Well, with high hopes of finding some awesome German items, I went to the site of Island Farm POW camp in Bridgend, Wales.
BRIDGEND GERMAN POW CAMP, ISLAND FARM CAMP 198 / SPECIAL CAMP XI
After 4 hours of being bitten, stung, scratched, tied up in brambles, sinking in foul smelling mud and being whipped by tree branches, I had to give it up as a bad job, with little to show for my efforts and certainly ZERO German items. At one point I got particularly miffed because I stumbled across the tell tale signs of another detectorist who HADN'T filled his holes back in.......Miffed because he had found something and miffed because he couldn't be arsed to fill his holes back in. (I did contemplate that it could have been a squirrel with a very small spade that made the holes, but soon dismissed that as everyone knows squirrels only use pick axes to dig).
Now I usually pride myself on my research before visiting a site and this, I thought was no exception. I had read articles, printed maps, high lighted likely areas for finds to be located and organised my plan of attack with military precision. However, the site turned out to be far FAR more overgrown than I could ever possibly imagine with shoulder high grass, brambles and thistles over any exposed ground, and think hedges and trees over the rest of it.
I became excited because I did find one large area of grassland that was relatively short and searched it for over an hour with little success.
Dejected I returned to my hotel to assess the situation. It was then that I found the following sentence on a random picture page on the Island Farm website.
Island Farm was tragically demolished in the early 1990's and the rubble was originally planned for use in extending a run-way at Cardiff International Airport. For whatever reason the rubble was never used for this purpose and consequently it got scattered / levelled around the area and today it has grassed over.
So......even if the area WAS clear of monster grasses/brambles/thistles/bushes/trees I would have had to dig through a couple of feet of rubble to get to the finds !
It wasn't a total loss and I did find some WW2 items, but curiously I found a lot of cartridges dated after 1968 and I can only assume the army used the site as a practice area for house to house fighting.
Anyway, here are my meagre finds, (I am posting them up to show that even I have bad days !!!)
Firstly, everything that was worth keeping after cleaning...
Firstly the modern cartridges. Blank 303 rounds first. The cartridges and a close up of the headstamps.
Now some more modern blanks, and close up of headstamps.
And finally for the modern stuff, cartridges dated 1968.
I saw a penny and picked it up......but it brought me sod all luck
I keep finding these metal strips on WW2 sites and have only recently started to keep them. They must be something to do with the military.....but what ?
A padlock. Found at a decent depth. Could it have been used in the camp ? No markings on it so I suppose I'll never really know.
Ok now these are DEFINITELY from WW2. Slightly concerning that most have been fired....hopefully not at one of the POWS ! All .303 rounds dated prior to 1944.
And finally, the one thing I found that I got slightly excited about. A Pioneer Corps cap badge.
And that was it, unless you count the 456 ring pulls, 32 Coke cans and 28 beer cans I also found.
If only they hadn't spread rubble all over the site....lord knows what is down there just waiting for someone with a metal detector and mini JCB to go and find !
I am off to put more cream on my bites/stings/scratches.