World War One Shell Base

We have the base of a 1916 World War One shell in our War and Weaponry Collection.

Shells are projectile weapons which contain explosives. They are usually cylindrical with a 'nose' at the end to aid their ability to travel through the air.They were first recorded as being used in the Republic of Venice in 1376.

Shrapnel shells used in World War One contained lots of little bits of metal or bullets. These were fired out at great speed when the shell burst. Shrapnel could inflict enormous damage to soldiers, animals and equipment. It is estimated that throughout 5,000,000 tons of shells were used by the Allies against enemy positions.

Soldiers who had been subjected to continual exposure to shell-fire were in danger of developing a condition called "shell shock". The symptoms included tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches. Eventually many of these men suffered mental breakdowns, which made it impossible for them to remain in the front line. Between 1914 and 1918, 80,000 men in the British Army (2% of those who saw active service) were diagnosed as suffering from shell-shock.