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Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

Article about: Hi Blokes ~ I am posting this as an going blog for interested parties that have been following my fossicking of (extensive) WWII ~ Far North Qld Australia . This area has been described in r

  1. #121


    And something different from what I usually find ~ 2 * .22 hollow point bullets ~ obviously modern ~

    But what are the odds of finding two Aust silvers of the same year in a WWII site < 5 metres > apart of each other ~

    Any way ~ yet another fantastic afternoon and NO duck lice ~ found a secret weapon for that ! LOL

    A Alloy tag A-105 ( ??)

    A battery strap (??)

    1- sinker

    1 – Oil drum Bung ( D/I\D)

    1- Penny ( 1943 ! Again!)

    1- Sixpence 1925 King George V

    1- Three pence 1925 King George V ( What are odds? Two separate silvers ~ BOTH ~ King George V 1925 !!! All three in nice shape ~ Silvers excellent )

    1- 1974 Two cent ( not present !)

    1- Australia badge

    1- webbing Belt end

    1 – “4” ( I wonders if this is a Tent line Picket marker, WWII ~ ??)

    2 – 22 Hollow points

    1- .45 head

    BOY !! Did that 105 tag take some scooping !! Had to work it almost 360 degrees !

    And HEAPS of 303 cases.. and even heads ~

  2. #122


    Well~ Just got off the phone and a yarn with a former bike club riding buddy and seems as a member of the Australian Cartridge collectors Assoc he proved to be a hoard of WWII local site information~

    He owns a thorough breed cattle property and for example when ever he gets heavy rain ~ they get live 303 rounds washing out of a main drain from his (hillside) house ~

    He was concerned I may want to dig up his lawn ~ but I assured him that we are looking for other valuable relics of the time ~

    Plus he has put me on a lead for an elderly gent that was around on the day and is a wealth of information regarding the area during the war years ~

    And I rewarded him by telling another member of the motorcycle club is a blooming "cartridge collector " ~ which he had NO idea of !

    So a lot of give and take conversation and some real home town rewards for all concerned ~

    Off to one of the local Artillery ranges tomorrow morning early ~ Got all the gear and the refreshments ready to go ~ Was also used as a aircraft strfing and bombing range ~ ( Okay softly softly ! LOL)

    Should be a cracker of a day ~ as suggested I am more into finding the base camp site, but apparently this entire site is < 800 sq M > !!!

    All happening ~

  3. #123


    Two of us have been planning a Bush mountain excursion for several weeks now and yesterday, Saturday it finally unfolded as planned.

    Paul and I met up at 07.00 am at his place and transferred the gear to his Ute.

    Once the tarmac roads ended the roads are rough, dusty and corrugated and seemingly ever decreasing in width ~ but a pleasant drive through bush country! Took about an hour to arrive where we figured the WWII training site was.

    The country side has sporadically been gutted by brush fires. This we were fully aware of and figured this was the ideal time to get onto this site as the under growth was 97% eliminated completely, thus allowing very little to escape our visible and MD search.

    With our first stop we were both quietly concerned that this outing was far too vague and our Mud map directions lacked any degree of compass precision. We scanned the immediate topography looking for any obvious sign of military or even human presence! There was NONE!

    So we decided to do a walk around first and headed in different direction. I headed across dry river bed onto what I considered a high ground which appeared to a degree to be levelled ~ as much as could be as the ground is heavily permeated with rocks and layers ~ The topography is very hilly !

    Plus coupled with the scorched earth even looks like a recent battle field!

    The first height I scaled onto even looked like it had been partially cleared of rocks and showed potential for either a camp site which is/ was my priority or even a Gun position/ redoubt!

    Almost immediately I started finding these canisters’ ~ The first was a steel case and very obviously imploded ~

    Paul scrambled over the river bed and onto the higher ground where I was. And the finds started to come think and fast ~

    BUT ~ the issue was ~ is this a gun position or a target area? The canisters which are still packed but have gone inert as the fire had seemingly not ignited them ~

    By the end of the morning when the temperature started to soar despite the gusting southerly wind, we had seen dozens of what we assume are propellant charge canisters littered the entire area that we covered !

    But who knows how many did actually explode during the fire ~

    Then we came across this little gem! (Obviously still intact but again survived the recent fires ~)

    We soon tended to scatter to cover more ground ~ Paul found a number of disarmed shells ~ Seems the military of the day were smart enough to at least check the area and disarm most before discarding them ~

    After a short break we headed back the high ground ~ this time intent on heading up the extreme high ground and a high hill ~ this area was covered in Shrapnel but as we got higher the mortar tail fins dwindled in numbers. The full canisters increased in number!

    But first we MD the flat area along the river bed which looked like it could have been a modest tent/ camp site ! But when I dug a high echo target I believe I found a large calibre shell case ~ intact and standing vertically in the sandy soil.

    So I left that well enough alone!~ Additionally there numerous iron echoes which certainly suggested ~ no camp site here ~

    (Some one might like to elaborate on these things as they were still packed, but many were fractured or broken open and in severely burnt timber they are obviously inert!)

    As we ascended the hill to about 7/8 I found the remains of a large aircraft bomb and the remains of the contact fuse ~

    Ironically at the highest point we reached there was an old (19th century) mine scratched into the side of the high ~ Boy they were tough Barstards in the old days ~

    This entire region is permeated with 100s of mines and the Herberton area is renowned for the pioneering history of mining as well as WWII history!

    So then we descended the extreme high ground which had very obviously been a target range for high calibre shells and aircraft bombing ~ we went slightly deviated from our ascension path ~

    And we were rewarded with even more finds ~ these were fully disarmed so were ‘keepers’.

    Paul also found this on his earlier excursion, the intact one is disarmed but I was not sure about the primer head! Appreciate anyone’s expertise on this one as it would be a cracker souvenir!

    The other two laying in the small gully wash, one is missing the main charge but again I have reservations about the second~

    But by 12.30 despite the fluctuating breeze it was getting very hot ~ so we called it a day and headed home ~

    But we are going back next weekend to endeavour to find the firing position proper and the camp site ~ PLUS Paul reported in the later stages he found a very strong MD signal on a number of rocks in a side wash creek bed ! I want to have a look at that too ~

    As I may have said, we have it all~ Pioneering ~ Mines and silver, Gold and copper plus WWII and cotemporary !!

  4. #124


    There was some debate as to whether the Steel fins were in fact aerial bombs or mortar/s !

    Merely being steel was another question mark as many Mortar fins were aluminium ~

    These are definitely mortars ~ I would be interested in any input as to what version they were of course (?)

    I wonder how they were fired with the safety caps in situ (?)

    I also found the expended fuze from the aerial bomb but when we stock piled the goodies and then returned to retrieve them we missed the Fuze . So thats one more retrieval to be made when we return this weekend ~

    This time we are gearing up with four hand set radios and grid maps !

  5. #125


    They look like 3" HE tails.

  6. #126


    Cheers M3B

    I think you are dead to rights ~

    Thanks ~

  7. #127


    Big day today ~ Return to the WWII Training grounds ~ Round Two ~

    Four of us went out today ~ and included Paul from Cairns ~ and Ed ~ RAAF ( retired) ~ plus two GPS way point trackers and four hand set radios ~

    I headed out at 05.10 to meet Ed and then onto Atherton to meet Paul and Paul ~

    Gearing up ~ MD and ancillaries ~

    The region looks like a battle field ~

    After stage one .. search for a possible encampment site we headed back to unload and a smoko ~

    A intriguing mixed bag as there were some 19 C plus ~ pre WWII finds including a horse shoes ~ an embossed Cigar tin lid, a (sad) but ripper belt buckle ! and misc

    Round two ~ ( after a 'smoko' and relax ~ )

    Paul ~ considers the embedded shell .. it is stamped 'SMK' on the rear base plate but that did not inspire us to dig it after all there are a lot more exposed !

    Then we found we wandered into a full on fire range of shells and mortars ~ most either disarmed or imploded ~ also included embedded 3" Mortar bombs ~ Plotting the artillery positions was a challenge in itself ~

    This one we definitely left well enough alone as local residences even for lizards were few and between ~

    We scouted another area and found numerous obvious fox holes and trenches ~ very plain to see ~ a defensive position which over looked a distant pass ~ It can be clearly seen that this position would be able to direct artillery fire into the pass in a hypothetical scenario ~ ( I left the camera in the car.. Paul took some photos ad promised to forward them ~ )

    This area warrants the Metal detector as it was a big personnel area with camp and dug outs ~ so you never know what the Diggers/ Soldiers dropped here ~

    Around 12.30 the heat was rising ~ we headed to the nearest Pub and downed a few before heading home ~

    More local scenery

    My total tally for the day

    ( FYI ~ the two rock samples at the bottom are extraordinary samples and would polish up superbly ~ the area has a history of Gold, silver, tin and copper mining ~ plus gems stones ~ )

    For the concerned ~

    Opps ~ rechecked the car and found several MIA's ~ LOL

    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 10-27-2013 at 09:43 AM.

  8. #128


    I forgot to mention ~ the cannisters ~

    I picked up one and tried it for size and guess what it fits perfectly into the body of a 25 pounder shell!

    So as 97% of the shells on site are empty ~ it makes sense that they were all loaded with smoke canisters ~

    As mentioned on the "Post your Australian badge here " blog ~ I was offered a small collection of AMF buttons and a "Belgium Service medallion" ~

    So Ed and I dropped into "Sandy's place on the way home and showed her our relics for the day and had a quick yarn as she is ex-military herself ~ thus shows a lot of interest in the WWII stuff I MD.

    With a promise of more bits to come it was a nice gesture on her part ~

    But the "Belgium medallion" actually turned into a Netherlands Service medal for services 1944-1945~

    Binnenlandsche strudkrachtens 1944-1945

    Reminder Interior Forces Insignia 1944-1945

    The Remembrance Interior Forces Insignia 1944-1945 was by Prince after the war Bernhard of the Netherlands set.

    The Prince of the Netherlands was in charge as of September 3rd 1944 , [1] much against the wishes of the Council of Ministers and of the Allies' Commander of the Interior Forces 'made. ;

    This Orangist armed militia had to fill the power vacuum that emerged after the expulsion of the Germans. The Prince played a major role. In the very dedicated his BS

    The Interior Forces, officially Dutch Interior Forces or "NBS" came from the three main opposition groups: the Ordedienst (OD), the National Knok Teams(HTL) and the Council of Resistance (RVV).

    The spontaneously organized or unorganized BS has numerous meritorious tasks performed and as commander of the BS was Prince Bernhard, as the commander of a victorious army corps accrues to Commander in the Military William Order appointed. For the men of the Interior Forces there was no decoration or visible tribute.

    They were not eligible for the Mobilisation War Cross of the War Memorial Cross . The Resistance Cross was only established in 1980.

    Therefore, immediately after the war on the personal initiative of Prince Bernhard insignia set a reminder to all members of the Interior Forces is awarded.

    The Remembrance Insignia is an oval bronze plaque of 25 by 20 millimeters. On the front is a crowned "B" appears with the legend "INTERIOR CAL FORCES 1944-1945". In the outskirts, under the '4 'of "1944" beginning and ending under the '1' from "1945", the abbreviation "VE MI". Presumably these are the initials of the designer.

    [2] On the reverse side is the signature of Prince Bernhard made ​​in high relief. In addition there is a toggle on the back to carry. The badge on the lapel of a jacket

    __________________________________________________ _________________________________

    So today as I decided to have a rest day I thought I would give the medal a whirl in the Jewellery cleaner ~and a follow up polish ~

    Here is the result ~

  9. #129


    Several shots form last weekend

    Ugly can still metal detect WWII Sites ~

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Day off work as per Wednesday

    Planned to go out early and revisit the regular site as the dam waters have continued to drop quite dramatically ~ and as Spring heads into Summer ~ and the Dry season (hopefully ) heads into the Wet season ~ the temperature climbs ~

    So I headed out early for a local recce ~ I was on site by 10 AM which is pretty early for this search area ~

    On the way I snapped this little known icon ~ this area was densely populated with Aust divisional camp site region -

    "North Base"

    I was quite surprised at just how much the water level has dropped ~ Last time I was on this site it was 73% ` now it is 62%! The lower brick is obviously the current level while the higher I placed three weeks ago !!

    And it is the keen MD that ventures into the water ~ as the water quality is dropping severely with back waters a high health risk ~ and even the more active turbulent waters while clear are hardly appealing ~

    But worse still I walked out and left my water scoop standing the garage ~ DESPITE doing a mental inventory check before i left home ~

    So I persevered by venturing into the water only to knee height and eiter hand scooping targets or using my hand pick to drag targets up tp the water line. My perseverance paid off with some good small scores ~

    Sun bakers

    I persevered and called it a day early afternoon ~

    Still some cool smalls once again ~

    Mystery items ~


    A friend suggested that these two pieces actually look like they are one in the same, when I showed them to him ~ Logical if one had bought them together or looked carefully ! (?)

  10. #130


    Headed out to the Fun Park FNQ this morning ~ water has dropped even more ~ but it is still getting rank by the day ~ even down to a green, and it stinks ~ )

    So I bought a pair of high gum boots from Bunning's on Saturday ~ as the best bits are still in the water ~ After last Weds I was not keen to get immersed in the water ~ took me fours days to get over the lice !

    The still present jet skis and the ski boat pundits can have it on their own~

    I spent some 3 1/2 hours ~ with some great finds and unusual ~

    “ Larga’s Colgate’s Rapid Shave Creme “

    Small but good scores ~

    ~ Brass 303 barrel cleaning drop weight

    ~ LE 303 shoulder strap buckle

    ~ Rising Sun ( Lapel)

    ~ USA ‘Gem’ razor head ( The number of USA pieces appearing on the southern point of ‘The Fun park’ is looking good to back up USA forces presence now ~ )

    ~ Artillery shell case; Primer Burn tube

    ~ Colgate shave cream

    ~ Trench Art 303 and 9 mm spent shells abutted together ~ ( At this point not sure if the cases are a slide fit or permanently joined!)

    ~ 9 mm round

    ~ Drum bung ~ Green with writing ; USE MONKEY WRENCH – Tri-Sure- USA Patent Chicago New York ( then series of patent numbers – lower characters undecipherable at this point ~ I am starting with Ultrasonic cleaner ~ ) Also has a chain latch on the back of the bung ~ (??)

    And finally as I headed home , I, as usual crossed “The Grassy Knoll” and it is quite incredible as this spot just keeps giving ~ and giving ~

    Today was no exception ~ But, It was a VERY Faint but positive signal ~ I had to scrap some 6” down ~ in very dry soil ~

    A Great few hours yet again ~ drongos on jet skis and ski boats allowed ~

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