1st World War Hand Grenade (Mills Bomb)

Objects from this contributor

1st World War Hand Grenade (Mills Bomb)

Objects like this were made by the million, with the sole purpose of destruction. It weighs just over one pound and fits comfortably into the hand. It is easy to imagine throwing it.

This is an incomplete case, yet to be finished by drilling holes to take the firing mechanism and of course it is innocent of any trace of explosive. When complete the safety clip held a lever in place against the side of the case; to use it all that was necessary was to hold the lever firmly in place, pull out the safety clip and throw the grenade as far as possible before taking cover from the explosion. The grooves in the case allowed it to break up in the explosion, increasing the destructive power.

This one belonged to my father who was born in 1913, he never told me how he got it. Because it is unfinished my assumption is that a relative worked in a munitions factory and brought it home as a macabre souvenir, perhaps at the end of the war when the factory closed.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.