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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. #81


    Cheers Jack.. All my pleasure.. In fact now considering that USA base on the edge of town again! ~ Has tobe soemthign there from your military predecessors that were here in the 1942-43 years~

    So after last weekend's disappointing recce I decided I would do a Sweep today ~ and left home base early and was "on site" by 11.30 ~ I had no plan and decided at the last minute to start at my first ever MD site where I had fished out some excellent finds ~

    I spent about an hour sweeping the now exposed water line as the Dry season bites and water levels drop significantly ~ I spent 90% in the water 'Water-wading' ~

    But there was no joy to be had but more expelled 303 rounds and some small detritus ~

    So I moved to the "Fun Park' which has delivered repeatedly ~

    On lookers again take interest in proceedings ~

    I quickly worked my way to the 'Southern' region where I have scored three of my Rising Suns and numerous pre-decimal coins ~

    But I was falling flat again and seriously wondered if I had "Killed a Chinaman " as Lady Luck was not smiling on me

    And the southerly wind was picking up which was making water wading a tad on the chilly side~ including the Male Ball bearing department ~ I was ready to whimper home with the tail between the legs ~

    Then the Gods smiled on my perseverance again !

    A Sun baker ~ under 1 metre of water ~ simply laying on the bottom and was scooped up in one sweep!

    Well that not only inspired me to push but it was the start of a regular feast of hits ~

    I pushed on ~ with some more scores and some trash but the number of strong clean signals was great ~

    The challenge was that the wind and temp was working against me and I had to relent and I called it a day around 15.45 ~ I am saturated from the groin down and the wind chill factor dropping quickly ~ too cold ~

    But certainly an inspiring hour or so ~ "O'll be Barrcckk!"

    To clean up or to retain patina ~ ??

  2. #82


    Resisted going out yesterday ~ Saturday as my new Fossick buddy was fixing home and garden ~

    Pity as Sunday, was an awful day with gale force winds from the South!

    But I headed out early to my favourite WWII camp site ~ 2/ 32 Batt, and rigged up around 11.30 ~ but decided to start in 'old ground' nearby first ~ and whammo !!

    Big time hit amongst the iron signals ~ true definition of sort the scrap and find the gems. It was obviously a fire pit with melted glass and severely rusted iron pieces ~

    This is how far from my car that the find was ~

    And the amusing part is that I have parked here ~ for ever!!
    Just proves one should never right off an area even if you think you have worked it over !

    Anyway ~ I started in ~

    Well ~ it's Stainless steel in the bottom of a fire pit which included melted bottles and rusted wasted steel ! And it IS a WWII site ~

    Finally dug out ~

    (Later reverse shot)

    Scraped it and it has a ID number ~

    After all the Army had no usage of Stainless ~ right?

    My work mate, MD buddy and CTX owner who has a history in the forces and logistics, questions the fact the SS piece has what he regards as an inappropriate number related to military fixtures ~ But the question is wide open !

    Any suggestions or clues would be appreciated

    Anyway I persevered to find ~ a constant velocity type universal ~ a very old universal ~ ???

    What military vehicle had constant velocity joint/ shafts ?

    The hole was getting bigger by the minute!

    I finally closed operations and moved to the now lower dam water line and started a sweep to the most recent find site!

    The echoes were frequent and bountiful ~ live rounds, buttons and misc bric-a-brac~ heaps of hits ~ Typical WWII camp site!

    I paused for a bite eat before losing the Reebok boots and opting for (yellow) plastic weather pants and plastic " fuggly" sandals ~and "dived in to the water" !

    The hits continued and eventually I simply ignored anything with iron signal included ~ too hard chasing in < 1 metre> of water just to find a bullet shell or scrap smalls ~

    The pants were a great idea and saved me from freezing my butt off again ~ and made a great few hours ~

    The problem I have is the water is dropping at an amazing rate now and there is SO MUCH ground for us to cover !!

    So an interesting bag yet again ~

    Live 303 rounds + Blanks + 9 mm (Owen Gun smg)

    A piece of lead solder rod

    - Boot cap

    - coins

    - Tunic ACMF button

    - buckle/s + standard brass uniform buttons

    Either ditched, ignored or discarded a lot of other smalls

    A 1919 and a very tidy 1939 1/2 penny and a ACMF tunic sleeve button again in nice condition ~

    Yet another site ~ in Yungaburra near Tinaroo dam, but now under civic development ~ A WWII Aust Army saw mill ~ (The issue though is that the site is now under recuperation as there was copper logs produced here after the war. Thus there is an issue with Arsenic ~ )

    I had considered the site but figured there would never be much to found as it was a saw mill~

    But pleased to say it looks like they are going to make the remains of the old saw mill and fixtures a historical feature ... perhaps even a small park area.
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 09-02-2013 at 10:34 AM.

  3. #83


    Hi ATP ,
    The Stainless piece looks like an Aircraft part, judging by the spot welds and rivet holes.

  4. #84


    Well~ We have found it .. Thanks to the blokes on site giving me the lead in of course !

    WOO HOO ~

    Thanks to a USA (Arizona) War member; Danno81- I have positrively identified the item or part of ~

    Been researching all afternoon with one interlude!

    It is a Bomb rack !! well part of ~

    BUT ~ WHAT a fantastic find..

    AND as Mareeba was a bomber and fighter base ~ just maybe this was retrieved from a Battle damaged they did fly combat flights daily out of Mareeba and other north QLD aerodromes ~ or perhaps it was retrieved from a battle damaged plane in New Guinea and returned to Tinaroo (?)


    These were fitted to an array of aircraft , mostly USA P40, P38, P39. B17, B24 ~ ect.


    (pages 95- 102)

    HyperWar: Aircraft Airmament

    Shackles are used instead of racks in planes which carry their bombs on vertical rails attached to the side of a bomb bay or at the centre of the bay.

    As you know, shackles are not permanently fastened to the plane like racks, but are attached with a hinged connection to hooks on the rails in the bomb bay. Shackles can be, and often are, fastened to the bomb before it is mounted to the plane.

    Army-type airplanes usually suspend bombs internally, and many Navy planes are Army types taken over by the Navy—such as the Liberator and the Mitchell.

    On these, the Mk 5 shackle is used. This is very similar to Army shackles—in fact, can be used interchangeably with Army equipment.

    As you can see from figure 53, the operating mechanism of the Mk 5 shackle has no direct connection with the plane. The two levers sticking up from the shackle, which control the releasing and arming mechanisms, mate with slots on a RELEASE MECHANISM attached to the plane.

    Figure 54 shows a release mechanism. The levers of the release mechanism can be operated from the bomber's compartment, electrically or manually. There are two types of release mechanism, the A-2 and the N-2. In both types, the bomb can be released manually, but only in the unarmed condition.

    So, manual release is used ONLY to JETTISON bombs. Manual release, moreover, is always in salvo—all the bombs in the bay are dropped at once.

    When bombs are to be dropped armed, they are always released ELECTRICALLY. The A-2 type mechanism provides only for selective—one at a time-electrical release. The N-2 mechanism permits EITHER
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 09-04-2013 at 10:52 AM.

  5. #85


    Excellent pictorial/narration. Thanks for taking the time.

  6. #86


    Thanks Scout.

    The part that gets me going that this may in fact be the real deal WWII battle damaged artifact, found IN Australia !!

    After all apart from Darwin and Sydney Harbour, and a few isolated shelling from Japanese subs and aircraft ~ there was no other conflicts in the mainland ~

  7. #87


    Well | have bought the 'piece' to work and Ed and several of the work shop crew ~ one sparkie and a spanner who are always intersted found the whole thing fascinating ~

    Mickel the spanner agrees the fragmented end has suffered severe stress, even impacting. So may well be a battle damaged piece indeed `

    But in my conversation coupled with perusing the related weapons web site that I share d as above, and the fact the 'bomb shackle" was either electrically or manually controlled ~ I now recall that the actual hole I dug also contained a length of electrical cable, typical of the period !!

    So as Robo suggested I should really go back and DIG the whole site ~ I simply figure d by the signals that the contents were "dug and dusted " ! Just maybe I have missed even more .. SO given the weather breaks over the weekend, ( as it is blowing and showering severely at the moment but the forecast says more of the same !) ~ we WILL be doing some serious sweeping of the site again ~

    Maybe the cable is attached to a Stuart tank~

  8. #88


    I am sure you will have seen the threads regarding the 'dump' digging myself and the RRPG do on a regular basis. If you can find the base dump, your finds will increase dramatically. If you can find some old aerial photos of the site, study them to try and find the dump. They usually show up as a patch of disturbed ground with a track leading to them, sometimes quite some distance from the base itself. The dump will be jammed with more finds than you can imagine !

    It sounds like your fire pit could well be one of these dumps. Put your metal detector away and dig down until you find the bottom of the 'pit' then dig forward. The rusty iron and burnt remains will stop your MD detecting other stuff so there is no point using it. Just dig.

  9. #89


    Cheers Steve

    The area I found the bomb shackle piece I believe is a dumping area! There is heaps of iron signals and a lot of scrap ~ Plus only metres away from the same spot is what we call the grassy knoll and that has yielded a lot of stuff ~ including my first Rising Sun.

    Either that or it was a canteen and kitchen area, purely based on the large amounts of broken glass ~

    We are hoping the weather will clear some tomorrow and we can have a look ~

  10. #90


    Well when I got up at 07.00 the skies were not looking good and I hovered till 8.45 hr before ringing Ed to confirm our meet time at 10.00

    The weather was looking very iffy ~ in fact showers and gale blusters ~

    But I picked up "Ed" around 10.00 hrs ~

    But as we anticipated Tinaroo was a fickle weather swap ~ but over all one small shower and alternating winds ~ but generally spot on and perfect day ~

    Ed and I rigged up and I headed for the same spot I found the Bomb shackle piece previous visit ~

    Ed headed off to fathom his new CTX Minelab

    I headed for the same hole as the Bomb shackle ~ I soon pulled more bits from the same hole but no Bomb racks ~

    I worked the trash heap sites we knew were there ~ no joy !

    I had worked this one four times now and this time put this hole to bed ~ no treasures !

    After a couple of hours ~ we broke for lunch and then headed off again ~

    The hits were frequent and abundant but it was about sorting the bits ~

    Ed pulled this one ~ I have posted these before ~ no confirmation as to what they are.. i went on to pull several more (?)


    The showers stayed away and the winds were on and off ~

    But we both pulled pre-decimal silvers ~

    We forged on and put in a great day ~

    ~Sample of heavy grade broken glass ~ the amount f glass overall is simply STAGGERING !!
    ~Scrap brass
    ~Drum bung ( Not the best I have found )

    ~Safety (tri-brace) clamps for mortars or shells ~ First one I have found intact . Every one other I have found has been broken ~ ( Will polish up superbly !)

    ~ webbing buckle + one webbing buckle piece ~
    ~ Mystery shell case end piece
    ~ A 1942 six pence ~ (Superb)
    ~ Standard military button
    ~ three mystery pieces
    ~ Two ( mystery) screw caps ~ maybe Hand grenade bungs.. but one has a firing cap insert, and neither have any scripting (??)
    ~ Mystery triangular brass piece but has lateral grooving on two surfaces.
    ~ Three tags (??)

    Still much more to come ~
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 09-08-2013 at 02:09 AM.

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