Arms dump fears allayed

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COUNCIL bosses have issued assurances over internet fears that a Second World War munitions dump has been discovered in Hartlepool.

A historical map has emerged with an ‘X’ marking a site on Easington Road which used to be a munitions store.

The former munitions site at Easington Road.

The former munitions site at Easington Road.

But Hartlepool Council chiefs say there is no evidence that there was ever any weapons at the site.

The site has come to light recently after the 1950s map was posted on the History of Hartlepool page on Facebook.

Some Facebook users on the page were generally interested in the history of the site, while others raised concerns that “if we lit a match we could all blow up”.

One of the Facebook users contacted the Mail calling for the council to help put people’s minds at ease over the munitions dump.

Andrew Hay, 66, a retired ICI worker who grew up in Pounder Place, less than 300ft from the site, said: “I was brought up on the doorstep of this. A lot of people probably don’t even know it’s been there.

“I’ve been told there’s definitely something buried there, from the late 1940s and 1950s. People are wanting to know if there could be a search done on there.

“The council are saying they have got no record of it being a munitions dump, but what happens if they don’t actually know what’s there.”

The dad-of-two and grandfather-of-three, who now lives in the Foggy Furze area, added: “It’s a worry for the people of Hartlepool.

“Something could go with a bang.

“It would be terrible if there was any ammunition on that site.

“The concern is if there was any munitions, were they removed clearly and properly?

“If something is still buried, anything could happen.”

But a council spokesman said: “We have no evidence to suggest that the area was used as an ammunition dump during the Second World War.

“It was prepared as a site for a heavy anti-aircraft battery, but we have no evidence to suggest that it was ever used or armed.

“This was not unusual – in 1942 there were over 1,000 heavy anti-aircraft batteries around Britain, but of those only 494 actually had guns.

“The remainder of the sites were available for anti-aircraft guns to be deployed to them should a particular area come under persistent fire.

“The battery site in Hartlepool was demolished soon after the end of the war.”

The map shows the old Howbeck Hospital, as well as settlements at Throston Grange and Hannover House, close to where the Shell garage is now.

The Ministry of Defence was unable to comment.