Putting up a new garden fence is not exactly everyone’s idea of fun but for David Bonner, it was almost an absolute blast.
The New Malden man was digging a ditch for his new perimeter when he uncovered a live hand grenade buried in his back garden.
The discovery saw police, firefighters and a police explosives expert swoop upon his house in Cleveland Road and remove the unexploded device, which was missing both its pin and its handle.
Although the operation passed without incident, it still caused a stir among neighbours.
Mr Bonner, 76, said: “There were so many roots, and when I hit it I thought it was just another one.
“But then I turned it over and I knew straight away what it was.” Undaunted, the semi-retired carpenter picked it up and moved it further down the garden.
Mr Bonner said: “I did not want to just throw it in a bin.
“I called Kingston Council, which told me to call police. Some officers came around and then there were fire engines, ambulances and police cars all outside.”
Officers knocked on neighbours’ doors to warn them of the bomb disposal operation taking place just yards away.
One resident, 16-year-old Milo Tucker, was surprised to find officers knocking on his upstairs bedroom door.
He said: “At first I thought it was my brother mucking about.
“The police said not to go near the windows, because there had been a grenade discovered in the back garden.
“I was shocked to say the least.”
Mr Bonner, who has lived at the property with his wife Cynthia since 1961, said he was told by explosives experts the grenade dated back to 1935, four years before the start of World War II.
He said: “It is amazing really. I put up a fence 30 years ago, and I must have dug it out then. It is a mystery how it got there.”
The discovery comes just weeks after a Second World War grenade was found at Burlington Junior School, less than a mile from Mr Bonner’s house.
But New Malden resident John Eggett, 75, who lived in the town during the war, said these discoveries were nothing new.
Nevertheless, Mr Bonner saw the funny side. He said: “I thought it was a blast”.