18pdr Shrapnel Shell

I have had a number of brass 18 pounder shell casings for many years and about five years ago I picked up a fuze for the same shell on a trip to Belgium. What I lacked until last year was the shell itself to go between these two elements. The shell I picked up was clearly a ground dug example and was rather rusted on the outside, but generally sound: 

This shell is from an 18-pounder shrapnel shell and originally would have had a tightly packed set of shrapnel balls inside, together with a bursting charge: 

The corrosion had not only taken hold of the iron components, but the copper driving band was also showing the effects of being in the ground for decades: 

Happily, the underlying structure was still good and some careful work with the angle grinder to clean up the metal work allowed me to repaint the shell black and reassemble it with the casing and fuze to create a rather impressive set: 

The shell is obviously not new, with many of the larger pits remaining in the metalwork, but it does look very smart and is well over 18” high now its all put together. I still have a way to go to have as many shells as these chaps however… 

One comment

  1. One of the first EOD calls I was part of in the 70’s was for one of these from WW1, it was being used as a closet doorstop for some 50 years, complete with PTTF fuze that still had the powder train !!
    Made a nice little ‘whump’ when we blew it in a nearby clay pit and the shrapnel marks in the pit sides was an eye-opener for the homeowner.

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