THE normally sleepy suburb of Woolton in Liverpool was thrown into chaos on Sunday night as bomb disposal experts stepped in to destroy a live WWII shell in a residential house.
The device was found by fire crews who, during a routine call to fit a smoke alarm at a home in Quarry Street in the village, were told by the resident that his granddad’s live bomb, dating back to the Second World War, was still in the house.
Bernadette O’Doyle, landlady of local pub The Victoria, told the Irish World that a regular had sparked the drama: “Mark is a lovely guy. He’s a musician that would often come to our pub who lives nearby with his dad and his bed-bound mother in law.
“Fire officers called at his house on Sunday and apparently he turned to them and said, ‘what would you do if I said I had an unexploded bomb in the house?! Once they realised he wasn’t joking and found the device, all hell broke loose.”
Police officers quickly arrived on the scene and asked for the help of a specialist team from HM Forces who confirmed that the device was safe to leave overnight, as long as they had officers guarding the bomb.
On Monday morning, the shell was taken to nearby woods at Camp Hill where a controlled explosion was carried out.
Bernadette, who manages the Victoria alongside husband Kevin, who has Mayo roots, and daughter Carmel said they were working at the time: “You could hear the explosion from inside the pub. It’s just unbelievable that a bomb could have gone off inside that house at any time.”
It is believed that Mark used to keep the device in his shed, before moving it into his kitchen.
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “The WWII shell was removed from the house at 9.15am and was taken to Camp Hill where a controlled explosion was carried out.
“It was a live shell which was 30cm long and 3cm wide. It was kept at the scene overnight. The property was guarded and a cordon was put around the house overnight.”
In June 2008 a 1,000 kg bomb was found in Bow in East London and in April 2009, 1,000 homes were evacuated in Plymouth when a Second World War bomb was discovered.
Many Beatles landmarks can be found in Woolton, including ‘Mendips’ (Lennon’s childhood home at 251 Menlove Avenue) and Strawberry Field. Another one of Woolton’s claims to fame is that John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met at St. Peter’s garden fete on 6 July 1957.