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Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

Article about: by Steve T Ned (big) Yep......use both regularly. Just didn't think I'd need them where I was going so failed to take any with me Citronella gives me a nasty rash but spike lavendar works gr

  1. #1

    Default Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    HI guys

    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.

    Steve T
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 303 blanks.JPG   303 blanks hs.JPG  

    303 headstamps 1.JPG   303.JPG  

    cap badge.JPG   group.JPG  

    metal strips.JPG   modern 1.JPG  

    modern 2.JPG   modern blank hs.JPG  

    modern hs.JPG   padlock 1.JPG  

    penny 1.JPG  

  2. #2

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    Sounds like you had a tough time, but good job anyways!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    It appears that all your efforts were not in vein. Nice finds.

    Ty

  4. #4

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    There are those RMC Heckmondswike lables again. Surley someone in that area can find out what they supplied to the Government during WWII. Friends of mine found the same lables down here in West Dorset, also surrounded by spent cartridge cases, I live in hope, John

  5. #5
    ?

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    The cap badge is indeed a very nice find! I recognize your problems... It isn't much better around here and the weather is very hot at the moment.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    Quote by Blackpowder44 View Post
    There are those RMC Heckmondswike lables again. Surley someone in that area can find out what they supplied to the Government during WWII. Friends of mine found the same lables down here in West Dorset, also surrounded by spent cartridge cases, I live in hope, John
    Hi John,

    This is probably entirely useless, but RMC Heckmondwicke is one of the biggest aggregate suppliers in the country. The full name is Ready Mix Concrete. I don't know if they were established during the war, but if they were, it's not inconcieveable that they supplied concrete products to the war department. As for connection to the labels, i have no idea.Pretty thin gruel i'm affraid.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    Quote by big ned View Post
    Hi John,

    This is probably entirely useless, but RMC Heckmondwicke is one of the biggest aggregate suppliers in the country. The full name is Ready Mix Concrete. I don't know if they were established during the war, but if they were, it's not inconcieveable that they supplied concrete products to the war department. As for connection to the labels, i have no idea.Pretty thin gruel i'm affraid.

    Regards, Ned.
    Just another strange coincidence perhaps...

    There is also another RMC Aggregate/concrete plant at Somerley, Dorset...Strange!!

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    For just one moment on reading your first sentance I thought that you hav lost your way and ended up in a Soho bondage parlour, I then read on and was very dissapointed to find that this was not the case. John

  9. #9

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    Thanks for your input on the RMC labels, I had most of my working life in civil engineering and when I first saw this label I thought Ready Mix Concrete, but I couldnr reconcile them up in Heckmondwike and a very small , 8 hut unit on the edge of the cliffs down here.Especially as there is no concrete structure anywhere near to where they were found, only masses of small arms cases, some fired others live. Also another airfield searcher has found these lables on his search site.

    If you look at my label you will see that it is dated 1940 with Heckmondwike stamped on it,The ones on here have RMC and a 1945 date but no suppliers name, all very strange. Thanks, John
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture heckmonwite 001.jpg  

  10. #10

    Default Re: Island farm POW camp - A site has beaten me :( :(

    Hi John,

    I'm in complete agreement with you. Also, note the single hole on one end only of the tag. Would appear the tag was either tied on or wired to something like a bag or sack. If it was on, say an ammo box, you'd think it would have a hole each end and be nailed on.

    The plot thickens, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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