A BOMB disposal unit detonated a German bomb on Worthing beach on Tuesday.
The incendiary device was found in an unoccupied house in Orchard Avenue, Tarring, on Monday, however, the police were not informed until the following day.
The Royal Navy Fleet Diving Squadron bomb disposal unit was contacted and travelled from Portsmouth to retrieve the bomb, which was cylindrical with fins, before transporting it to the beach for safe disposal.
Peter Penfold, 74, of Bluebell Drive, Littlehampton, was clearing out his uncle’s house when he discovered the bomb in the lounge.
He said: “I thought it was a replica, but when these guys said it was a real one I said ‘oh no’.
“I thought it must be a dummy stuck on a shelf like that. It was all covered in dust. It was like a rolling pin with a fin on the end.”
Mr Penfold left it in the hallway overnight and it was not until Robert Snow, 48, of Toronto Close, Durrington, saw the bomb on Tuesday morning that the police were contacted.
Mr Snow, who studied military history at Royal Holloway University and was helping with the clear out, recognised the German insignia on the device.
Speaking from Orchard Avenue, Chris O’Flaherty, commanding officer Fleet Diving Squadron, said: “It’s in immaculate condition. They moved it into the back garden which isn’t something we would usually recommend, to put it bluntly.
“We do get quite a few of these. You have got to treat them with extreme caution.”
Thousands of the devices were dropped along the south coast during the war. Incendiary devices were designed to start fires upon impact.
The appearance of the military unit caused a stir in Orchard Avenue.
Tina Dunglison, 44, lives next door to the house in which the bomb was found.
She said: “I was having a boring day at work and then I come back home to this.
“I’m not surprised. They have got ancient stuff in there [in the house].”
She admitted to being ‘slightly concerned’.
Maureen Crayford’s sister-in-law previously lived in the house before going into care.
Mrs Crayford, 78, and her husband Bryan, 79, were also helping Mr Penfold to clear the house.
Mrs Crayford, of Brittany Road, Tarring, said: “You don’t think you’re going to come across something like that sitting on the shelf do you?
“It’s been there for so long. It nearly went in the skip.”
Crowds of people lined the promenade to watch the device explode.
There were cheers and applause following the emergence of a plume of smoke and a loud bang.
To see a video of the detonation and an interview with commander O’Flaherty, visit www.worthingherald.co.uk