Whitehunter, Luckystrike and Steve T met on Sunday at an old RAF Lancaster base. The meeting wasn't just a freak coincidence ! LS had been doing a bit of research into an RAF Lancaster base and had identified 2 possible locations for the base dump, the 'pot of gold' for relic hunters. The locations were some distance from road access so there was going to be a little bit of walking involved, but the rewards would be great......if we could find the dump.
At 10am we set off walking, reaching the first possible location in about 15 minutes and a couple of map consultations. A quick scout around revealed no evidence of a dump so we moved on. Trekking through a wooded area we stumbled across a nicely constructed bomb dump. After consulting various maps and a Google earth picture, we ploughed on to the second possible site. Again, no luck. After a bit of a conflab, we decided to basically check the entire southern end of the base !!! A couple of hours later, still we had no luck finding the dump.
Morale amongst the troops was riding low so we had a quick sandwich, (and some rather nice cookies), and set off back the way we had come to search a couple of other likely areas. We found a couple of ammo bunkers and the remains of a few buildings but not a lot else.
Time was getting on and we perhaps had an hour of daylight left. We decided to have one last throw of the dice and went to check out an area that we had all dismissed at the beginning of the day and marked down as 'least likely' area for a dump. We were so sure the dump wouldn't be there, we left all our digging kit in the car, except for one small spade.
WH and I went into the area first. LS was a little way behind us. WH and I looked down at the ground and then at each other.
'Bloody Hell !!!'
We shouted LS over. There, on the ground, pieces of crockery strewn everywhere. LS picked up a piece.
'1944 dated', he said.
We all looked at each other.
'Christ ! We've found it !'
WH quickly checked to make sure it wasn't just surface crap. A few minutes later he had dug down 2 feet and then hit clay. The whole of the top soil was FULL of stuff.
WH then picked up a couple of Bakelite items off the floor.
'These look interesting', he said. 'Wonder what they are?'
I glanced at them and mumbled something about them looking quite interesting then did a really good double take !
'Bloody hell John !' I said. 'They're tail pistols !!!!'
We looked down on the floor and shuffled through the leaf litter. Very soon we both had a handful of tail pistols !
That did it. We grabbed the gear and started digging.
The soil was relatively dry and the dump had never been burnt like they normally are. The ground was FULL of broken crockery and so much other stuff I simply couldn't believe it.
It was just such a damn shame we found it with ONLY 30 MINUTES OF DAYLIGHT LEFT !!!!!
We did a quick scout round and realised that this wasn't a little transient dump. This was the main base dump.......it extended for some distance in all directions.
WH and LS stayed on until it got too dark to dig, with me leaving a little earlier than them. On the way home, WH texted me a picture, with the following words.
'Anti gas ointment anyone ?'
This is the the beginning of a LONG thread. It's going to take a great many visits to this site as there must be so much stuff in the ground.
Remember we had THIRTY MINUTES.
This is what I took home after 30 minutes.
Half the stuff after cleaning.....
And the other half.............
Ok let's have a look at the glassware first. Some nice complete jars of what I think used to be meat paste or something similar. A couple of ink jars, two Ponds cream jars and a nice Brylcream container. One of the glass 'containers' actually looks more like a lid to something.
A lovely little Ponds cream jar.
A big buckle off something and a piece of metal that reminds me of a metal MG belt feeder.
Two metal caps, one dated 1941. Fuel filler caps off something ?
I only found broken crockery but there MUST be some complete stuff there. Kept these bits for the markings on the base.
A big padlock.
A valve off something. It has a number on it but it is not decipherable. Shame as it may have made it positively identifiable.
Two standard buttons and a very strange mother of pearl button. Evidence of WAAF's based at the airfield ?
A small brass container for blades. Razor blades or maybe 'craft knife' blades.
A flare gun cartridge.
I have found a couple of these before on a different airbase, next to Merlin Engine exhaust stub gaskets. Are they a kind of 'lock washer' from a Merlin Engine exhaust assembly ?
This next item I am rather excited about as it looks like an attachment for an oxygen feed. Maybe used by the crew with the small portable oxygen cylinders ? The top 'flap' still opens and there is a lovely WD arrow and code number stamped on the item. Mark III B*.......can anyone confirm what it's off ?
These I got off the surface, next to where LS and WH, a few minutes after I had left, got the mother load of anti gas tubes ! One of mine is in superb condition.
Lastly, the find of the day. We all took some of these home but I think I somehow ended up with more. They are a mixture of No 28 and No 30 tail pistols. I shall put a reply to this thread and attach a couple of photo's from a handbook I have. Both were used as standard in British aerial bombs of many shapes and sizes. I have found 3 brass ones on different airfields before, but never any Bakelite ones.
A picture showing the markings on the pistols. One even has been kind enough to supply a date.......1942 These are just totally awesome and must have been used in the bombs that were loaded onto the Lancasters. Amazing.....
And that's it from me.
Whitehunter and Luckystrike will post their finds soon and we SHALL RETURN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!