Swanage Coastguard investigates reports of ordnance on beach

A suspicious metal item that looked like a landmine was discovered at Sheps Hollow, the area of beach to the northern end of Swanage Bay.

Swanage Coastguard, who had earlier been called to help find two missing children at Shell Bay in Studland, were paged to investigate the possible ordnance, after the children were safely located.

Following the reports on Monday 3rd January 2022, the coastguard team headed towards the area, just north of Sheps Hollow.

Sheps Hollow at the north end of Swanage Beach

“Rather check the item, than it be ignored

Swanage Coastguard reported:

“The team deployed and liaised with the finder and quickly established this was an old wheel. Whilst we have been to this item before, we would much rather check the item, than it be ignored.

“The object is unfortunately too heavy to remove from the location but has been marked to help us identify it quickly.”

Unexploded hand grenade in Studland
Purbeck Police

A World War One Mills hand grenade found at Middle Beach

Hand grenade was discovered at Studland

Three days earlier on Friday 31st December 2021 a World War One hand grenade was discovered at Middle Beach in Studland. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal team was called and made it safe.

It is not uncommon to find old ordnance along the Purbeck coast as the area was used for military training during the two World Wars and as Britain prepared for a possible Nazi invasion, land mines were placed along the coastline.

Sheps Hollow at lowtide

Low tide at Sheps Hollow, looking towards Swanage

Land mines were laid on Swanage Beach

In 1940, 117 mines were laid on Swanage Beach and while it was swept for landmines after the end of World War Two, in 1955 five schoolboys were sadly killed by a mine on Swanage Beach.

The boys who attended Forres School, now Purbeck View School in Swanage were playing on the beach and found a tin that they tried to open. It exploded and killed the boys.

Ring 999

Swanage Coastguard advises that if anyone discovers a suspicious item on the beach that could be old military ordnance, they should ring 999 and ask for the coastguard, who can then check it out.

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