When you go digging for WW2 relics, it’s almost a given that you are going to find ordnance of one type or another. Doesn’t matter what kind of site it is, if it has a WW2 history, you will always find old cartridge cases, usually strewn liberally across a wide area. They weren’t exactly careful back in the 40s!
However, every now and again you will search a site and recover hardly any cartridge cases, but other things will emerge from the soil that tell a lot about the site you’re on. This dig was one of those occasions.
It’s an old haunt of mine, and featured in season one of WW2 Treasure Hunters, Garendon Park. Occupied by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), the land became No. 33 ammunition sub-depot, and was responsible for over 30,000 tons of ordnance, spread across the park itself and surrounding roads. Basically, the town of Loughborough was ringed with enough explosives to break all of the windows of the houses in the town!
I decided today to search an area where I knew they had a small arms ammunition dump. Not only had I found plenty of evidence of this dump in the past, but a veteran of the depot, Peter Peters, had confirmed its location during the filming of WW2 Treasure Hunters. And on this dig I had the help of my 9 year old daughter, Aliya, who did magnificently with the pinpointer!
The first couple of detections turned out to be unidentifiable rusty crap, but the third was a lovely intact 20mm Oerlikon cartridge case with a rather unusual headstamp. I thought I was going to be in for another day of cartridge cases, but that was far from what actually happened.
Turns out that this was the one and only bit of ordnance recovered during the 4 hours I was there. However, I hit an area that had obviously been used to dump the straps used to secure ammunition boxes, and the buckles from these straps kept coming, and coming, and coming!
I even recovered a WW2 item that simply shouldn’t have been there, and a post war item that I am still having trouble tracking down as it is Russian! If you can read Russian, please tell me what it says!
The finds from the dig.
Some great finds and highly unusual buckles. I wish I knew why both the Russian and American items were there……