World War II bomb found in Northamptonshire canal unearthed by first-time magnet fisherman

Phil Congreve found the unexploded bomb near the Braunston tunnel on the Grand Union Canal
Phil Congreve found the unexploded bomb near the Braunston tunnel on the Grand Union Canal

A Daventry man unearthed an unexploded World War II bomb in a Northamptonshire canal during his first ever attempt at magnet fishing.

Phil Congreve, who was invited to try magnet fishing by his pal Andre Van Aardt, found the artillery shell in the Grand Union canal on Saturday afternoon.

The police were called shortly after the discovery

The police were called shortly after the discovery

The discovery forced the Braunston tunnel on the canal to be shut temporarily while the police and the Army investigated the bombshell.

"We found the shell well wedged into the mud," said 46-year-old Phil, who grew up in Braunston.

"It took the two of us to pull it out. It's extremely heavy, around 30 or 40 kilos.

"We sat and looked at it for a while. Andre was fairly certain it was artillery."

"I found it rather strange and amusing that on my first attempt at magnet fishing I pull that out," Phil added.

"It's more interesting than shopping trolleys."

After searching for images of artillery shells online, the pair agreed on the identity of the item and called the police.

Phil, who works as a fabricator installing roll cages in rally cars, had only been magnet fishing for an hour before unearthing the shell.

Prior to that he and Andre had only found shopping trolleys, bikes and bits of scaffolding.

Northamptonshire Police were told by the Army's explosive ordnance disposal that the16 inch shell originated from London.

"The explosive ordnance disposal attended to deal with the unexploded bomb away from site," said a police spokeswoman.

A Ministry Of Defence spokesperson said: “We can confirm an Army team supported the police with the disposal of a legacy mortar shell in Braunston."

The MOD dated the shell to the 1940s or 1950s.

Phil's find is the second of its kind in a matter of days after a 13-year-old's magnet detected an unexploded bomb in the Grand Union Canal near Blisworth on Bank Holiday Monday.The