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Posted : February 1, 2008
cordite was washed up on the Rhinns of Islay (Isle of Islay) about 20 yrs ago. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me which wreck this was most likely from, and in what ammunition it would have been used? I am writing about an 'experience' with the explosive! And would love to have as much information about it's life under the waves. Do the shells rust for example? Is there lots of this material on our shores... Any info' or pointers in the right direction would be most welcome! Many thanks, Margaret.
Is cordite safe to burn, but not when the sticks are bundled up, or contained? What does it smell like? Peppery?

Posted : February 1, 2008
A question really for the MoD.

Maritime charts show an area near the Isle of Islay that was once a munitions dumping ground.

These dumping grounds are safe and over time the shells dissolve and life takes over the site.

Yes most shells are steel or iron based and hence do rust away, most of the explosives dissolve away too, from the very complex to the simple types like you describe.

Most don't burn well after years and years of immersion and my advice is leave well alone, inform the coast guard and get them or the police to deal with it. Some types will not be recommended to put anyware near flames or the like.

If a shell head looks all white and starts hissing, for heaven sake throw it back in the water as it is likely to be phosphorus.

The coast guard has some good leaflets on munitions found by divers, walkers (on beaches), fishermen and women - grab a copy from your local officer,

Hope these few pointers help Margaret.

cheers and regards, Andrew.
Answer provided by ADM Diving

Andrew Dawson-Maddocks
The views expressed by the author are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by the author, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be technically correct.
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