AN UNEXPLODED bomb from the Second World War was unearthed by a woman planting a tree in her back garden on Saturday.
Initially Janet Moores, above, threw it to one side dismissing it as a bit of plastic found in her garden in Green Road, Kidlington. But when the 71-year-old discovered the grey shell was leaking a “soapy liquid” she realised it was something more sinister.
She called the police, who arrived with an RAF bomb squad from RAF Northolt, near London, to detonate the live mortar bomb.
The retired Thames Valley Police special constable came across the shell on Thursday when she was planting an apricot tree.
She said: “I just thought it was a piece of plastic. Then I dug the whole thing up and noticed it had fins on it, which got me worried.
“I thought: ‘I don’t like the look of that.’ It was leaking a soapy liquid, which usually means they’re unstable, and I realised it was live.”
The two-inch British mortar bomb dated back to the Second World War.
During the war, eight versions were made of the bomb. It proved a useful weapon, being more portable then larger bombs but with greater range and power than a gun.
Oxford Airport, just north of Kidlington, was used as an RAF education centre during the war.
Miss Moores said: “It was metal grey, and had a stubby end which was surrounded by another piece of metal and it tailed off towards the fins. It looked like a torpedo.
“I put a plastic bucket over the top of it, rang the police, and told the neighbours not to go outside.”
Miss Moores, who moved into her house three years ago from another address in Kidlington, said: “They put it in a padded container and took it away.“
Police said the bomb was safely detonated just after 4pm in a field near Bicester. A spokesman said: “There was an increased police presence to reassure members of the public who may have felt the aftershock and heard the noise.”
Miss Moores attributed her calm reaction to her police training and 30 years of work for the force. She added: “I was not fazed by it at all. It was just one of those things. But I’ll be digging very gingerly from now on, I can tell you.”
Neighbour Gill Cox said: “Janet came round and said that she’d found a bomb.
“It was a bit of a shock, but it was dealt with very quickly. It’s not every day you have a bomb disposal unit come to your road.”
Kidlington parish councillor Sandra Rhodes visited Miss Moores after the bomb had been removed. She said: “I saw the bomb squad and thought I’d come and check everyone was all right.”
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