FRIDAY the 13th proved not to be so unlucky for a mole-catcher from Littlethorpe who uncovered a live, unexploded mortar bomb from World War Two while inspecting his traps.
Brian Alderton, 67, discovered the two-inch wide, foot-long projectile in the ground in a field between Aldborough and Boroughbridge – about 600 yards from Boroughbridge Tennis Club – on the afternoon of Friday, April 13.
“It was sticking out of the ground and as soon as I pulled it out I thought ‘this is an unexploded bomb and I better put it down quickly’,” said Brian, who has been a mole catcher for 14 years.
“I laid it back down carefully and put in some markers so the bomb disposal people could see it.”
After retreating from the area, Brian telephoned the police who cordoned off the area and made contact with the 521 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron based at Catterick Garrison.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman confimed the mortar was “still active”, adding: “The squadron carried out a controlled explosion on site but we would also add it would have caused serious injury if it had been set off and that Mr Alderton did the right thing to call the police and get the experts out.”
The spokesman said the mortar would have been left accidentally by British forces using the field for training exercises during World War Two.
Reflecting on his brush with death on a date many consider to be bad luck, Mr Alderton remained stoical about the whole affair.
He said: “I think when you look at it in reality, it’s been in the ground for 60 years and been ploughed over hundreds of times and it had never gone off – I think there was really no danger.”