Police were called in when wartime munitions were discovered in St George’s Park, Tunbridge Wells. As a result, an army bomb disposal team was dispatched to the scene.

A member of the public exhumed the WWII unexploded ordnance (UXO) during a morning walk. The UXO was subsequently destroyed in a controlled explosion.

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Why was a grenade found in a public park?

The number of soldiers in England swelled greatly with the influx of allied armies during WWII. In response, the British War Office requisitioned public land throughout the UK. The armed forces then used this additional land for training and accommodation.

The Home Guard was a wartime force of voluntary soldiers charged with defending Britain from a German invasion. These troops were either too old to be conscripted or worked in vital industries. Many public parks around the country were temporarily requisitioned for various Home Guard uses. These included passive and active anti-aircraft defences, training grounds and parades / demonstrations.

Wartime home guard
A home guard demonstration of an anti-tank weapon in an area of parkland.

Unexploded ammunition finds, such as this grenade, highlight the hazardous legacy of these wartime policies.

However, not all parks were put to such wartime use. Conducting ground works on parkland? Brimstone would always recommend carrying out a UXO Risk Assessment first. A low risk conclusion would avoid costly risk mitigation measures.