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Remembered Today:

Kit still remaining after 45 years in the ground?


Maverick88
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In researching my novel could the experts suggest what kit would be recognisable in backpack and pouches if an infantry ( KYLI) soldier fell in Flanders in 1915 and his remains were undisturbed until 1971? I'm assuming the fibre dogtags wouldn't have survived, nor metal ones if issued? But .303 magazines, bayonet et seq would still be recognisable as such?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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1 hour ago, Maverick88 said:

I'm assuming the fibre dogtags wouldn't have survived, nor metal ones if issued?

It's amazing what ID might survive under the right circumstances and be found, including nowadays.  Even fabric and leather items, especially in very waterlogged anaerobic conditions.

Under such special conditions written and painted details such as regimental number could potentially survive.  Similarly paper and ink items such as paybooks & bibles and even photos could potentially survive.  Really did/does depend on the luck of circumstances.

Metal ID probably most likely to survive.  Especially privately-obtained and in precious metal [though to me a false expense as most likely to be robbed!] - Engraved rings, bracelets and necklace tags all help nowadays with late identifications. Non-ferrous. e.g. brass, and stainless steel would also help [like ferrous aluminium more likely to not survive I think].  Sometimes even in/with enamel details.  Think I have also noted ceramic here on GWF.

Many soldiers made their own metal extra ID to try and help avoid the possibility of becoming an 'unknown' [my grandfather made his own, which I still have - a bracelet - fortunately he survived]

Cutlery, mess tins, razors, hair brushes/combs, could/can still be found with stamped and scratched personal and army details. Personal 'housewifes' with their contents could/can be found and with ID etc.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
addits
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Many of the private ID tags I've seen have been in silver, sometimes made by jewellers and hallmarked. I've also seen French and British coins hammered smooth and stamped with ID lettering. In 2012 I found a cloth bandolier in Mametz wood where 90% of the fabric was gone but the .303 rounds in their chargers were still in position. So some cloth does survive, not just a battle but nearly 100 years of weather.

Edited by Gunner Bailey
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1 hour ago, Gunner Bailey said:

Many of the private ID tags I've seen have been in silver, sometimes made by jewellers and hallmarked. I've also seen French and British coins hammered smooth and stamped with ID lettering. In 2012 I found a cloth bandolier in Mametz wood where 90% of the fabric was gone but the .303 rounds in their chargers were still in position. So some cloth does survive, not just a battle but nearly 100 years of weather.

I find stuff like that quite incredible, almost overwhelming in fact. Considering it’s sat there for nigh on 100 years and the last person to touch it before you was probably the soldier that dropped it. Of course I can’t say _no one_ has touched it but still, it’s quite a thing to think about!

I was poking about in an old fort near metz that was last used properly in the Great War (was essentially abandoned and sealed after that) in one room I found an enormous pile of discarded Great War period German 105mm shell primer protectors, easily a couple thousand. Even the wood centre had survived. It had all sat there in the dark for probably 90 years forgotten

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13 hours ago, MrEd said:

I find stuff like that quite incredible, almost overwhelming in fact. Considering it’s sat there for nigh on 100 years and the last person to touch it before you was probably the soldier that dropped it. Of course I can’t say _no one_ has touched it but still, it’s quite a thing to think about!

 

The bandolier was just under the surface. It was exposed by accident when the side of a foot caught the end of one of the chargers that was a few mm above ground. The rest was exposed by poking around with a stick.

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On 05/10/2022 at 09:06, Gunner Bailey said:

The bandolier was just under the surface. It was exposed by accident when the side of a foot caught the end of one of the chargers that was a few mm above ground. The rest was exposed by poking around with a stick.

incredible find right place right time! do you have a photo?

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20 hours ago, MrEd said:

incredible find right place right time! do you have a photo?

Sadly not. I was with two very experience field walkers who were not phased by it so I didn't bother. As it was we moved on to a freshly ploughed field just outside the wood where over the course of an hour or so found about 100lb of shrapnel, shells, fuzes, grenades, a pair of doctor's forceps, a German knife and more. The bandolier was in the wood very near the lowest corner, close to where the light railway was placed. 

Edited by Gunner Bailey
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36 minutes ago, Gunner Bailey said:

Sadly not. I was with two very experience field walkers who were not phased by it so I didn't bother. As it was we moved on to a freshly ploughed field just outside the wood where over the course of an hour or so found about 100lb of shrapnel, shells, fuzes, grenades, a pair of doctor's forceps, a German knife and more. The bandolier was in the wood very near the lowest corner, close to where the light railway was placed. 

I am not an experienced field walker but every time I have been to ww1 battlefields I have seen absolutely stacks of stuff - once you get your eyes in you see it everywhere. Well still sounds like an incredible find to me! It’s probably still there then tbh.

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This might be useful (have very briefly skimmed but haven’t read it), it’s a scholarly article discussing factors impacting the preservation of archeological materials: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969715004854

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20 minutes ago, Pat Atkins said:

This might be useful (have very briefly skimmed but haven’t read it), it’s a scholarly article discussing factors impacting the preservation of archeological materials: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969715004854

Can understand why you have not read it all - Well I certainly haven't in so few minutes. But I love it!

M

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I just read it... interestingly, waterlogged soil that never dries out is often a good preservative.  Didn't know that.

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55 minutes ago, Interested said:

I just read it... interestingly, waterlogged soil that never dries out is often a good preservative.  Didn't know that.

I am involved in some conservation/restoration work for some post ww2 underground structures and we have one site where a teak floor (okay teak doesn’t really rot anyway) was under washed in dirt/soil and water for 60 years and we we astounded how well it cleaned up - it’s good enough to still walk on. The stuff that had been sitting in the air above all of that had succumbed to some type of agressive mould and rot. 
 

we have found under those floor boards lots of little raf plotting tokens made of fibreboard that have somehow survived! 

Edited by MrEd
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1 hour ago, Interested said:

interestingly, waterlogged soil that never dries out is often a good preservative.  Didn't know that.

Certainly Flanders has plenty of that [with anaerobic conditions] and so discoveries continue to this day, :)

M

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These items were found with (predominantly) British remains and give an idea of what can conceivably stay preserved.  The numbered spoon was used to help identify a soldier and the remains of a web pouch with two clips of ammunition show how even cotton material can occasionally stay in an identifiable form.  I hope that helps.

15F4D64E-2667-4EC0-811E-E7EA9B709ED1.jpeg

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35349DCC-8B26-4519-816D-9747FB90AC3E.jpeg

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B4FE3683-7F55-4688-90ED-685C993BC609.jpeg

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08FFE0D2-70BF-4937-824F-E323AEBA59E5.jpeg

F2FE6043-C360-427E-A255-B7BFC225FDA9.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Good evening

here are some fabric objects found in the cantonment dumps (the earth is mainly only chalk) in artois.

rest of pull over:
DSCN2768.JPG.b0979bd28e41c31a1b0b92493f02f88d.JPG

gas mask :

1511406904_lunettesdeprotectionmonturemoussediteSpongeapparuesenaot1915(1).JPG.cb7dc1c48285ab2b410f5dca50ceabb4.JPG1936805095_lunettesdeprotectionmonturemoussediteSpongeapparuesenaot1915(2).JPG.2348a025307cffc15cb6719e73805719.JPG

toiletries items :

DSC_0019.JPG.1e9e103c10f6f2cf1923883508d69c1a.JPG

foods :

bouteilles.JPG.358c4fd4e9f6ea5b66477246cb9de783.JPG291002955_vitrine-Copie.JPG.4cfe1f7bdbf0762e397bb08ad1d80aa6.JPG

1 : Cherries
2 sponge
3 : cork in liege

matches box :

DSC_0010.JPG.eebb4011c80c1a24432a86bb37ad1f02.JPG

cartridges signal case :

754259886_fouilleloos21oct2009.JPG.9803ac7b18d59352c4d0300f79b1ba55.JPG406684131_fouilleloos21oct2009(2).JPG.9ceb06e6d8c3c60aa75f2c7088481e1a.JPG

wallets :

DSC_0008.JPG.efa60b28375c13761a2ca8b88953511c.JPG

arms badge :

1028499651_3blessures.JPG.fc6945adf42a9c62cf9c496021a54506.JPG

officer's glove :
860305242_officierdeterrain.JPG.3759aab835d6d4332715120bbb839aae.JPG

regards

michel

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