One Man’s Rubbish, Another Man’s Treasure – Take THREE!!

Over the years I have made the acquaintance of a large number of landowners. Some are just that, while others have become friends, and one or two have become good friends.

I had a message the other day from one of the good friends, who has a farm that straddles an old WW2 RAF base. He told me about some construction work that is about to start soon on an area of the old base. As it has a known military history, it has had to be surveyed in detail to identify all metal objects beneath the surface, so as to remove any potential hazards. With the survey complete, the recovery work had started a few weeks back and he wondered if I’d like to go through the pile of scrap metal piled by one of the farm tracks, the ‘contents’ of which had been identified as safe. He sent me a picture of the pile, and I got a little carried away with excitement!


Holy crap! Look at all those bomb fuzes and arming vanes! Even in this state I could see No 848s, No 860s and even a No 849, along with loads of caps, vane stems, flare cartridge cases and so much more!

I obviously accepted his kind offer and paid a visit to the pile today. The photograph didn’t lie, and the pile was exactly as pictured. I sorted through the fuzes and fuze parts and took whatever was worth salvaging. With this quantity of WW2 relics, I could afford to be choosy.

I ended up with quite a haul, which was especially impressive given I had had to do not one minute of detecting or digging.

I was incredibly grateful to the landowner for letting me save a large proportion of this scrap pile, the remnants of which will soon be winging their way to the local scrap merchant or local landfill!

I had some things to do when I got home, and rushed through my various chores so I could at least clean some of these relics. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from recovering relics, as well as identifying them, but by far my greatest satisfaction is when I clean them. It is my favorite job……ever.

Enough talking. On to the items I recovered.

Everything I recovered, prior to cleaning
Everything I recovered, prior to cleaning
No. 860 bomb fuzes. This barometric fuze was mainly used in aerial marker flares and is an ‘aerial burst’ fuze, designed to go off at a set height above the ground.
Arming vanes and caps from No. 848 nose fuzes
Arming vanes and caps from No. 848 nose fuzes
No. 849 bomb fuze. This time fuze was again mainly used in aerial marker flares.
No. 848 base units. Identical to the No. 42 bomb fuze base units, when cleaned they were positively identified as 848s. Again, used in aerial marker flares and photoflash.



Now have a look at some of the above after a bit of cleaning!


Some of the recovered relics cleaned.
No. 860s and arming vanes and columns from No 848s
No. 860s and arming vanes and columns from No 848s
No. 848 fuze base parts.
You can just make out ‘No. 848 Mk V A’ on some of them.
You can just make out ‘No. 848 Mk V A’ on some of them.
Close up of the cap on a No 848 showing ‘lock’ and ‘unlock’
Arming vanes and columns from a No. 848, some with the protective steel cap still in place.
Diagram of No 848
Detail on how a No. 848 works
No. 849. Shame the body is made of steel as it has corroded badly. Still totally recogniseable though!
Diagram of the No 849
Function of the No 849
No. 860 bomb fuzes
No. 860 bomb fuzes
Diagram of the No 860
Mechanism of action for No 860
What it should look like (when it hasn’t been in the ground for 75+ years!)
Detail on the 860


One heck of a haul and some incredible WW2 relics recovered!



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