Ink well made from a hand grenade casting as used in World War One. The grenade is cast from bronze, and stands on a black enamelled dish printed: "Memento of the Great War, Actual hand grenade casting. As used by the Allies. Reg'd No. 651542, 1915". The grenade is stamped D 22.
This ink well is made from a casting of a 'Mills Bomb No. 5' [with its firing pin removed!] The Mills bomb was the first modern fragmentation grenade used by the British army. Developed in 1915 it became the standard British Army issue hand grenade in World War I, and commonly available to infantry troops from 1916 onwards. Soldiers may not have remembered this model of grenade with fondness. After throwing the user had to take cover immediately. A competent user could hurl the grenade 15 metres, but the grenade could scatter dangerous fragments farther than this. The seven second fuse meant that when enemy trenches were close by the Germans could toss the grenade back while it was still live and lethal. Some soldiers took their chances and counted down before throwing. The Mills Bomb, with slight variations, was used through World War II and was still manufactured in Britain up till 1972.
This object is held in the Te Manawa Collection - photographs and information kindly provided by museum staff.