A couple who kept an old missile as a garden ornament said “it was like the passing of an old friend” when it was detonated by a bomb disposal team.
The bomb, which had been outside the home of Sian and Jeffrey Edwards in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, is thought to date from the late 19th Century.
The couple had thought it was a “dummy” bomb with no charge.
The Ministry of Defence said it removed a 64lb (29kg) “naval projectile”.
Mrs Edwards said she used to bang her trowel on the bomb to remove earth after gardening.
But on Wednesday evening, a police officer knocked on the door to tell the couple he had spotted the bomb and would need to alert the Ministry of Defence.
An hour later, he told the shocked couple the bomb squad would arrive the next day.
It was a sleepless night for Mr and Mrs Edwards, who had been told the whole street might need to be evacuated.
“We didn’t sleep a wink all night. It knocked us for six,” said Mr Edwards.
“I told the bomb disposal unit ‘we’re not leaving the house, we’re staying here. If it goes up, we’re going to go up with it’.”
Tests proved the bomb was live, but with only a tiny amount of charge. It was taken to a disused quarry in Walwyn’s Castle, covered with five tonnes of sand and detonated.
‘It was an old friend’
After living in the street since he was three years old, 77-year-old Mr Edwards was sad to see it go.
“It was an old friend. I’m so sorry that the poor old thing was blown to pieces.”
Mr Edwards said he had been told the history of the bomb by the Morris family, whose relative used to own the house. They said he had found it more than 100 years ago.
“Warships for the Royal Navy used to drop anchor in St Brides Bay and point their guns towards Broad Haven and open fire,” he claimed.
“They used to use the sands for target practice. They’d make sure there was no one on the sands, mind!
“Well Pop Morris, who went around delivering lemonade, was going down to Broad Haven with his horse and cart and found the shell.
“He struggled back up the beach with it, put it on the back of his cart and had a very bouncy seven-mile ride back home.
“He plonked it upright in the front courtyard and that’s where it remained.”
The bomb was later sunk into concrete and painted red to match the window ledges when Mr and Mrs Edwards bought the house in 1982.
“It stood there during two world wars,” said Mr Edwards.
The Ministry of Defence said: “We can confirm that on 30 Nov 23, Ashchurch Troop, 721 EOD Sqn, 11 EOD&S Regt RLC, responded at the request of Dyfed-Powys Police to a suspect item of ordnance.
“The EOD team assessed the item and determined it to be a 64lb naval projectile which was removed from the scene for subsequent explosive demolition.”