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World War I Detonators Found Among Potatoes Imported from Normandy

Fanni Kaszás 2020.05.11.

Potential explosive devices were found in Dunaegyháza from an imported consignment of potatoes from Normandy, the 1st Honvéd Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) and Warship Regiment of the Hungarian Armed Forces, announced on Monday on their official Facebook page. According to the regiment, the EOD teams arrived to the village in Bács-Kiskun county after a police report, where suspicious metal objects were found on the territory of a local potato plant.

Major Viktor Kovács, pyrotechnics training officer, said that the “No. 101 Mk II” type British-made World War I artillery detonators were found among a potato cargo, where they were well concealed due to their similar size and color.

Pyrotechnicians inspected the more than 100-year-old detonators and – after it was revealed that they no longer contained pyrotechnic material – transported them for later destruction.

The British No. 101 Mark II fuse was manufactured in World War I between 1917 and 1921, according to the data sheet of the Imperial War Museum. Therefore, it is a little strange that these detonators came out of a consignment of potatoes from Normandy, where one of the most important operations of World War II took place, but there was no significant fighting in World War I. However, as a reader of Hungarian news portal index.hu pointed out, the detonators were still in service by British forces after 1921, and they even used them in World War II, in Normandy as well. The Germans also plundered a significant amount of it in 1940 from the British forces and used it in several locations, including Normandy.

It is still questionable how the hundred-year-old detonators made it to Hungary in the imported batch of potatoes from Normandy. They probably mixed with the potatoes during large-scale, machine-harvesting of the potatoes when the machine rolled out the objects similar in size and color from the ground.

Index.hu questioned the largest domestic potato producer Haladás Mezőgazdasági Zrt., at whose premises the detonators were found. For the time being, they did not want to comment on the situation until they knew more.

featured photo: Milán Gajdos/1st Honvéd Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) and Warship Regiment/Facebook