Unexploded bomb found at Greenlaw tennis court

GREENLAW may have been hoping to see a few overhead smashes with tennis due to return to the village - but instead they could have had an underfoot explosion after the discovery of a live World War II bomb.

The 2lb shell - believed to be from a German aircraft - was found as work was carried out around the tennis court site at Todholes by volunteers last month.

It was firstly mistaken for a piece of farm machinery and was only identified as dangerous after newly appointed tennis club chairman Steven MacLean put some research into the shell six weeks later.

He contacted the police and subsequently bomb squad members dramatically attended to safely take away the life threatening device.

Mr MacLean said: "It was found between the tarmac and hedge and was passed on to me during a clear up day by Stuart Whitton.

"He said as a joke 'Here is a bomb for you' and we laughed.

"He thought it was just a piece of farm machinery.

"I put it in the bin but it had been praying on my mind knowing that old bombs had previously been found.

"I went onto the internet to do some research and there were similar looking World War II bombs there to the one found at the tennis court."

As a result of Mr MacLean's research he phoned the police and it was soon discovered that the bomb was live.

"I put it in my garden and when the police arrived I was told to stay in the house. Then more police arrived followed by the bomb squad, who took it away.

"They told us that these bombs are dangerous because they have a chemical inside them that makes them very unpredictable and a simple dunt could set if off.

"They said a man was killed when his tractor hit one of these things," added Mr MacLean.

Mr MacLean was also told by the bomb disposal experts that more and more live bombs are being discovered around the country as they come to the surface after more than 60 years embedded in the soil.

Greenlaw resident Doug Smith, an ex-soldier whose front door was blown in when a bomb hit the village during World War II, was consulted by Mr MacLean upon the discovery of the bomb.

He said: "It was probably from an aircraft. The detonator was still in it but it was quite corroded and I didn't think it would make a big explosion if it went off.

"I was very surprised as you don't see them very often. There was quite a bit of activity with Charterhall airfield nearby (in World War II) and a number of Poles were also stationed here."

Polish soldiers were billeted to Greenlaw Memorial Hall during the second World War. The hall was damaged and three soldiers were killed when the Berwickshire village was blitzed by German aircraft on April 7, 1941.

A Lothian and Borders police spokesperson confirmed they had been called out to deal with the bomb earlier this month.

She added: "We can confirm we attended to an unexploded old bomb on November 16.

"As a result, the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) attended and took it away at our request."

The tennis court at Greenlaw has fallen into disrepair and has remained in the same dilapdated and unusable state for many years.

But work will begin next year to improve the facility and eventually it is hoped the tarmac surface will be relaid - with booming serves hopefully replacing bombs.