Unexploded shell

Karen Blake with the unexploded shell.

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A Kintyre couple reconstructing a Passchendaele patrol stumbled on an unexploded German shell.

Karen Blake and her husband John, from Clachan, found the 10.5mm ordnance on the path her great uncle, Lieutenant Duncan Mackinnon, might have taken when he walked his last steps.

He died in the 3rd Battle of Passchendaele, one hundred years ago in October 1917.

Mrs Blake said: ‘I found out that is not unusual for farmers to find shells in their fields, even one hundred years on.

‘There is a system where they then notify the disposal team and leave them by a signpost or war cemetery for collection and disposal.’

A Belgian explosives expert she met, at the special Passchendaele memorial event on Monday, identified it as an unexploded 10.5cm German shell, but said the British used very similar armaments.

They expect to find ordnance from both sides for many years to come, including chemical weapons.

The pair recreated Scots Guardsman Lt Mackinnon’s patrol from military records found by historians at Magdalen College, Oxford where the soldier had studied.