What's new
British Ordnance Collectors Network

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Info Needed on No 5 Mills Bomb


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Hi, I have had this tucked away for many years as grenades are not really my thing. Can any one give me any info on this as it does not seem to match any other number 5's i have seen.?
It is missing the original striker a replacment brass one has been turned. also it has been chrome plated at some point in the past. The base plug is made of a light alloy and is stamped No5 11-15 P P. I can not see any stampings on the body.

Best regards Weasel.


  • Number 5 Mills 002.jpg
    Number 5 Mills 002.jpg
    77.4 KB · Views: 89
  • Number 5 Mills 005.jpg
    Number 5 Mills 005.jpg
    77.4 KB · Views: 64
  • Number 5 Mills 007.jpg
    Number 5 Mills 007.jpg
    62.8 KB · Views: 55
  • Bocn mills.jpg
    Bocn mills.jpg
    85.9 KB · Views: 85
Other than the body appearing to have been polished prior to chroming it looks ok to me. 11-15 means November 1915, unfortunately I don't have PP identified as a manufacturer.

Something someone did so it looked pretty sitting on the mantlepiece.
Thanks, i had not thought about the surface being preped for the chrome plate. That would account for the possible lack of stamps.

Best Weasel.
Hi Weasel,

not many No 5s had makers marks on them, CAV being one i have recently seen. Some did have foundry marks, be it a number or a letter on the front or on the back, often hidden by the lever. The most common mark i have seen is a small shield usually on the back but again sometimes on the front. The majortiy of my grens have no mark at all, however from the 23/3 it was required that all gren bodies were marked by the maker in some way but not all did so.

[quote=Weasel; The base plug is made of a light alloy and is stamped No5 11-15 P P.

Hello Weasle. The marking on the base plug is P.B.& Co. which according to the Mills grenade site is; Platt Brothers and Company. A very nice grenade you have. The small pull ring would be appropriate for it. ATB FNG
Thankyou all very much for the info on this, much appriciated. Thanks FNG61 for the makers name and yes it does have a small pull ring with it although not pictured for some unknown reason. Thanks again,
Best regards Weasel.
[quote=Weasel; The base plug is made of a light alloy and is stamped No5 11-15 P P.

Hello Weasle. The marking on the base plug is P.B.& Co. which according to the Mills grenade site is; Platt Brothers and Company.

Sorry for the delay in finding this but here is what the full marking should look like. This PB&Co plug is unusual for not having the key holes for the wrench.


  • base of pbco 10 15 and ulster 10 15.JPG
    base of pbco 10 15 and ulster 10 15.JPG
    37.5 KB · Views: 61
Hi FNG61,
Thankyou for the extra info and pictures, good of you to post them. Any info on this is much apriciated as i know next to nothing about grenades.
Best regards Weasel.
Hi there, grenades are well out of my area of collecting but I do remember being told that the Mills bombs with the groove that comes down from the centre of the filler plug as shown in your photo as opposed to 2 either side indicates the grenade is probably one of the earlier development types with the turned grooves going around the grenade rather than the standard cast ones. It may be worth you having a close looks at these grooves to see if they are turned. If so its probably a bit rarer than you thought. I'm sure the grenade experts out there can correct or confirm this.
Yes, it is a centre cast as its called and is a lot more rare than the standard gren. They stopped production of this type quite early on due to it being much more costly to produce than the more common method . All Mills were originally produced like this.

Thanks again lads for more info, i was considering having the chrome plate removed from this. In your opinion is this worth doing ?
Best regards Weasel.
Hi Weasel,
i would consider having this done as long as its done correctly and the gren body isnt damaged. Dont even consider it if it involves grinding or heavy machine wire brushing as its a rare gren. I consider the centre casts as pride of my collection as they are all early Mills bombs. I bought one at Beltring this year for 70, missold, but happy me and its worth probably close to 3 times that as its in such good condition with an aluminium filler screw too. Has the red paint and pink centre colouration for the filling too, all original to it. Came with a very rare 23/11 makers plug that i have replaced with a decent Mills Munitions plug but not as good as yours. I think its one of the nicest grens i have in my collection so the Mills you have should be looked after as its a rare one.

Hi again Weasel,
just some thoughts on removing the chrome on your gren. Hydrochloric acid[Spirit of Salts] or Nitric acid will do it but this will also eat into the body of the gren so i would be careful. You should use a weak solution, 1 part acid to 5 parts water, remember to add the acid to the water, not the other way round. However this could be a bit agressive to the body of the gren but should work if you keep monitoring the process.
The best way would be to use electrolysis to do it, using a solution of caustic soda, 1 tablespoon to a pint of water, probably need 3 pints or so in a plastic bucket. I would screw in a 23/2 iron base plug to the gren body, attach a crocodile clip to a car battery and another croc clip to a very clean de greased iron bar and imerst the gren in the solution, taking care not to get the croc clips wet. I am told it will not take long for all the crome and nickel to be removed. However i am sure there are many more experts on the forum who could talk you through this better than i, especially about which connections you should use on the battery etc.
Hope this helps,

Hi Gothica7,
That sounds like it should do the trick. I have a couple of empty WW2 US 37mm HE projectiles that were pulled from the production line and chromed to do as well so maybe i will try one of those first.
Many thanks, Weasel.
De-Chroming !

Hi Weasel and Gothica, if either of you do try this reverse Chroming process please would you post all the details with pictures here so others can see the results and if it is a safe procedure then they could in fact copy your system as there are a lot of really nice items out there that have been spoilt by being chromed.

Good luck with the project.

Chris :tinysmile_shy_t:
Hi Chris,
I will do a bit of research into this and post the results, so as you said other members can give it a go.
Best Weasel.
If you want to remove the chrome/nickel/copper plating I would suggest taking it to a professional platers. Overtime I've had a number of items such as handwheels for machine tools re-chromed and this has been included in the price which have been very reasonable.

One thing to be aware of is what are you going to be left with? I've a chromed Mills somewhere (can't remember if it is a 5/23/36) that was most definitely NOT cast with a surface as smooth as it now has. Someone has spent a great deal of time and effort filing, polishing etc., the original casting to the point, that if the plating was to be removed I think it would look as unauthentic as it does look chromed.


Tim. G.
You have a valid point there TimG, its a tricky call with the gren...but i will still go ahead with the two 37's i think. I have found a few methods for a home reverse electrolosis process. Will keep you posted.
Best Weasel.
Hi Tim,

i dont think so as none of my grens, even my best look perfectly smooth, they wernt meant to either as none were expected to be returned. The gren in question is a rare centre cast which should be in its original condition. Ime sure a quick buff up and a coat of shellac would improve it no end once the chrome is removed. Be worth more too.
I am not a collector who has to have everything perfect and the odd mark or blemish often adds character in my opinion. I particularly like this on a training gren which are my faves as many a soldier has trained with it and i hope learned to use it well which as served him for real.