The British army dump site I have had permission to dig for a few years now, always produces the goods with regards WW2 relics. The dump contains all kinds of military equipment, but the majority is weapon related. In the past, relics attributable to the vast majority of British small arms weapons have been recovered. Indeed, many relics from American and even German weapons have also been saved for future generations.
The site is quite tough going from a digging perspective, as the dump layer can have a 2 or 3 foot cap of soil/clay on it in some places, and has been known to extend 8 or even 10 feet beneath ground level. Digging without any mechanical help is possible, but nothing can beat a 3 ton digger to get down and deep fast! Once the dump layer is exposed, it is then all hands on deck with careful recovery of usually quite fragile items. Much of the dump was burned to effect the ‘full’ disposal of items, but there are areas where no burning took place. Curiously, the burnt layers tend to have the better preserved items, probably due to the ground being much more porous, resulting in fasting draining of ground water. Saying all that, you never know what you are going to find, and it takes just a simple sheet of metal above a relic to protect it from the worst of 70 years of corrosion.
The dump was used to dispose of magazines. Whether these were damaged in some way, surplus to requirements, or simply unusable in British weapons, (see the German magazines below!), it isn’t known. The range of magazines recovered is broad, with some, such as Lee-Enfield magazines, being common finds on virtually every trip. Some though are pretty unique, even for this dump site.
They are rusty as heck and many are filled with holes, but the thing I love about these magazines is that we know their history. I know exactly where they have been for the last 70 years, and where they came from. That makes the task of preserving them even more important. These aren’t just military fair bought magazines, these have their history intact, and for me, that is what it’s all about.
So, here are just a few of the hundreds of magazines recovered from the site over the past few years.