Brimstone is coming to the end of a lengthy project in Burntwood, Staffordshire where our EOD engineers have been carrying out weekly controlled explosions.

Work on a housing estate was halted in March 2016 after two unexploded rifle grenades were discovered. As a result, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Homes appointed Brimstone to be the Principal Contractor and manage the UXO risk process, from assessment and ground remediation through to disposal.

A Stage 2 Detailed UXO Risk Assessment was carried out at the request of the Health & Safety Executive. This identified the presence of a military scrap yard on site during and after WWII. The yard was mostly engaged in breaking up surplus RAF aircraft. However, when the Home Guard disbanded in 1944, it appears that unauthorised disposal of surplus ammunition occurred at the site.

Rifle grenades
Army bomb disposal experts at the site prior to brimstone clearing the site of uxo.

UXO discoveries

Brimstone has been working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the local firearms division of Staffordshire Police to make sure that the controlled explosions are carried out following all safety guidelines. Once the final controlled detonation is complete, Brimstone will have been working on site for almost a year, to the day.

In this time over 2,500 rifle grenades from World War 2 have been recovered and destroyed. A variety of different UXO types have been found, including some rarer items such as 3 inch ZAA rockets. In addition, some less hazardous items such as small arms ammunition and fuses have been removed from the site.

Stored rifle grenades ready for disposal.
Stored rifle grenades ready for disposal.

No.68 Rifle Grenades

The most numerous find by far has been the No.68 anti-tank grenade. This device was an early type of shaped-charge weapon for use against tanks with armour up to two inches thick. Although relatively small, the 156 gram high explosive charge is a significant hazard with the potential to kill.

They were used by both the regular army and then the Home Guard. Between 1941 and 1942 nearly 8 million units were manufactured in Britain.

A member of the home guard prepares to fire a no. 68 rifle grenade.
A member of the home guard prepares to fire a no. 68 rifle grenade.

Our UXO disposal services

At Brimstone, we specialise in UXO disposal. We are equipped with a license to acquire and keep explosives in two counties and hold a 250kg explosive magazine for nationwide UXO disposal tasks.

We also offer UXO assessment, survey and investigation services that can be tailored to your needs.

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