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Remembered Today:

identification of finds


philgb
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On our walk through the fields following my grandfathers footsteps from Maricourt to Montauban, we came across a few items lying in the earth, between Brick point and what would of been Silesia trench, can anyone identify the shell and bullet casing?

Also found the trench spade on the North West edge of Trones wood.

The bayonet was purchased from a French guy in a field near to Warlen court cemetery for 10euros (dont know why i purchased it! but i did), i think he had it put through an acid bath

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German bullet case and Brit 18 pounder shrapnel case.

TT

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The bayonet is a German 98/05, and appears to be an a.A., as it looks like it has 'high ears' on the crossguard, in which case IIRC it is pre-1915. The X-scoring of the 'right' grip , though is not original, nor is the scoring on the 'left' grip. Maybe they have been replaced at some point.

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Thanks Guys that bril information puts perspective when you just happen across these things.

1 more that i could'nt fit on my last post, found in the field on the NE edge again of Trones woods

!cid_DAEF849CD0664774BF1094C8391467B3@philPC.jpg

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That first shrapnel shell looks unexploded/unfired to me... Be careful what you do with it as it will still have the ejection explosive charge at the bottom.

James

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"Bloody hell"

i did not remove the earth out of it, as it just felt right to leave it as it was, looked like a dud that was empty and filled with earth over the years?

Not sure what to do with it now, if as you think, it may still have a live ejection charge!

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The ejection charge was I think, Black Powder rather than HE. So even if it was a dud which I don't think it was, after nearly 100 years of being in the mud it's unlikely that charge would still be there.

I always worry about poking around in 'dud' shell because there might be a glass gas bottle inside. That's my personal horror.

John

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Hi Philgb,

please be careful with the first shell you show.

Like others said there might be something under the clay.

Even blackpowder becomes more sensetive after all these years.

One thing I've learned in the past 20 years; If you don't know it, leave it!

Kind regards,

Arjen

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From my experience it is safe and merely full of mud. It's safe just wash the mud out.

TT

It won't have a glass bottle inside and if you dig the mud out and no shrapnel balls it's even more likely to have been fired and therefore safe.

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Tim , thanks , and I am not a TT*t!!

hope you are well?

Tony

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Sorry Tony, 2.00 am typo! I'm well thanks and you?

Hope to see you next March in a muddy field?

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Your shovel head is a British G.S. shovel from the period. I wouldn't worry too much about your mud-filled shrapnel shell. They don't seem to worry this farmer too much! If they haven't got the shrapnel balls and pusher plate they won't have the black powder charge which turns into slush when it is wet.- However I can't recommend picking up objects from a battlefield unless you know what they are. - SW

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Beware guys. It is now illegal to remove ANY Great War artifact from the battlefields in Belgium & penalties from fines to penal sentencing may apply if caught and found guilty.

This was recently revealed during a Police visit to the British Grenadier Bookshop in Ypres where my wife works part time & also confirmed by Niek at Hooge Crater Café however, if in doubt for the collectors amongst us, best bet is to contact the Belgian Police before your next visit and confirm. Am not sure about France but probably same or similar.

*I did enquire why no public messages have been posted and the response confirmed none are normally posted. It is for the public to confirm with the necessary authorities before attempting anything such as this. As I have learned since moving here in 2005, this is so Belgian and that is that!

I can also reveal many landowners who I speak to on a regular basis are truly fed up with people walking across their land, prepared or otherwise and the woods are no different!

Perhaps the massive increase of visitors this year bringing huge problems for some year jolted this subject forward. Whatever, ignorance is no excuse here in Belgium today.

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Phil,

If you gently scrape the top layer of mud out, I suspect you will find the first layer of grey marble-sized shrapnel balls, held in a kind of fibrous mesh stuff, and a metal tube going down the centre (that would have held the fuse to ignite the explosive at the bottom). If you don't after a couple of inches, then you are probably right that it has been used and is now just full of mud and it is fine.

Not sure what to suggest you do if you do find it is unexploded... Seems a little extreme to cordon off the neighbourhood and call the Army, but not sure what other options there are...!

James

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Why would the shrapnel round have lost its fuze if it still contained the balls and the popping charge? The fact that it's not heavily damaged would suggest it hit the ground at less than full weight, wouldn't it? I'd guess there are a few ways it might still be dangerous, but all of them seem to have low probability. What about pouring water into the nose to wash out the mud?

Regards,

MikB

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I wanted to keep the shell as it was, mud and all, but after reading the brill replies i am going to leave it out in the rain tonight to soften the mud. Tomorrow i will apply a gentle spray from the hose pipe and see how far the mud has penetrated. Pity really, as the shell was found in that state in the vicinity of where grand father fought i intended to display it with his photo and the history etc. But better put safety first or the mrs will kill me lol

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Why would the shrapnel round have lost its fuze if it still contained the balls and the popping charge?

Because it never had its fuse fitted for firing in the first place... would still have the charge in the base.

J

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It has every chance of being safe and merely full of mud. Will need more than rain to often up. Why don't you scrape mud out onto a sheet and when satisfied it's safe which it will be refill it and you have it back as found.

Re threat I saw one of these live and in very good condition opened, emptied of shrapnel balls and the black powder in the pan lit. Was a damp squib. Not recommending this but yours will be safe. You will soon know if just mud.

TT

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Thanks Trench

Re evaluating things, it has obviously been fired or the casing and fuse would still be attached, so a dud. Just trying to find the right terminology to reply to the wife "Oy what are you doing with my best spoons"

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Looking at the second shell the threads look in remarkable condition....maybe someone has recently done the dangerous bit by removing the fuse...

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Redbarchetta - if you take a look at the Battle of the Somme film where they are unboxing 18 pdr shells you will notice that all the shrapnel shells come fitted with time fuzes. In this particular case not only is the fuze missing but so is the adaptor which actually holds the components in position. The mud is at a level where the central tube and payload would be visible if they were present. - SW

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Now there's a thing. Pleased its all ok and you have a nice reminder of your trip. All you need is a spent fuse to add.

Regards

TT

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