same time.

"I went to get my dad, who'd had extensive years in the military, and he came out to see it with a smirk on his face, thinking it was probably unimportant.

"I showed it to him and he looked a bit shocked. He said 'I think you're right, it looks like a hand grenade'."

The Northern Echo: The First World War hand grenade unearthed in his back garden nearly 50 years ago by Knile Albertson-Prescott is on display in Catterick LibraryThe First World War hand grenade unearthed in his back garden nearly 50 years ago by Knile Albertson-Prescott is on display in Catterick Library (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Knile's father looked a little closer and thought it was probably safe, but just to make sure he called out the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team - the bomb squad.

The experts confirmed the device was safe, removed it from the ground and presented it to the little boy who had found it. Knile still has the hand grenade to this day.

But the story doesn't end there.

Years later, when Knile was at Barnard Castle School for Boys, he made a friend named Bevan Mills and told him the story of his discovery.

"He told me that it was known as a Mills Bomb - and that it was his who grandfather had invented it in the first place," says Knile.

The Northern Echo: Click the image above for more local eventsClick the image above for more local events (Image: NQ)

It turned out that Bevan's grandfather was William Mills, from Sunderland, who had designed the first modern fragmentation grenades used by the British Army, which saw widespread use in the First and Second World Wars.

The 'bombs' underwent several modifications and the device discovered by Knile is a 'number 23, Mark II' which dates it to 1917 - but that raises a question.

"The type 23 had been phased out by the Second World War, so this dates to the First World War. But from what I can gather, the area where it was found was pretty much all farms and fields at that time - so how did it end up there? That's the big mystery."

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The Northern Echo: Knile Albertson-Prescott with some of the artefacts found in and around Catterick on display in the town libraryKnile Albertson-Prescott with some of the artefacts found in and around Catterick on display in the town library (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

The discovery started Knile's interest in local history, which continues to this day.

And now, his hand grenade is on public display, as part of an exhibition of artefacts at Catterick Library.

The exhibition is of objects found in Catterick over several years and includes Roman and Saxon artefacts, items from both World Wars, and even fossils from extinct plants. It can be viewed at Catterick Garrison Library throughout May.

The Northern Echo: Some of the artefacts on display at the local history exhibition in Catterick LibrarySome of the artefacts on display at the local history exhibition in Catterick Library (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)