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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. #251

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    Many thanks for the info mate !
    Cheers Rick

  2. #252

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    Extremely frustarted at the moment ~ as the (late ) Wet season has taken it;s toll on MD ventures ~

    The dam water has risen from 56% to 63% and the storms and heavy showers are frequent ~

    After all the research I have done on Glynn Allyn road ~ I contacted "Reiner" as his property seemed to be the most obvious point of Lammins Hill for a bivouac area ~

    So three of us armed with two Minelabs and a ATPro went out to the most obvious and accessible point on the farm, the front and rear paddocks ~ and searched some 50 acres where the paddocks looked most obvious for a military camp site ~ Plus Reiner, the owner told of misc bottles being 'kicked up' by his cattle ~ plus a history of pioneer occupancy ~

    Even looked great ~

    But we never even found a rusty nail or wood screw ~ and certainly no WWII relics ~

    Then just as we were reporting back to Reiner, he got a phone call from the other former fellow biker mate, a cattle porperty owner inviting us to come over, as he had slashed the paddock next to his house, purley for us to sweep ~ the most obvious target area to kick off on his property ~


    But all we got there was the fragrance of a dead beast, a vintage shifter/ spanner and a length of very old forged chain and hook attached ~

    And worse still our signals were complicated by high ironised soils .. Our Garrett Pin Pointers simply went off the dial ~

    So the story of 303 shells, ( Bren gun expelled shells, noted by the firing pin impact foot print, ) ~ being washed out from under his homestead was a red Herring as it were. As the best analogy is that the former residents as kids in fact scouted around the surrounding countryside and found a cache of said shells ~ then returned home and stashed them under the house to be forgotten ~

    So a fantastic day out for the three of us but NOTHING ~ ZIP ~ NUNNA in relics ~

    But a superb working environemnt with knock out views and Post card scenery ~ Had it all from rain forest streams to rain forest scenes ~

    But by 13.00 hrs the humidity was extremely debilitating ~ even in the AM it has very heavy going over the hills and dales ~ But end of the day I was saturated and exhausted ~ purely down to the high temps of 30 deg C and extreme humidity !


    View from "Steve's" homestead to Lammings Hill and Mt Bartle Frer.


    Incredible as seems the rest of Australia is now under constant threat or suffering extreme heat ~ dry to drought conditions and severe Bush Fires !!!

    What a contrast !

  3. #253

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    After on going rain resulting from the late wet season , the relic hunting has proven to be few and far between ~ especially after the miserable~ well failure of the Lammins Hill expedition ~ I was chaffing at the bit for sure ~

    I decided to take a week off work ~

    Again the rain persisted ~ but a pattern appeared when the clouds broke in the afternoon ~ So Tuesday I took the initiative very late in the afternoon and headed out ~

    I chose a site which was proven although worked hard and easily accessible ~ And with heavy cloud and sweeping winds I managed to get saturated in one foul swoop when a ten minute shower descended on me ~

    But despite that I put in an hour and half ~ and still managed to pull some inersting goodies including a Mortar projectile safety cover, some very nice rifle webbing buckles and the remains of a mouth organ !


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    But little was I to know this was just a sampler for one of the MOST spectacular days hunt, the next day ~ Wednesday ~

  4. #254

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    Monday two of us planned a Wednesday outing in the face of a continuing Wet season, although the weather forecast was for decreasing showers

    When I rose around 07.00 hrs it was dismal ~ mist rain and wind ~ So in the anticipation that our immediate area is renowned for being a wet zone I rang "Ed" and asked how it was at his end .. Cloudy but no rain!

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    So I rallied at his place around 08.00 and we headed off , aiming to check out an entirely new area which by Google Earth is all but inaccessible by road ~

    We landed on first target area around 09.00 hrs and the targets started immediately ~ I picked up a 1984 dollar coin metres from our rendezvous point.

    I stuck to the shore line and worked along the water line ~ targets came thick and fast ~ Then a ID tag ~ NX ~ had to be NSW enlistment A mix of coins, including numerous pre-decimals and even a 1940 sixpence. Also an officers epilate medallion and a great coat regimental button!

    Then I laid on a bet as to who out of would score a first Rising Sun at this rate ~ Trouble was neither of us bought the UHF rados which have been an asset ~

    We split up and spent some 2-3 hours at opposite ends of the area. Approx 12.00 we met up for a smoko and a cuppa ~ The weather turned fantastic , and in fact was often overwhelmingly hot, (This lead to issues later as neither of really bought enough water !)

    We spent another hour on site and checked out some of the historical sites ~ before we moved camp to stage two ~ and it proved to equally as active with targets ~

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    The original Military (built) WWII access road to the air field and many bases which were in the area ~

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    One area I worked into was obviously at one point to have been a rifle target range ~ as 303 heads were plentiful~ Then I pulled a Rising Sun ~

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    Then I hit a hot spot filled with buckles and misc bits including a D/I\D Lockwood Aust key and some mystery knurled adjust knobs ~ Any thoughts on those appreciated ??

    I think I dug up half the hill side ~ fortunately it was shallow and easy digging after the rains ~

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    It was not long before Ed appeared and I invited him to join me as the area was echoing like crazy ~

    Ed was pleased with is efforts and included an Australia shoulder badge with both retaining pins ~ He also found what he figured was part of a Bren Gun magazine~ Although the slide base plate looked to be a larger calibre ~

    But then not to be out done I pulled two same ‘Australia badges’ in quick succession!

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    We spent around 2-3 hours on the second site and never even got to the third target area~ We finally decided that we would return and headed home around 16.30 hrs

    I was well pleased with my lot ~ the two fuel drum bungs are the best I have found to date. And one was a sun baker as was the rifle barrel weight


    Appreciate help on the coat button ~

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    The ID tag ~ Bax B A

    Service Record

    Name
    BAX, BERTRAM JAMES

    Service
    Australian Army

    Service Number
    NX125304 (N190272)

    Date of Birth
    27 Dec 1918

    Place of Birth
    CROYDON, NSW

    Date of Enlistment
    28 Jul 1942

    Locality on Enlistment
    BLACKTOWN, NSW

    Place of Enlistment
    TOOWOOMBA, QLD

    Next of Kin
    BAX, HORACE

    Date of Discharge
    15 Sep 1945

    Rank
    Sapper

    Posting at Discharge
    15 AUST CRE (WORKS)

    WW2 Honours and Gallantry
    None for display

    Prisoner of War
    No
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 02-26-2014 at 01:34 PM.

  5. #255

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    PS~ Forgot ~

    Anyone ~ can tell me what the shorter bullet is ~ both appear to be 303 ~ but one is obviously shorter ?

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    Also sure I foundthe remains of a bayonet ~ but not worth retaining ~ so badly rusted ~
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 02-26-2014 at 11:24 AM.

  6. #256

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    Did some research on the actual unit that was in situ where we fossicked on Tuesday ~

    2/ 5th Field Regiment ~

    While there were many notably field awards in the unit, the most prestigious was one NX12378 Lieutenant A. Roden Cutler VC, 2/5th Australian Field Regiment.

    Lieutenant Cutler was awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous and consistent gallantry during the Syrian campaign.

    We are making another recce on Saturday ~

  7. #257

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    I was stowing Tuesdays efforts and I found that the two 303 rounds I dug up have painted Black heads

    And the numbers are 1942 MG HA Where as the other rounds ~ MH VII ~


    MG Small Arms Ammunition Factory No2, Footscray, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

    MH Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 3, Hendon, AUSTRALIA

    Bullet Type Colour of Tip Colour of Annulus


    Observing Black Black


    .303 Headstamp Cartridge Identification
    .303 Headstamp Cartridge Identification

    The challenge I have is that these two are not black tipped but the entire projectile is black ~ Supposed to be a rare find (?)

    Observation Mark IIE

    In 1941 India adopted another observation round, the "O Mark IIE”. The meaning of the “E” suffix is not shown, but as the bullet was constructed similarly to the British O Mark I with the phosphorus in the tip it has been postulated that the “E” stands for “English”.

    "Cartridge S.A. Observing .303 inch O Mark IIE" was approved to design IA.7 in 1941. The title was later changed to "Cartridge S.A. Observing .303 inch O Mark III"

    The case is a normal Berdan primed case with a black primer annulus. The headstamp initially included the code "OIIE" but later examples are marked "O III"

    The bullet has a rear lead core with a 2.5 grain phosphorus pellet in the nose, replacing the aluminium tip of the Ball mark VII bullet. It is not an exact copy of the Brirish O Mark I as instead of having the hole in the tip filled with fusible metal, the envelope is internally thinned on the ogive to aid break-up. The bullet weighs 174 grains and has a black tip for identification.

    The propellant charge is 36.5 grains of Cordite MDT 5-2 to give a velocity of 2,400 fps.

    Acceptance proof was that at 500 yards 95% of bullets should give a good puff of smoke when striking the target plate.


    Observation O Mark III drawing from Kirkee Ammunition Pamphlet No.1 dated January 1945.

    .303 inch Observation - British Military Small Arms Ammo
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmi...ch-observation

  8. #258

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    Three of us went out yesterday ~ Saturday ~ with a slightly earlier start, meeting up at 07.00 hrs we landed on the latest site by 08.00 ~

    It was very heavy over cast and dead clam, heavy fog or was that low cloud ~ and even threatened to fine up ~

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    Once geared up ~ I headed to the 2/ 5th Field regiment site and Ed and Terry headed what is the 2/2nd Supply Unit/s.


    The challenge soon emerged for me when the * very tired” hiking boots were quickly saturated ~ so I headed back to the base camp to replace both socks and the Gum boots, thankfully I had bought along for possible water wading ~

    So I headed off once more ~ but the misfortune was to continue ~

    I was totally striking out on the targets ~ but for the 4 separate pull tabs and a ½ pie try!!

    But then I literally stumbled into a trench of sorts masked by the heavy grasses ~ on consideration the rectangular trench was too wide and way too long for a individual or even squad dug out!

    On second thought I realised it is a gun pit ~ but the angle was at first was a little unusual ~ that is until I noted the potential target ~
    The projected target is in fact some 3>4 plus Km away to the NE ~ a hill range which today is a declared UXO site ~

    As I scanned the site I found a small trash hole and misc no descript targets ~

    (It is always amusing ~ For such amazing resilient soldiers, the Australian Diggers with renowned history of Military achievements ~ the first to bloody the nose of the Third Reich and the Africa Korps, at Tobruk, and the first to deal out a defeat to the Japanese in New Guinea, they sure drank a LOT of beer ~ After all a scrap bottle dump right next to a Gun pit ~ !)

    Actually I dug the bottle out after chasing the tin mug signal ~ Ironically the mug was stuffed and rusted out and is the first one I have seen ~but i went on to find a second one intact

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    Very rare to actually dig an intact bottle in these parts ~ Sadly there was a clear glass bottle with 1944 cast on the base ~ broken up !

    I feel the gun position was most likely a 25 lber or even a BL 5.5 " based on the dimensions of the pit ~

    Eventually moving on I struggled with targets of any quality ~ a small spill of tracer 303 rounds ~ a engine parts, chain links ~ Then the UHF radios were faltering ~ ( Ed’s had flat batteries!)

    Around 10.30 we broke for Smoko ~ and moved the boat to stage two ~

    The Rising Suns are Ed's ~

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    Plus he went on to find an Officer’s pip as well~

    The rest is mine ~ like I need more Oil drum bungs!!


    Ed was on a Run ~ Terry was having a great time ~ I was struggling to find any real Gems ~


    (Terry is helping Ed to master his Minelab ~ So Ed is really swinging now ~ after all the Minelabs are a challenge to master ~ )

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    I wandered to an area to the east but in hindsight I did go far enough and this was a artillery unit ~ their obvious target area is also recognised as a UXO site !

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    By13.00 hrs we were drenched through!

    None of us had properly geared for rain as the forecast was for fine weather ~ and when the wind came up it was time to call it a day ~ wet and wind ~ not good ~


    We even had to drain the boat ~ Ed's boat as a great little asset ~ struggled with three of us and all the gear ~ maybe it was all Ed's booty which made the return trip a real struggle

    My booty for the day.

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    The Beer bottle was bought home as well ~The remains of three 1/2" shells ~ centre ~

    Got so much cutlery ~ time to simply box them , along with the Oil bungs ~

    Plus a 1943 penny ~ nice

    (Ed rang to tell me that one of his pennies is a 1881 ~ ~Ripper !!! Plus he scored a 1944 Florin ~ ‘Tinny” bugger ~ He was the definite winner for the day ~ It took me 6 months to find a Florin ~

    Terry scored several Australia badges and a spray of small coins, and a whole lot more ~ and he was stoked with his real first day of WWII relics ~

    And Ed learnt a whole lot more about the CTX Minelab ~

    And me~ more than a little disappointed to be honest ~ especially after last Tuesday ~

    But HEY! ~ Hey ~ there is next week ~
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Fossick # 108 Boat trip No 2 1 March  (13) (Medium).JPG  
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 03-10-2014 at 04:12 AM.

  9. #259

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    The 1/2" shells look like .50 Browning that have been burnt and exploded. What are the head stamps?
    Cheers
    Gary

  10. #260

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    HM / Gary

    The Triangular or Pyramid off set stamps are ~ 4 - 2 - U ( or 0) and certainly appear to be exploded as the cases other wise are fairly solid ~

    No Fuzes in bases ~

    ( More than a little disappointed to find they were damaged ~ )

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