WORKERS at Ellon’s Red Cross shop in the Square faced a highly unusual donation last week, after someone handed in a World War 1 shell detonator.
The device, which appears to be in very good condition, initially confused staff who had no idea what it was, and only later discovered its origin almost a week afterwards.
Audrey Gartly, who has recently started as assistant manager at the shop, told the Times that staff were baffled as to the small, conical, brass device’s provenance after it was left at the shop’s door, most likely in a box of bric-a-brac or a bag of clothes.
“It came with a series of numbers, and different components,” she said. “The word Scovill was printed on it, but when I performed an internet search, all that turned up were references to the measuring scale for how hot chillis are, and information about a company making buttons for jeans. I concluded that neither of these explanations had anything to do with it!
“I then asked some members at the Rotary Club, and they told me that it was a timing device for a shell. It was certainly a surprise! Scovill, it turns out, is the name of the American munitions company who made it, and it dates back to 1917. There is a serial number, and it would be fascinating to know more about it, and how it came to be in Ellon.
“We’ve actually since had an offer on it from someone, but we wanted to make sure there was nothing untoward before we sold it. We contacted the police, who in turn contacted the MOD, and they are currently looking at it to make sure it’s safe, and properly deactivated.
She added that reports about there being a bomb squad were exaggerated.
“Fortunately, there was no bomb squad called!” she joked. ”It looks as if it’s been kept indoors, as it’s in remarkably good condition. Whoever it belonged to was probably using it as a paperweight, or something like that.”