NOSTALGIA: Lads ‘lug’ 32lb unexploded shell home in 1959 and plans to put town on the sporting map in 1999

Here we see pupils at Haven High in 1999, receiving certificates after taking part in the Compact Plus scheme. The programme was developed by the Youth Service to develop a range of skills and included for the youngsters a 16-mile all-night hike.
Here we see pupils at Haven High in 1999, receiving certificates after taking part in the Compact Plus scheme. The programme was developed by the Youth Service to develop a range of skills and included for the youngsters a 16-mile all-night hike.
  • 1959: Three youngsters ‘lug’ 32lb unexploded shell home to Boston
  • 1999: Talks held over new top-class sports facilities for athletes with disabilities, and honour for film producer Barry Spikings

Sixty years ago, 1959 ...

Across two miles of Leverton Marsh, three lads struggled with a 32lb unexploded Howitzer shell, dropping it repeatedly, throwing it across creeks, and, at one point, rolling it down a hill to clean it – having first hit it with a hammer to find out what lay beneath the mud and barnacles on it; before then cycling 11 miles home to Boston, carrying it in a saddle bag.

We were a bit scared when we saw the brass cap, but I still wanted to bring it (the 32lb unexploded Howitzer shell) home because I knew no-one else would have one of them.

Flirting with danger were 14-year-old Grammar School boy Peter Isaacs, of Eastwood Road, a collector of such shells, and his two pals, Nicky Pears and Chris Nunn.

The brass cap was still on the shell and was grooved, which told the lads it had been fire but not exploded.

“We were a bit scared when we saw the brass cap, but I still wanted to bring it home because I knew no-one else would have one of them,” said Peter, who put it in his saddle bag.

The 2ft long, 4.5in wide shell was ultimately taken away by a bomb disposal squad. Ahead of their arrival, it was kept in the garden, surrounded by sandbags.

Peter said he hoped to have it back after it was rendered harmless.

After all, he said: “I lugged it about 11 miles – it was a smasher!”

Twenty years ago, 1999 ...

Talks were being held in Boston to provide top-class sports facilities in the area for athletes with disabilities.

The discussions had been held between Boston Borough Council and disability sport representatives.

It was hoped the provision could become a centre for regional – or even national – events.

A site for the facilities had yet to be finalised and there was an opportunity for it to become an integral part of the multi-million pound Boardsides sports venue, if a suitable area of land could be acquired, the paper wrote.

* Boston’s Barry Spikings, who started as a cub reporter at the Standard in the 50s and went on to become an award-winning film producer, had received a fresh accolade for his picture The Deer Hunter.

The movie, which won Best Film at the Oscars 20 years earlier, had been chosen by the American Film Institute (AFI) as one of America’s great movies of the century and been included in its 100 Years ... 100 Movies rundown.

Barry, who at that time was living in Malibu, California, received a special framed certificate recognising his contribution to America’s heritage, together with a letter of congratulations from the AFI.