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Object Detail

A hand grenade made during World War Two, to the Mills bomb design. The grenade has been mounted on a base and has a bolt driven through the firing pun, rendering it harmless. The body of the grenade is a rusted brown colour with red paint and a green band around the centre. The base is screwed onto the bottom of the grenade with a silver screw. The top of the grenade has a long lever down the back of the grenade held in place by a pin. The outside of the grenade is a grooved cast iron design known as a pineapple shape. On the clasp underneath the pin is " NPZ / ! / 46 " engraved into the surface.
Production Date
Primary Prod Period
World War II (1939 - 1945)
Subject Person
Credit Line
Betty Skellern, nee Ardern, was born and raised in Taranaki, but after the outbreak of World War Two her life took a rather unexpected turn. After leaving a job in New Plymouth, Betty assumed she would head home to Inglewood, but the need for ' manpower ' to produce munitions meant she was sent to Lower Hutt to work in the Ford factory. The factory produced a whole range of armaments, vehicles and other equipment, including grenades. Betty's role was to stuff grenades with gunpowder, and she remembers being bright yellow by the end of a day's work!

Women were ' manpowered ' by the Government from all over the lower North Island to Lower Hutt. They were housed in hostels specifically built for the purpose. Betty remembers making some wonderful friends during her time there and having a great time visiting Wellington, but it was a big change from her life in Taranaki. Betty worked at the Ford factory from 1943 to 1945 and at the end of the war she, along with the other women who had helped the war effort, were given one of these souvenir grenades to remember their experience.
Grenades like this one are identical to the ones produced for war, except they have had their firing mechanism removed and have been attached to a base for display.
Accession No


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My mother, maiden name Margaret Jean WITTERS, also made grenades at the Ford Factory. Apparently she featured in a short movie which was shown on ? Movietone News, My sisters and I would love to find out if that cine film exists somewhere.

- Heather Mutch

Posted on 17-11-2017 04:25:03