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British Ordnance Collectors Network

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I personally don't collect stuff that old, but I do know people that do and this subject was well talked about last year at several shows.
I have a few pieces. I heard about this case and I wondered what happened. It still isn't clear to me.
From what I understand-

He was grinding/sanding or surface cleaning the shell and must have hit the still sealed fuse and set it off. It was a Navel shell and they are much better sealed than Army versions.

What I don't understand is why if there was no obvious opening and the fuse was intact, he didn't weigh it to see if it was loaded, or if those things have great weight variation, safely drill into it and wash out the powder. Clearly he couldn't have checked it. Deactivating the fuse would have seemed the first thing to do ? Certainly not with sparks flying ?
civil war shells

Trying to identify a Read shell I came across lots of items about US Civil war shells going off when being cleaned and or inerting was being attempted. Seems to me some people forget
1. that shells are designed to kill and maim,
2. if its fired in action and intact it did not go off for some reason but that does not mean it wont later.
3. black powder (gunpowder) will last a very long time and is easy to set off either by spark, friction, heat, flame or impact all of these are side effects of amateur EOD.

Personally my feelings are that if you cant see its empty leave well alone, not even the rarest item is worth your life.
Ordnance Kills;

To all Interested;
Sam White was killed while wire brushing a 10 inch naval shell. The fragment still having part of the fuze threads indicated it was a Naval Water Cap Fuze. There was an inerting hole 180 from the fuze and had been washed but evidently some powder remained. The Water Cap fuze is made water tight for naval use and I suspect sparks from his grinder ignited the gun powder paste which is pressed into the water cap vents. The drilled hole was pressing down against the tar mack and prevented venting. Sad but, it should not have happened.
John aka Bart
Note: Below is shown a 9 inch incendiary shell but a 10 inch round would look similar.
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