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unknown live fire range

Article about: When i was a lad i found a large area of field that has live fire mortar rounds i had a big collection of mortar fins, top caps and .303 rounds both live and fired dated 1942/3 see pictures

  1. #1

    Default unknown live fire range

    When i was a lad i found a large area of field that has live fire mortar rounds i had a big collection of mortar fins, top caps and .303 rounds both live and fired dated 1942/3 see pictures i assume this was used as a day and night time range as some of the mortar fins had phosphorus residue on them and i found 303 round tips that were obviously tracer rounds also at one end of the field there was a large piece of armour plate 1/2 inch thick punched full of holes and twisted and badly bent i always wanted to bag it as a keeper but it was far to big for a nipper to fit on his pushbike once my dad saw the stuff i was bringing home i was banished from my hobby in no uncertain terms i was 15 /16 yrs old now im 50 and have some sense LOL i may return to have a proper look round all the finds were on surface ploughed up there were so many you didnt need a detector my question is are there any places or sites i could go to to find out about this range or anyone on here that might have an idea where i need to look ,the range is near the centre of a village that is certainly old enough to have been there when the range was active for obvious reasons i dont want to disclose where this site is but it is midway between the bedfordshire, luton area any help you could give in identifying what went on here and why would be greatly appreciated
    ps i hope this is the right place to ask mods please feel free to move itClick image for larger version. 

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ID:	160879 if these work these are photos of the mortars i was finding none were complete mostly it was the fins , ally and steel or body parts and screw on end caps

  2. #2

    Default Re: unknown live fire range

    Hi robin59

    Your dad was right to blow a gasket !

    Have a look here and see if you can see your site.....

    Ministry of Defence | MicroSite | Defence Estates | Our Publications | Byelaws | East Anglia

    ....this is the first place to start looking. However, quite a few sites were 'unoffical' so it may not be listed here.

    You need to be cautious with firing ranges due to, firstly, live ordnance (as you've already discovered), and secondly, because the removal of items from such a site where the bye-laws are still in force is illegal. Have a good look to see if you can find more details on your range before going back there. The farmer may well be able to help. And PLEASE ! No more live rounds !


    Steve T

  3. #3

    Default Re: unknown live fire range

    what can i say i was a young schoolkid bullet proof and going to live forever i have found some small references to this site as an experimental mortar range but they also seem to have been testing rifle or machine guns hence the armor plate with big holes way bigger than .303 nearer 50 cal in it ,since this site was abandoned some time ago didnt the army have a duty to clear these sites of ordinance especially as its in a built up area , as i said in my first post the stuff i found was in clear view on the surface i certainly wouldnt want to be the guy who ploughs it ,as the field is in regular use and is planted with various crops throughout the year thats how i found a lot of bits go in just after it was ploughed ,the live rifle rounds i found were in a ditch surrounding the field and appeared to have just been thrown into it . is it just a case of if no one gets blown up we will keep our mouths shut or it will cost to much to go in and clear up our mess . either way its a scary thought

  4. #4

    Default Re: unknown live fire range

    It is far too costly for the MOD or anyone else to clear the site. The only times they do it are either due to sheer volume of unexploded ordnance, or because someone has been injured. Even then it takes a long time and a lot of money to clear such a site. It is far easier to forget about this stuff, or maybe post signs warning of the dangers.

    With it being ploughed every year, I would have expected some sort of 'accident' by now if there is indeed a lot of live stuff there.

    As to your 303's in a ditch, it goes like this. Soldiers march out to the exercise area weighed down with kit. They spend a few hours/days on the range then march back to their barracks. Being knackered, they lighten the load as much as possible. Any unfired stuff gets chucked in the nearest ditch. Back in those times the accounting for ammo was far less stringent than now so it doesn't surprise me that you find live stuff.

    Good luck tracking the site down.

    Steve T

  5. #5

    Default Re: unknown live fire range

    Thanks steve for a concise and plausible explination of what i have found. the "lost" rounds part matches exactly what i found just a jumble of rounds rather than a stacked or boxed lot i.e lost or forgotten.having looked further into this site there is little or no reference to it anywhere that i can find apart from the fact it is in a designated sssi "site of special or scientific interest" apparently the flora and fauna werent so important when the army needed to blow stuff up ! there is one thing i also remember as you enter the field through the main gate there was a square shallow"pond" that was clearly man made and fairly shallow approx 15ft by 15 ft i wonder if it was or is a depository for any suspect objects found by the farmer as there is no livestock in the area and its way to small for an irrigation pond the farmer lives off site there is only one house next to the site and this is privatly owned i have no idea who the owner of the field is and was never able to trace him ,but now im older and wiser and have acceses to the world in my living room there has to be a way to track him down.once again thanks for your help mate if i find out any more i will let you know .all the best Rob

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