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1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

Article about: Hey guys, thanks for reading ... my 1st post of many I hope In a nutshell I'm planning on a dig of local airfield which at it's peak was the RAF's largest Maintenace & Storage Unit, it h

  1. #1

    Default 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    Hey guys, thanks for reading ... my 1st post of many I hope
    In a nutshell I'm planning on a dig of local airfield which at it's peak was the RAF's largest Maintenace & Storage Unit, it had most WW2planes based there in some way or form and in the mid 40's was used as basically an RAF breakers yard! (by the way I notice not many airfield names are given is there a reason?? as I'd like to tell this airfields position, just in case anyone has details. Is it cool to keep them secret??) anyhoot where do you think a good place is to start?? ...bomb stores, butts, dispersals or main camp area's?? the machine gun butts look very good but very over grown..I have reccie pictures and will post soon to see what you think.
    Thanks anyway if anyone wants to have a joint scout around let me know I'm Birmingham north area its a cracker!!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    Welcome to the forum!

    The reason most people don't post location names is that they don't want hoards of people to decend on "their" places and take any potential finds. These people would dig without permission and ruin it for you.

    Cheers, Ade.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    Arh Thanks Ade, I thought so... mind you that wouldn't bother me that much as I'd be happy to see anything that has been found there, by anybody!! if your Derby way then you're not that far

  4. #4

    Default Re: 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    Welcome Gatecrasher.

    Pleasing to hear you also have an interest in digging on your local airfield & good luck with your hunting!

    I will echo the remark made by Adrian, to disclose information on a site you are intending to dig when into which you have put many months of work gaining landowner consent, geophysical surveys, heavy researching & substantial amounts of money is clearly a foolish act.

    If however an individual or party should discover the location of your site which of course sometimes happens & believe it is a great idea to go 'poaching' this information might serve to potentially enlighten.

    i) Whilst the act of trespass is NOT a criminal offence it is however a civil offence, many like to think that going 'poaching' is a great sport from which they poses complete immunity from any legal recourse as the landowner has to prove they were actually on a section of land where they did not have consent, which obviously under cover of darkness is incredibly difficult & anyway what landowner would actually want to waste money on a solicitor to try & bring about a prosecution, right?

    Read on.......

    ii) Trespass with a metal detector or any other associated detecting equipment is now considered 'going equipped for theft' IF the individual(s) do not have consent to be on the land in question, this is a criminal offence.

    iii) Trespassing with the above & physically digging a hole or holes is also a criminal offence, this would be known as criminal damage.

    iv) If you are stopped in your car by a Police Officer & a search is made of your vehicle where equipment is found, you will have to give a reasonably credible explanation as to why you have it with you, it isn't uncommon for soil samples to be taken by an Officer to submit to CSI should there be a complaint currently under investigation, if the samples match then explaining how it got to be where it is will usually be told after booking in with the Custody Sergeant.

    v) If a Police Officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that an individual has been involved in the above activities although not actually caught at a site but for illustration a landowner makes a complaint & informs the control room 'a car was seen at the site around the time of the holes appearing' & a witness saw the car, made notes of times, registration numbers, descriptions of suspected offenders & equipment then it's likely a PNC will be run; this can ultimately end in the vehicle owner getting 'early doors' with a section 8 warrant to search the premises & having all detecting equipment confiscated whilst an investigation is carried out, those in the job will know how long that can take....

    The 'looting' of historical sites is an old gag but has become more prevalent in recent years with the advancement in metal detecting technology, most of us know the story of the Icklingham Bronzes which were removed or 'Nighthawked' as the expression is colloquially known in the trade.

    This was a high profile case which received a great deal of media attention, the mid 1990's saw legislation change with the introduction of the Treasure Act to effectively make this practice unlawful with heavy penalties should offenders be apprehended, although the act contains much more enforcement detail, I won't go into the laborious task of recalling in this thread but sections of it are pertinent to what we are discussing.

    I perhaps may of course be repeating what you already know but if it serves to educate one potential offender then at least I have made a worthy posting & saves a heap of paperwork for some poor soul.

    Do keep us informed of your progress at the airfield site, I for one am always fascinated by what is found & if I can offer any advice to aid your project then I would be delighted to help.

    Warmest regards


  5. #5

    Default Re: 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    Hi Gatecrasher and welcome to the forum

    Bird Dog has given some good advice there and all of it accurate BUT a little scarey !

    Let me try and put it a different way

    1. Get the land owners WRITTEN permission. Be sure they are the landowner as many farms are 'tenant' farms and often used to rear grouse and pheasants for shooting trips. Last thing you want is to get a tenant's permission and then get collared by the gamekeeper !

    2. research the site well. Get hold of old aerial photos, maps of the base etcc... and go with a plan of attack. Don't just search randomly.

    3. Go on google earth and see what the place looks like now and how you're going to access the site.

    I regularly dig airfields in the UK and can give you the following tips;

    a. The cannon butts are a good area to search BUT are usually the first place everyone goes so there are not likely to be many finds left.

    b. Most relic hunters tend to stick to the base itself. Find where the crew quarters were. I have most success around old barracks and the finds are much more interesting (search for posts started by me and you'll see what I mean).

    c. If you can find where the base 'dump' was get to it ! They used to throw stuff away that we prize today !

    d. Many planes were repaired in the revetments and the crews often chucked stuff over the back. Search behind revetments.

    e. If you know where the main hanger was, search land around it.

    Lastly, if there was a wooded area on the site in the 1940's and it is still there today, that is by FAR your best bet for searching. It won't have been ploughed or disturbed and the finds will be in good condition

    Most of all, have fun !

    Check out the metal detecting forum for more tips, or PM me with individual questions if you'd like a chat about it

    Oh....and do what Ade says......don't tell us where the site is !

    Steve T

  6. #6

    Default Re: 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    Thanks fella's... rules and regs I think sound always be followed although a tint of being a bit cheeky is never a bad thing ... He Who Dares, and all that =)
    thanks again Simon

  7. #7

    Default Re: 1st WW2 Airfield Dig - Advice Please...

    sounds like you've been given lots of good advice, have fun

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