Way back in 2011, I was looking around for a new site to dig, and came across some pictures on an urban explorer website, of a site where there appeared to be ammunition cans sticking out of the ground. It took a little while to track the site down, and even longer to find the landowner, but eventually I found him and permission was granted to dig the site.
Over the following years, I visited the site on a number of occasions, recovering a vast quantity of WW2 relics. The site was even shown on TV, with Weedon Ordnance Depot featuring in its own episode, with thousands of relics recovered on camera, on ‘WW2 Treasure Hunters’. This wasn’t a place where you took a detector as it was pointless, the whole area having tons and tons of metal objects buried in the ground.
What they didn’t tell the viewers of the episode was that I had been digging the site for a long time, and had amassed an incredible collection of WW2 relics from just this one location. It was the dump site for the ordnance depot, a place that dealt with more than 7.5 million weapons at the end of WW2. The dump ‘pit’ was roughly the size of a football pitch. Many areas were burnt, with wooden ammunition boxes, weapon stocks, webbing, and even cloth MG belts being used as fuel for the fires. Some areas were jammed with parts from particular weapons, and I soon learned where the ‘Sten pit’ was, and then the ‘Lee-Enfield pit’ and even the ‘Vickers pit’.
Back in 2022 I joined forces with some of the members of the WW2 RRPG and a couple of local magnet fishing clubs, (Northants Magnet Fishers, Peaky Dippers and Dudley Dippers), and also organised a digger and film crew to film a new dig of the site. I had two great friends of mine, Melissa Cannon and Kris Rodgers, join me to be presenters, and we filmed the dig, with the intention of seeing if we could get a commission for a new TV show, (Covid having put paid to WW2 Treasure Hunters). We had a few nibbles, but nothing concrete, so have decided to film another dig with a bit more jeopardy. Watch this space!
My good friends from the magnet fishing groups also filmed the dig, and their video can be found here;
***waiting for the link! Come back soon!***
To go with this video, I thought I would share with you the kind of relics that I have recovered from Weedon over the past 10+ years. For me, the site has given me more than enough relics now, enough to fill a few decent sized cabinets, and I doubt I will ever return. The digging is getting harder, and it has been sometime since I found anything that I hadn’t already got plenty of examples of. It was/is a great site, but it is time to move on.
The first time I ever went to the site, after gaining landowners permission, I took some pictures of what I found on that first visit. It has changed immensely since then, having been dug by not just me and members of the WW2 RRPG, but a large number of other people.
The dump pit at Weedon has been used for a long time, with relics from as far back as the Afghan wars, and even things like flintlock weapon parts being recovered from the ground. The vast majority though were from WW1 and WW2, with some incredible finds coming out of the ground on every single trip.
There are a lot of pictures below, showing everything I’ve recovered from the site over the past 10+ years. I’ve annotated each one to show what has been recovered. There’s a LOT to show, so bear with me!
As mentioned above, many areas of the dump were burnt by the depot staff. They used all kinds of webbing and wooden components to fuel these fires, but didn’t remove any of the metal parts from the slings before setting them alight. It was a common occurrence to find ‘seams’ of webbing buckles where these slings had been burnt.
In some areas, the wooden stocks of weapons were used as fuel. In one area, hundreds of Long-Lee butt plates were recovered. These carried the unit name on the butt plate tang. Two of these butt plate tangs actually had the soldiers name and NOT the unit. The named butt plates were usually for sharpshooters, so that they always used the same weapon. R Osgood must have been one of these. The other was, I believe, a weapon presented to Major Green as a ceremonial piece. I found an entry in the Gazette for an honorary promotion, and I believe this rifle was given to him to mark the occasion, only to end up in the Weedon dump.
Many areas contained masses of parts from specific weapons. It appeared that whole areas inside the depot were cleared and dumped in one location over a short period of time, leading to ‘pits’ containing specific weapon parts.
First up, Bren weapon parts…..
Next, we have Vickers and Browning M1917 weapon parts. There were bits from every conceivable part of both weapons, and some very rare parts, not seen in any museum.
The Sten SMG was a cheap and mass produced weapon that was produced throughout WW2. The depot at Weedon must have dealt with thousands of these weapons, given the number of parts recovered from the dump site.
Of course, the Lee-Enfield rifle was the mainstay of the British army, and an incredible number of parts from this weapon have been recovered from Weedon.
The dump site at Weedon Depot has given me some incredible finds over the past ten+ years. Some of these finds, such as the P14 adapter, aren’t available to any museum. The work at Weedon has saved and preserved a massive quantity of unique relics from WW2. Whilst I am sad to finally say goodbye to the site, the items it has added to my collection bear no equal. Thank you Weedon!
Amazing! The unit or individually marked items are the most fascinating to me. Did any of the Lee Enfield butt discs have markings on them?
You could do a whole post just on marked stuff I bet!
What a good idea! I have lots of marked stuff, some unit marked, others with serviceman serial numbers. I’ll do that in the next few weeks. Thanks!
Hi Stephen, how can someone, ie me, get involved in a dog like this? I’ve always been interested in military history, although I’m not on par with you.
I live in Lincolnshire.
But I wonder how a presentation rifle ended up in the pit?
10 years is a long time for any dig. And I still get excited of a Vicky or George coin lol.