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G&R Removals move huge WW1 shell

Mar 05, 2015
G&R Removals – best known for moving pianos - had an unusual assignment last December: to move a huge German WW1 naval shell from Exeter to the north east coastal town of Hartlepool.

The 6 cwt shell was to become the centrepiece of a display commemorating the attack on Hartlepool by German warships on 16 December, 1914, which killed 86 civilians and injured a further 424.

“We were contacted by one of our partners in the South West and asked if we could move an unusual item for them,” said G&R Director Lance Green. “We were happy to help and sent two of our guys, Steve Torok and George Loveridge down to pick it up.  Steve used to be a weightlifter and was once rated Hungary’s third strongest man, so he was ideal for the job!”

The bombardment by battlecruisers Seydlitz, Moltke and Blücher caused outrage towards the German navy and also the Royal Navy for not preventing the attack on the town.  The shell – one 1150 fired by the ships – failed to explode and was defused by two Devon soldiers.

Speaking to The Western Morning News, Rosie Denham, Exeter’s lead councillor for economy and culture said, “The German shell was brought to Exeter during the First World War out of respect for Taperell and Peters, the two brave Exeter men who risked their lives to diffuse it.”

“It is now one of only two known surviving shells from the devastating attack that killed 86 civilians and wounded many more. We are confident that Taperell and Peters would be pleased that the shell is being returned to Hartlepool, where the attack is such an important part of the town’s First World War history.”

Farther down the coast on the same day, the seaside towns of Scarborough and Whitby were also attacked by battlecruisers, Derffinger and Von der Tann, resulting in many more civilian deaths and injuries.  Posters depicting the raid were later used for recruitment.

Photo: Former weightlifter Steve Torok and colleague George Loveridge with the 6 cwt shell  -  Pictures courtesy of The Western Morning News.

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