First World War bomb blown up after Tor Spa Retreat owner Ky Wilkinson picked it up in hamlet of Ickham
Army bomb disposal experts have today detonated a World War One shell found in a village near Canterbury.
The live anti-tank shell was discovered by a builder working at a health spa in Ickham yesterday and moved to a neighbouring field where it was blown up by two members of the Royal Logistic Corps.
Ky Wilkinson, the owner of the Tor Spa Retreat, was allowed to blow the shell up himself.
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Bomb disposal experts arrive at the scene. All pictures: Ruth Cuerden
Bomb experts get ready to detonate the bomb at Ickham
Experts carried out the controlled explosion in a field at Ickham
The explosion throws debris several feet into the air
A dramatic end to 100 years of history
The 38-year-old said: “That was an amazing end to a very odd day.
“The spa has been full of guests today and I can’t imagine what they have made of turning up for their treatments and seeing two police cars and the bomb disposal unit here.
“But thankfully everything has turned out all right.”
The 25lb shell is believed to be British made and was most likely a relic of training exercises carried out during the Great War.
Mr Wilkinson’s builder came across it while working on a pathway and even struck it with a spade.
“We obviously didn’t think it was going to be a bomb and took it out of the
ground,” said Mr Wilkinson.
“It’s incredible to think I picked that thing up before I knew how dangerous it might be" - retreat owner Ky Wilkinson
“Then I took a photo of it and sent it to a friend with an army background and he said we should get the experts in.
“The police came out first and they said it wasn’t one for them so then the bomb disposal experts came out last night.
“They didn’t want to do it in the dark and decided to come back today. They just told us to keep it moist.”
Police remained at the spa overnight to prevent anyone going near the bomb.
The soliders returned this morning and dug a hole in a field next to the spa. They placed it inside, covered it sandbags and stretched a cable to the detonator outside the spa around 150yds away.
Video: The moment the bomb was exploded
Police warned villagers in the tiny hamlet, some six miles from central Canterbury and home to tv baker Paul Hollywood, of the impending explosion at around 11am.
Mr Wilkinson added: “It’s incredible to think I picked that thing up before I knew how dangerous it might be."
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