Unusual WW2 finds – Part 5

For the last in this mini series of blogs, I take a look at items that are a little easier to identify, and some items that just shouldn’t be where they were found at all!

On one of my permissions is an area where it appears as though old bits of kit were disposed of by burning. Many of the finds from this site are beyond saving, as the fire set obviously got so hot that it simply melted them down to blobs! However, at the edges of the burn pit you can find some excellent relics, and evidence that they seemed to throw away stuff that, nowadays, we would be recycling.

Take for example these barrel brushes. Lots of different sizes and calibres, all with a decent chunk of brass on them.

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Barrel cleaning brushes of various size

And in among these barrel brushes were even heftier chunks of brass, in the form of these trigger gauges. These would be used by armourers to set the ‘pull’ of the weapon’s trigger, to either a service standard or, in some cases, to the requirement of the individual soldier.

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Trigger gauges from Lee-Enfield, Vickers MG and other weapons.

Obviously brass doesn’t burn, so what was the fuel they used for these fires? We find evidence of them using lots of different things, from slings to cloth MG belts, but mainly wooden crates.

This sign shows considerable fire damage, but it shows they were using the crate it came from the build the fire.

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Sign from inside the lid of a No. 76 (AW bomb) wooden crate

We also found a lot of evidence that they used the wooden stocks from rifles and other weapons to build the fire, with butt plates and ID discs found quite regularly, all that is left of the burned wooden furniture. If we are really lucky, we even find these……

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Lee-Enfield dummy training rifle trigger/magazine and bolt
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Lee-Enfield dummy training rifle trigger/magazine

A rare beast and a shame they got burnt!

We also find evidence of webbing and even leather being used for the fuel. One area in particular yielded hundreds of these little brass tabs.

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Tab, Securing, Bayonet

These were used to secure the spike bayonet scabbard to the bayonet holder webbing.

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Spike bayonet scabbard and securing tab

The sheer number found showed us that they set fire to hundreds of these bits of webbing.

Curiously other items were found in the same area that were never going to burn, being made entirely of metal.

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Pistol grip frame from Browning M1919
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Pistol grip from a Browning M1919 MG
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Picture showing the pistol grip in situ

Very nice finds though, so no complaints!

Lastly in this series I thought I’d show you some items that simply shouldn’t be where they were found.

All of these items have been found at one of my permissions, in which is a dump pit. It was used by the British army and the only conclusion I can come to is that these items were spoils of war, brought back to the UK for examination and assessment. Or perhaps they are vet bring-backs that got confiscated? Who knows, but they are damn good finds for UK soil!

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K98 butt plates and Luger magazine
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Stock of a K98 showing butt plate
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K98 trigger guard and magazine housing
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German aluminium 7.92mm ammunition box
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German 20mm magazines
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German 20mm magazines
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Waffenamt stamp and makers mark on the 20mm magazine

The 20mm magazines were found still in the original metal box. The box itself had taken most of the damage from being sat in the ground for 70+ years, with the magazines themselves in remarkable condition.

Just goes to show that it isn’t just Allied stuff you can find in the UK!

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