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Couple’s garden ornament turns out to be unexploded bomb

The garden ornament turned out to be an armament
The garden ornament turned out to be an armament - Wales News Service

A couple unwittingly lived with an unexploded bomb in their garden for more than four decades because they assumed it was a garden ornament.

Jeffrey and Sian Edwards had painted the 64lb naval bomb red to match the windowsills at their home in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, and Mrs Edwards would even hit it with her trowel to dislodge loose soil from the gardening tool.

However, they had no idea how dangerous the object could be until a police officer knocked on their door last week.

Mr Edwards, 77, said the bomb had been found by previous occupants 70 years ago. The retired ambulance driver added: “The father used to go round delivering lemonade on a horse and cart and was known as Pops Morris.

“He found it on Broad Haven beach and brought it back on his horse and cart, it has been in front of the house ever since.”

The bomb, which dates from 1880 to 1890, is believed to have been fired from a warship using the beach as target practice.

The couple who moved into the house after the Morris family sunk the device into cement and when Mr and Mrs Edwards arrived in 1982, they painted it red.

Jeffrey and Sian Edwards painted the naval bomb red to match their windowsills
Jeffrey and Sian Edwards painted the naval bomb red to match their windowsills - Wales News Service/Wales News Service

But on Wednesday evening, a police officer knocked on their door and explained that it would be necessary to take photographs of the device and send them on to the Ministry of Defence.

Less than an hour later, the same officer hurried back to the property to explain that the bomb squad would be arriving the next day.

By 8.30am on Thursday, more police were at the property, followed by the bomb squad and the fire brigade, and there was some talk of the street being evacuated.

However, the couple had decided they would be staying in their home regardless, with Mr Edwards saying: “If the house goes up, we are going up with it.”

An x-ray of the shell by bomb disposal experts found that it still had a small charge. “There was still a little bit of life in the old girl,” said Mr Edwards. “They couldn’t leave it here just in case it decided to blow.”

Experts worked throughout the day slowly digging the bomb out of the concrete. It was then taken under police escort to a quarry in Walwyn’s Castle, where it was covered in five tonnes of sand and detonated the next day.

“I was sorry to see It go,” said Mr Edwards. “It’s been part of my life all those years. It was sad to think of being blown to smithereens.”