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.