A Visit To The Woods Results In Some Great WW2 Relics

During the filming of one episode of WW2 Treasure Hunters, ‘The Bomb Factory’, we had 20 detectorists scouring the land for relics. Not only that, but as the site is less than a mile from where I live, I have visited it frequently. So I was sure that I had seen everything the site had to offer in the way of WW2 relics. Yet today I found 2 items that I have never found before at the site!

Over the years I’ve been recovering WW2 relics, I’ve learnt to never think a site has been searched so much that there is nothing left to find. There always is! The old detectorists saying, ‘You have to walk over it to find it’ is so very true. Despite numerous trips to the same area of a site, every now and again you hit a patch of ground that you’ve obviously missed on all previous visits, as that one little patch is jammed with finds. The dig today was just like that, with many of the relics coming from one small patch of woodland.

The local metal detecting club, ‘Loughborough Coin & Search Society’ (LCSS), had arranged permission at the site so I tagged along, (I am a member of the club after all!). As they all descended on the ploughed fields, I headed for the woodland where I had recovered so many WW2 relics from before. It wasn’t a memorable dig for the volume of relics recovered, but it was for a couple of items that came out of the ground.

As usual with a site used by the British army in WW2, 303 cartridge cases were to be found everywhere. The main body of the cases survive quite well in the ground, but the necks are usually very brittle and break apart easily, hence why many of them are missing that portion. Interestingly though, these cartridge cases turned out to not all be WW2 era, with many of them from a much earlier time.

Here is what I recovered today. I forgot to do a ‘before cleaning’ picture though, so straight on to the finds once cleaned.

It isn’t just ordnance that interests me about WW2, but the personal items as well. A couple of Brylcream tubes, a boot polish lid and a tin of Gibbs Dentifrice, along with a spoon. To get as much cream out as possible, the men who used them would roll the metal tubes up. This preserves the paint inside the ‘roll’ so once home, they are carefully unrolled to reveal the tubes.
The spoon has got a WD arrow but it is very feint, (in between the two stamps). Shame it was dated 1946, but a nice relic non-the-less.
Lots of coins on this trip, including a nice silver shilling which I found on the surface. The item top left is a dart but I am not sure it is the right era. Nice padlock as well but unfortunately without a WD arrow or date.
Cartridge cases! 303s are all over the place at the site, and it was nice to recover a 50cal as well, (Twin Cities Ordnance plant, 1943).
Some interesting headstamps here. Royal Labs, Woolwich and Greenwood and Batley, Leeds. Of note though is the ‘C’ headstamp which stands for cordite filled. This ceased being used in 1912 so well before WW1. The roman numerals denote the ‘mark’ of cartridge case, showing some are Mk IVs.
WW2 era 303 cartridge cases. Royal Ordnance Factory, Blackpole, Worchester (BE), Winchester Repeating Arms Co. New Haven, Conneticutt, USA (WRA), Dominion Cartridge Company, CANADA (DC). So we have cartridge cases from the UK, USA and Canada. The VII shows it is a Mk 7 casse, with the ‘Z’ denoting a nitrocellulose fill. The ‘G II’ is for a Mk 2 tracer.
A nice group of military items, showing the two ‘firsts’ for this site.
Pull switch, No 1, Mk 1. It is missing the bottom portion but a first for this site! This switch only ever held a small percussion cap so is entirely safe, especially as the bit with the percussion cap is missing!


Diagram of the switch showing the internal workings and the fact it only ever held a small percussion cap
Service igniter, Safety fuze, percussion Mk III. This is around the 10th from the site now. These only ever contained a small percussion cap.


Diagram of the Mk III showing internal workings and the fact it only ever held a tiny percussion cap
Transport plug for the tracer element in an artillery shell, nicely dated.
Another first is this great Royal Army Ordnance Corps cap badge, which has cleaned up remarkably well considering how long it’s been in the ground. Nice service button as well. I have found RAOC badges there before, but never one of this type.


So another great day recovering WW2 relics, and more to add to my collection!


  1. The pull switch has not changed much over the years, very similar to switches we used in the eighties when setting booby traps. Keep them coming Stephen .


  2. Hi Stephen i have sent a message to you on facebook messenger re a site we have just aquired thank you


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