Every evening Sidney Tration combs the beaches of his native Devon with his hand held metal detector. On a good day he may find a handful of loose change or a set of keys, though Sidney rarely finds anything of any great value. On June 23rd of this year, however, Sidney found something wholly unexpected - a World War II German U-boat, complete with its original crew.
"When we opened it up the crew were very confused. They seemed to think that the war was still on and I had a hellish time explaining that they'd lost. I suppose you can't blame them for being a little irritable. Anybody who's been trapped under a beach for over fifty years is entitled to be a little miffed."
Legally, anything found on Devon's public beaches is the property of Devon County Council, but in this instance the council has waived its claim to the submarine.
"I've been approached by all sorts of people who are interested in buying the U-boat," says Sidney. " But I've turned them all down. I intend to keep the submarine myself, and have it stuffed."
Sidney Tration's submarine is not the only strange thing to be found on Britain's beaches this year. In March schoolchildren in Morecambe discovered an eight-foot long French fry wedged in sandbank. In April a woman in Rhyl found a thirty-four year old cinema usherette in a rock pool. And more recently a man exploring the Humberside coastline has found Cleethorpes, a busy coastal town believed lost in the 1960s.
Selections from Dr Bongo's dazzling literary career
Jez Moonbeam discovers the joke particle
Eating beans without opening the tin.
Fergus Pong invites us to his rural information hub.
Fun for nearly all the family!
Prof Moonbeam invents new kind of fan.
21 March 2017: Hypnotic Wipes to Tackle Information Leakage
16 March 2017: Space Junk
14 March 2017: Ladder Ordeal Enters Sixteenth Hour