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Tag-tastic weekend

Article about: All over the UK stand the remains of long abandoned Army camps, some going back Centuries. Many however were constructed during war time particularly during the First and Second World Wars.

  1. #1

    Default Tag-tastic weekend

    All over the UK stand the remains of long abandoned Army camps, some going back Centuries. Many however were constructed during war time particularly during the First and Second World Wars. After the War many of these military camps remained in use due to the large numbers of men called into the services for National service.
    In my area are the remains of several former Military camps that I know of, so I thought it was time that I checked one out.
    I did a little research prior to my visit and discovered that the camp was built in the early 1940's and then continued in use during the hostilities and beyond, finally shutting in the late 1960's. It is now a derelict and vandalised site only used by dog walkers and cross country motorbike enthusiasts. Most of the huts have gone with those remaining gutted shells. Around the site the road layout is crumbling with weeds pushing through the surface but its still possible to discern the foundations. All very interesting but I was only looking for one thing? the site of the former rubbish dump and it didn't take too long to locate. My thoughts being that digging down through the more recent deposits I'll eventually reach the conflict years level.
    This soon proved correct, WW2 was only around 1m down but finds from then were few and far between but it's only early days searching. A theory for this perhaps could be that more was recycled during the War meaning less ended up in the tip? I did find an early young head Victorian ha'penny (1870'ish) but its very worn so was probably used in circulation for a long time until perhaps WW2.
    But I was in for a pleasant surprise! the site is jammed full of British Army metal Identification tags. They just kept popping up!
    I dug just 3 small holes over the tip but each yielded plenty of the tags? (sadly no fibre ones as of yet). I spent around 5 hours digging but in that time uncovered a staggering 200+, not a bad return ratio I think. My next big job is of course to clean them all argh!!!, but as you'll see this has started.
    From the ones cleaned so far most are the Army numbers system when numbers were given in blocks to different Regiments. This commenced in 1920 and ran through to March 1950. I also found a few of the 22 (eight digit) Service numbers that followed the previous system, so these are post March 1950. Maybe the camp was used as a demob site at some time when Military personnel returned to civilian life handing in all their kit?
    1) The first disc is spotted, next to it lies a tent eyelet.
    2) Another one peeks out.
    3) Another five revealed with in a few seconds.
    4) Then a larger find, some sort of all metal vehicle seat? (I didn't keep it)
    5) Then found at a greater depth a Barbasol shaving tube, a 1940 dated cup fragment and a gas mask anti dim kit (to stop the mask from misting up).
    6) By the end of the weekend these are the main finds with a big pile of tags.
    7 & 8) Close up's of some of the uncleaned tags.
    9) A few Buttons.
    10) At last the first few cleaned.
    This post will continue with a few more pictures.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 1.jpg   2.jpg  

    3.jpg   4.jpg  

    5.jpg   6.jpg  

    7.jpg   8.jpg  

    9.jpg   10.jpg  

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Oh my goodness!!!! What cracking finds!
    Out of curiosity, what detector do you use?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Bloody hell Lucky ! You're living up to your name and no mistake.

    Superb finds....truly superb.

    Any markings on the cutlery ?

    I have a lovely Barbasol tube as well, found at my airfield

    Steve T

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for your reply, perhaps surprisingly I didn't actually use my metal detector to find these. They were all simply dug out of the rubbish tip. Because there were so many and the soil is loose I just scraped at the surface and picked them up, then scraped the next layer and so on. I'm sure there's loads more, so if I find anything interesting I'll post them here. Out of interest I did attempt using my detector but gave up because the rubbish tip is completely full of metal, so where ever I put the search head I got a signal! in fact it was rare to find a place with no signal.
    I use a Fisher 1266 bought it second hand about 20 years ago and swear by it, very robust, comfortable to use and good depth, I also have a Garrett 2500 with large search head, great depth but I prefer the Fisher. Incidently I also got one of those hoard finder attachments for the Garrett thought it would be good for helmet sized objects or larger apparently at up to 3m depths. Hoped it would be good for finding larger items in the bottom of filled in trenches but never really got used to it. But I haven't given it much of a go, one day I'll get round to it.
    Good luck with your searches and I'll up date this thread with new discoveries from the tip.
    All the Best

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Here's a few more finds,
    1) Early Rifle Brigade button.
    2) Royal Corps of Signals sleeve button.
    3) A couple of late items just prior to the camp closure, a 1966 ammo box end and a tube for 15 Portfires friction MK2 illumination flares dated 1969.

    Steve T, its good to hear from you, yes the cutlery is all WD marked and with the arrow but post war dated 1950 and 1952 one fork has 3094 roughly stamped into the handle, the knife blade has CC/0535 on the blade I guess a code.
    I always like your posts, and your format so I took my pictures this time to show before cleaning, but finding so many means it'll be a while before I can post all cleaned shots so I'll just show a few. But if I find any that are unusual then I'll upload the pic's.
    Cheers for now.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 11.jpg   12.jpg  


  6. #6

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Lucky indeed. Now hows this for spooky,below the Royal Signals badge the tag reads BULLO--- That name can only be Bullock or Bulloch Depending where abouts this airfield is could be my dads cousin GEORGE BULLOCK,who served in the raf during the war, another creepy fact is that i was in the Royal signals TA . How weird is that ,BOO

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Hi Davejb,
    Thanks for your comments, it certainly is a coincidence but sadly this time the tags didn't come from an airfield they came from the site of a former Army camp.
    All the Best.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend


    Thanks for the comments re my posts Yours are good to. Always amazes me the stuff you find without a detector. I'd find nowt but Bluebell bulbs if I tried it !

    Been blitzing my airfield this posting up soon


    Steve T

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    Thats good news I always enjoy your threads, hope you did well.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tag-tastic weekend

    After receiving your reply i did some quick checking and it was the RASC that my dads cousin was in ,I thought it was the RAF, so you never know!

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