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OT Things I have picked up off the ground

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  • OT Things I have picked up off the ground

    Over the years, I have picked up some interesting things, these military related.

    In 1959, I found a complete 3" anti aircraft fixed round, eroding from the side of a ditch near my school. The shell was corroded and had split the cartridge case slightly. I took it to my teacher and he showed it to the whole school before calling the bomb disposal. An officer arrived later and told us that the most dangerous part was the detonator in the case. He then rolled it up in a blanket, put it in the boot of his car and took it away. I found it at 51-07-34N 0-16-55W.

    About the same time my friend and I found an object that may have been a cannon shell from a ME 109. We were throwing it onto concrete from the top of the playing field slide when a man who was passing noticed our antics. He took it away from us and seemed to throw it into some nearby bushes, but we never managed to find it, he probably fooled us and chucked it somewhere else. That was 51-07-21N 0-16-41W.

    Many years later, walking on the South Downs near the Roman villa of Bignor, I found a mortar bomb, something like 3", 80mm, stuck almost up to the fins in the chalk. The policeman who responded to my call marked the site and told me that the area had been a range during WW2 and my find was number 50. It would eventually be blown up in situ as it was deemed too dangerous to move. 50-54-48N 0-36-30W.

    About 15 years ago, while visiting my cousin in Hampshire, walking the dog, I picked up a cannonball, very corroded and likely 300 years old. Probably fired from a Saker field piece which varied from 4 3/4 LB to 7 1/2 LB. The nearest English Civil War battle was at Cheriton on 29 March 1644, 9 miles away. 51-09-36N 1-07-42W.
    Last edited by old mart; 04-21-2019, 09:09 AM.

  • #2
    You live a charmed life.
    I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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    • #3
      It wasn't the ground but a frozen lake.

      When I was about 14, while I was walking across a nearby frozen lake, I encountered an odd looking rock about the size of a baseball, that stood out from the snow dramatically. I picked it up and wondered where it could've come from, noting that it was too far from any shore for someone to have thrown it, and the shores were too deep with snow to dig one up anyway.

      I finally shrugged and dropped it and kept walking.

      Decades later I realized it was a meteorite that had landed on the frozen lake. It would've been worth some cash if I'd had the foresight to keep it. It's at the bottom of the lake now, unless someone else came along and picked it up and was smart enough to keep it.
      Last edited by jmarkwolf; 04-21-2019, 09:18 AM.

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      • #4
        Wow - kinda makes sense you live in a small area that was bombarded buy that stuff a few different times...

        since were on the topic of explosives I have a story that I feel very fortunate to be able to tell,

        years ago my old bossman had stored some things for one of his friends in back of the shop he had, one of the things was a safe, well his friend ended up "crossing over" and things just sat and one day I came into work and the bossman tells me "hey - I think it's time we open that safe and find out whats inside" and hands me a 12 Lb sledge, so I head back there, it was about a 3' 6" cube with external robust hinges - so here I am flipping it all around and banging on the hinges and got a full set of prybars out there --- probably took me an hour of beating the living crap out of it but I started to deform the entire unit and gained enough clearance so the prybars and wedges worked their magic,

        get the lid off and what do I see? several sticks of dynamite and not just any old dynamite - dynamite that was very old and soaked through it's wrapping and it's chemical composition had "gone through the change" I was no expert on the stuff but knew enough that when I seen that I completely freaked out and yelled at the bossman to see for himself --- then told him I was damn lucky to be alive - he has a degree in chemical engineering and concurred --- most of the time I was beating on the thing I was standing directly in front of the door --- so there would not have been anything left of me had the instability turned lethal...
        Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 04-21-2019, 09:26 AM.

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        • #5
          They call it sweating when the nitro-glycerine starts to separate from the filler. How did you dispose of it?

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          • #6
            I'll bet they call it sweating like crazy after AK got the lid off!
            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

            Location: British Columbia

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            • #7
              He immediately called either the police or fire department or someone that knew the right people to send over and take care of it...

              I been high risk all my life but this could have been it,,, after they cleaned out the dynamite we found some luv letters from a woman - and I guess the reason why they were in the safe is because they were was not his wife's letters,,,

              who knows maybe the "sweating" dynamite was put in there intentionally as a booby trap so nobody would get a chance read the letters...

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              • #8
                Over the years, quite a few tools lying along the road. Likely lost by mechanics who had left them on cars. The best was a 36" Ridgid pipe wrench. Probably left by a plumber on the bumper of his truck. This came to an end, for the most part, when I stopped riding my bike for daily transportation.
                I cut it off twice; it's still too short
                Oregon, USA

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                • #9
                  lol Tim - I usually ride trails but got my latest proto-type built on the bike cranks and they are road only (right now)

                  Yesterdays score? 2/3rds of a roll of electrical tape lol

                  I have found tons of stuff on the side of the road --- think im set for life with bungie cords and tie downs and have not had to buy a cooler in about 40 years

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                  • #10
                    I imagine they're still picking up ordinance and fragments around Gettysburg, PA. The museum there is full of stuff recovered by the local land owners years after the battle. For a few years I was an avid reader and student of the Civil War battles, and recall reading that the ordinance just the Union forces used during the battle was measured, not in railroad cars, but in entire train loads.

                    A few years back I was in Fredricksburg, VA, where many of the shops had large barrels full of recovered bullets/minnie balls for sale as souveniers. I bought a few ...all smashed up from impact with a hard object, and heavily oxidized.
                    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                    • #11
                      The WWI battlefields in France are still producing a lot of ordnance. I guess a factor is that they tended to stay in one place for months, continuously shelling the same land. Also, iirc, they claimed that up to 1/3 of the shells were duds.

                      Frank

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                      • #12
                        Reading the posts suddenly brought back memories of when I was a teenager, not explosives this time, but having ridden my Norton Jubilee 250 about half a mile from home, I saw a number of small boxes at the side of the road. I turned around and to my amazement, the boxes contained false teeth. I left the hoard of dentures where they lay and later told my father about it. He said I should go and retrieve them as they needed to be reported to the police as lost property. When I returned to the site, they were all gone, so I will never know the full story.

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                        • #13
                          Something tells me the full story was not about happy endings... that's just plain creepy...

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                          • #14
                            I keep an eye out for things in the road. Not that I'm trying to bring things home. It's more like I'm building a mental database of what things look like so that I can avoid the dangerous stuff. It's a habit left over from riding motorcycles.

                            The item I find more than anything else? Locks. Padlocks from trucks who failed to lock them after leaving the nearby shopping center and restaurants. Or they were left on the tailgate. I tend to find them in the same intersection. When they make the right turn after delivering to the aforementioned businesses the slight incline and G forces of the turn will cause anything on the tailgate or bumper to slide.

                            Many of them are pretty good quality. Since locksmithing is a hobby of mine, I pick them, then impression a key for future use. I have several of these "rescued" items hanging on my pegboard.

                            Dan
                            Last edited by danlb; 04-21-2019, 01:30 PM.
                            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                            Location: SF East Bay.

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                            • #15
                              One time delivering papers I found a large knife. Sort of off to the side by some trees, not really lawn or a path.
                              Never Been able to determine age or intended use.

                              It's about 16 inches long, blade is 3/8 wide on thick side, the blade is tapered and as it nears the edge beveled.
                              Blade slopes slightly forward from hand and has a round tip, about a 1 inch radius, blade is about 2 1/2 wide at the widest.
                              Has a very big finger guard, brass about 3/8 thick. Wood on both sides of handle with finger notches, wood is weathered as is blade, some pits.
                              It had some letters and numbers, partly obscured by pits. Looked like US and maybe 18**
                              Looks like a chopping knife..
                              We did have a tobbaco industry here a century ago, and other crops, it may be related to that.

                              I should get a pic and email it to someone on here, I found it around 1970..

                              Can't find anything under tobacco, it weighs close to two pounds, looks like something a pirate might carry.

                              Chaper Heavy cutting Knife is pretty similar, but not as nicely made as mine.
                              Last edited by 754; 04-21-2019, 01:55 PM.

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