When first discovered, the three metal (copper alloy) objects from Berry Head Common were
not immediately recognised and although dated to the WW2 period were believed to be
simply the screw caps off petrol cans! However after inspection by Mr. Edgar Lawrance
(Master Gunner Royal Artillery, retired) they were all identified as the base closing plugs to
WW2 Mills No. 36M grenades. Although of the same design, each plug had been the product
of three different manufacturers, as evidenced by letters on the base (see Figure 1). Following
a lead suggested by Mr. Andrew Smith (editor of CBA SW Journal) who had located a
website specifically on grenade base plugs, the author contacted the website creator Mr.
David Sampson (an avid collector of grenade base plugs) who kindly provided information
on two of the three manufacturers represented (Sampson, pers. comm., 2008):
P.S.C. denotes the Parkinson Stone Company, whilst Q indicates the maker was the Qualcast
Company, Derby. Unfortunately the identity of the third manufacturer WML remains
Further research revealed that the Qualcast foundry in Derby had been established in 1920
and before WW2 produced lawnmowers. During the war the company’s workshops in Derby
were re-equipped to turn out mortar bombs and grenades. Within four months of the ending
of hostilities, in 1945, Qualcast had returned to normal operations and become the largest
manufacturer of lawnmowers at that time in the UK.
The more recently (2009) discovered base plug was probably manufactured by K. A. Kenrick
and Sons, West Bromwich.