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Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Wednesday, 25 August 2010 16:21 UK
German Luger gun found at new Hull health centre site
German Luger gun
The German Luger gun was in service between 1908 and 1945

It was used in the Second World War and was buried for 65 years in the centre of Hull, until now.

A German Luger gun, which dates back to 1943, has been discovered by a construction worker at a building site on Storey Street in Hull.

The handgun was found buried at the back of a redundant chimney at the site by Bob Shimmels.

"I was digging the trench for the foundations and it was right next to an existing building deep in the foundations," said Mr Schimmels.

"For the first few seconds I was just staring at it and trying to work out what it was, before I picked it up and felt the weight of it and that's when I thought: 'this is a real gun."

Bob Shimmels with Luger
Construction worker Bob Shimmels found the gun whilst digging

"As soon as I found out it was a Luger I was shocked," added Mr Shimmels.

Now in the care of the police, it is not known how the weapon ended up buried at the site, which is being developed to make way for a new health centre.

The 9mm calibre German Luger Parabellum P-08 was originally designed by Georg Luger in 1898 and was manufactured between 1908 and 1945.

"The proper name for the pistol is the Pistole Parabellum P-08, commonly known by its designer's name just as the 'Luger'. Para Bellum, by the way, is a reference to the [Latin] phrase 'Si vis pacem, para bellum' meaning 'if you want peace, prepare for war'," explained Jonathan Ferguson, the curator of firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.

"It was designed to fire what is now the most common pistol cartridge in the world - the 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger - and so is almost always regarded in law as a prohibited weapon."

Hull was heavily bombed during the Second World War including the construction site on Storey Street and Albion Street, which was formerly a department store and then car park.

Construction workers at the building site are hoping the handgun will be on public display.

"It's not everyday you find a gun on site" said David Barley, the site manager looking after the build of the new health centre.

"It remains with the police for now but what we'd like to do is go through the decommissioning process and actually take it back and display it within the building at some point. We can't guarantee that's going to happen yet we've got to go through the correct procedure."

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