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Article about: Hey all, new to the forums so hello to everyone. Me and my dad are planning a trip to metal detect for WW1 and WW2 relics. I know the laws are strict and vary heavily from area to area. But

  1. #11
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    Not sure how i have missed you Francis and your posts on this site and as Ade has pointed out we do not tolerate illegal activitiy on this forum.

    You appear to ignore the laws in France with a nod and a wink but i would ask you the following questions,

    In some posts you appear to have found live ammunition of various types can you tell me what exactly you do with those items ?

    You state that you have pulled out items with what appears to be booby traps attached so i'm not to convinved that is actually common sense ? Where is your authority and experience to handle such items ?

    You are excavating on Battlefields where thousands are MIA do you know the procedures to be followed in France if you come across Human remains ?
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  2. #12

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    Can't believe you can be so blatantly ignorant enough to just walk into fields and detect without permission. You have been very lucky not to get your collar felt by the authorities Francis. And to top that it appears you don't know what sort of dangers you are putting yourself or others into by blindly digging.
    Crazy,

  3. #13

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    Hello 'Lebus12' - Adrian Stevenson - 'Paul D' and 'Blackcat1982'.
    I hope that you are not offended by me replying to you all collectively. It is not as a short cut, and I would like to have replied to you individually, but had I done this, much would have been repeated as I have offended you all for the same reason/on the same subject.
    I would like to sincerely apologise for my posting regarding detecting in France and the bad practices that this might encourage. I don't know where to start. But after I have finished here, I will add onto my original post so as not to encourage others. Thank you all for taking the time to advise me and point out the potential dangers and the seriousness of my activities. It is not my intention to bring the W.R.F into disrepute nor cause any embarrassment or problems for the W.R.F. and any of its' members. I have read the thread by Steve T on this subject and quite honestly, I didnt realise that the law was so stringent and strict. Although I did realise I was obviously sticking my neck out, I didn't realise I was begging to be decapitated!!! For you (Ade specifically) to have said: 'I am sailing close to the wind' is very polite of you and probably quite an understatement. I will modify my detecting habits accordingly. I realise that my post made me out to be an ignorant, non respectful, thuggish person but I hope that you will let me try to explain something in my defence. Firstly and most importantly. I have the utmost respect for the subject matter involved. The lost soldiers (and civilians) of all nations are constantly in my mind when I am out in the fields. I go in winter months only, and I can with my hand on my heart say that it is a labour of love and a pilgrimage of a sort when I go out searching. It is often freezing, wet and at times even snowing. I have pulled something poignant from the ground, sat there looking around me in the silence, with so much French mud on my boots I can barely walk, frozen to the core and thought 'how did these men cope'? 'Im here by choice, I can go home at any time' etc. It is humbling beyond words.
    I have never, and have no intention of going to any 1st WW areas. I think this is much more sensitive and (Paul D) more chance that human remains would be disturbed. Yes I do know what to do should I come across these. The areas I have been to are more what you could call I suppose general fields and woods. Not battlefields as such. Though I must admit, it is maybe a fine line and a grey area as to what counts as a battlefield and what doesn't. My activities have clearly broken the law and as I have said, this will stop. I firmly believe in 'karma' and that what you do comes back at you. With this in mind I have done many good things over the years while out in france. For example: notified a farmer of an injured cow on its side in the winter mud unable to right herself, ditto a horse partly impaled in a wooden post, thieves syphoning diesel fuel from farm equipment, notifying farmers of UXO in their field as well as towing a farmer from a ditch not to mention giving 3 or 4 cyclists broken down a lift back home. Now I know that this does not hold any weight in the eyes of the law, and that it is (with hindsight) a ridiculously naive point of view, but it has kept my conscience clear. Whether misguided or not. Maybe I live in the past, where a mans word was his bond, a handshake sealed a deal and where decency and politeness carried you through sticky moments, (down to, I think, my RAF fathers' strict upbringing). So far this does appear to have worked for me, because I have been very, VERY lucky (as 'Blackcat 1982' pointed out) not to have had 'my collar felt'. I would also like to say that I never sell ANYTHING. I do however give many things away and have left some really nice finds with a museum in France. They would have been wasted had I kept them, better for more people to be able to see, appreciate. On a similar vein, all my finds have been bequeathed to a family run museum in the North of France when that time comes. I admit that I have handled some live ordnance but I do not keep anything like this, and I must tell you now. I have been worried about your responses since I first read them earlier in the week, and I have honestly lost sleep as I realised the potential seriousness of my behaviour. I would like to again say how sorry I am for causing upset within the Forum and I shall take heed of your advice in the future. I haven't addressed all your comments here, I didnt want to waffle on but if you do want me to clear any points not mentioned, I will try to be helpful. Kind regards. Francis.

  4. #14

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    Hello all,
    anyone who has followed this thread cannot have missed the general consensus that my advice (above ) is not the best advice. Maybe in an ideal world or 'back in the day' some of these practices might have been acceptable. Maybe they never have been (officially)!!!!
    It has been okay for me so far and I have been very lucky. But everyones luck runs out eventually if pushed far enough. Both from a legal standpoint, as well as the safety one.
    Rules ARE there for a reason, so, read this thread to the end and take from it the lessons and advice that are within.

    Kind regards
    Francis
    This comment should be below my original one of the 12/04/16 and should be read as such. I dont know how to put it there, sorry

  5. #15
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    Francis i appreciate your candid reply and recognition that what you have been doing has not been best practice and is probably illegal , lessons are learnt by the sharing of knowledge and experience but only in the right way !

    That said many soldiers of all sides from WW2 are still MIA in France so if you are going to continue digging then i would like to be sure that you do understand the procedures in france regading the recovery of human remains and / or live ammunition ?

    cheers

    Paul
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  6. #16

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    Francis,
    Thank you for responding and for taking a great deal of thought into doing so. I apologise if my post was a bit fiery, but I get concerned when I read some of the posts from people grabbing a metal detector and heading off to the continent in search of their own iron cross, or a wooden one if they kill themselves digging up something they have no knowledge of. There have previously been examples of that sort of behaviour on this site and elsewhere. It does those of us who have spent many years cultivating farmers, landowners and mayors etc in order to search locations legally and with the correct permits etc when idiots, and I am not aiming that at you in particular, come over and dig holes etc etc.

    Suffice to say I appreciate your post and explanation and hope that you take on all the positives and above all are a safe and legal detectorists.

  7. #17

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    Thanks to both Paul D and BlackCat1982. I certainly do know the procedures for the locating of live pieces, and especially the finding any remains pertaining to once living people. I did know already, but to be on the 'right side' I have re read protocol regarding this. When travelling abroad, whether it's as a surfer or as a detectorist I try to conduct myself as an ambassador to not only my country, but as a follower of these two hobbies/interests. I realise (as pointed out by BlackCat 1982) that we (as detectorists) can and sometimes do invite a bad press, a negative image. I go out of my way to offset this whenever I am out, but as of now will follow your advice and work harder to achieve this. Again, thanks to all for the helpful advice and pointers. I hope that you all had a happy New Year. Kind Regards
    Francis.

  8. #18
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    Can you explain for the benefit of everyone what the correct and up to date procedures are in France please ?

    cheers

    Paul
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  9. #19

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    Quote by Paul D View Post
    Can you explain for the benefit of everyone what the correct and up to date procedures are in France please ?

    cheers

    Paul
    Hi Paul, I KNEW you'd say that. ;-) .
    Well, at the risk of inviting any flak (pun intended) here goes.....
    Firstly, it's not so black and white as you might suppose. It appears to vary slightly from area to area. Not only have I read up on the subject, but I have spoken to various French people. Nonetheless, this is what I would do: On discovering any signs of human remains I would in the first instance investigate the immediate area to ascertain the quantity/size and where possible to which part of the skeleton they belong. If it was a singular part of the phalanges, a tarsal/metatarsal etc I would most likely rebury this, making a mental note 'just in case'. Should it be a support bone, long bone, skull etc I would go about reporting and logging this for the authorities. This would entail (in order) taking photos, reburying in as near state as it/they were found, taking a global reference position using app on my phone, then, locating the nearest Marie to the site, where I would leave: my full name, address and phone number plus my contact address (namely my parents) whilst visiting France, all details of the find and its location/grid reference. I would also where possible stay around and make myself available just in case I am needed again. I most likely wouldnt necessarily inform the Landowner at least not until I had notified the Marie as he may have different interests ie avoiding any disruption/inconvenience. The notification to the authorities should take priority. As I have said, there appears to be conflicting advice. I was told that you could notify the Consulate General, or go to the local Gendarmerie but I think even if my actions are not totally correct they should suffice. I know if I am too far out with this, that you will 'put me straight' on the matter. I am obviously here to learn should I be missing out something important here. As I have said on a previous post, I stay in areas where the chances of me finding remains are greatly reduced. Considering the hours spent so far, I haven't as yet had to deal with this situation so it appears to be working.

    If you have time to look at these two links, (hope I have done it correctly) the first one, is precisely why I stay away from WW1 sites. The second is the reason why I wouldn't report a single bone fragment.
    Archaeologists unearth the bones of at least 20 French First World War dead after chance discovery by hikers in the forest of Verdun | Daily Mail Online
    Human remains - The Western Front - Great War Forum

    I look forward to any advice or improvements on my actions regarding this subject should you feel it necessary.

    Kind regards
    Francis

  10. #20

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    You're right about the variations in what is permissible in different parts of France. With regard to possible finding of human remains, if you were unlucky enough to unearth a long bone that you believed was human then you and the land owner have a duty to report it to the Police. Even if you do have the experience to be able to identify the bone as human you should not be handling it or removing it, by doing so you have contaminated a possible crime scene, and the Police won't take too kindly to that. Research can lead you to the sites of dumps or places where farmers have buried wartime trash, which can yield some great relics and hopefully do not include missing casualties.

    Searching WW2 battlefields is not something to be done lightly or frivolously, there is a lot of responsibility and no little risk.

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