Found Whilst Metal Detecting

Whilst out metal detecting between Evesham and Pershore on the weekend, I turned up two partial .303 cartridge cases both of which had been fired. Unfortunately, I can't provide pics owing to my phone camera being knackered.

On the base of one of them the head stamp was still visible: It said:

'R 1926 L' (indicates that it was manufactured in 1926 at the Woolwich Arsenal.)

'VII' (would appear to indicate that it is a Mk VII round.)

'W' (seems to mean that it is an armour piercing variant.)

A quick Google search revealed that the nearest military establishments were the Royal Signals and Research Establishment at Pershore and RAF Defford which supported the former's work (airborne radar in WW2, etc) and I can't see any of these requiring .303 AP rounds!

What I am struggling with is that I found these in a random field in Worcestershire which doesn't appear to have any military connection whatsoever - the geography is not that of a range. Does anyone have any thoughts as to the possible historical context of these?

As an aside the current Mrs Berlin_104s found an Elizabethan silver groat (hammered coin) in the same field!
 
I don't suppose that the fact millions of rounds would have been fired in the air between 1939 - 1945 by the RAF would be a possible reason.:x:?;)
 
I don't suppose that the fact millions of rounds would have been fired in the air between 1939 - 1945 by the RAF would be a possible reason.:x:?;)
I thought about that - would they have been AP rounds though?

What is the shelf life of small arms ammunition - would stuff manufactured in 1926 still have been issued as op ammo 13 years later?
 
I thought about that - would they have been AP rounds though?
Gun Loading

In these first engagements over the skies of Dunkirk the standard weapon load-out was:

3 Guns Loaded with Ball Rounds

2 Guns with AP Rounds

2 Guns with B. Mk IV 'Buckingham' Incendiary Tracers

1 Gun with B. Mk VI 'De Wilde' Incendiaries

However by the Battle of Britain this may have been changed to:

4 Guns with Ball Rounds

2 Guns with AP Rounds

2 Guns with B. Mk VI 'De Wilde' Incendiaries



With four of the last 25 rounds in each gun being 'Buckingham;' tracer rounds.*



By 1942 this was altered to:

4 Guns with AP Rounds

4 Guns with B. Mk VI 'De Wilde' Incendiaries

* - As they say "Tracer works both ways"
Yes, it is nice to see that you are now firing solely flamers, and thus low on ammo.
But the opposition can work it out as well!
 
I thought about that - would they have been AP rounds though?

What is the shelf life of small arms ammunition - would stuff manufactured in 1926 still have been issued as op ammo 13 years later?
AP wasn't as special an issue as people now make out. And SAA would certainly last that long.
 
I had a puncture in Greys, Essex a few years ago. Stopped to have a butcher's and saw the spent case of .303 sticking out my tyre. Seemed an odd place to be!
 
I thought about that - would they have been AP rounds though?

What is the shelf life of small arms ammunition - would stuff manufactured in 1926 still have been issued as op ammo 13 years later?
Usually, a minimum of 25 years, however "There's a war on you know"
 

XPara Mugg

War Hero
I had a puncture in Greys, Essex a few years ago. Stopped to have a butcher's and saw the spent case of .303 sticking out my tyre. Seemed an odd place to be!

Not so odd. I taught in Grays and brass of all sorts, and a fair few live rounds, would regularly turn up in school via the kids who had scavenged them from Purfleet ranges.

Easy to imagine these being disgarded on the roads nearby; by accident or design.
 
Gun Loading

In these first engagements over the skies of Dunkirk the standard weapon load-out was:

3 Guns Loaded with Ball Rounds

2 Guns with AP Rounds

2 Guns with B. Mk IV 'Buckingham' Incendiary Tracers

1 Gun with B. Mk VI 'De Wilde' Incendiaries

However by the Battle of Britain this may have been changed to:

4 Guns with Ball Rounds

2 Guns with AP Rounds

2 Guns with B. Mk VI 'De Wilde' Incendiaries



With four of the last 25 rounds in each gun being 'Buckingham;' tracer rounds.*



By 1942 this was altered to:

4 Guns with AP Rounds

4 Guns with B. Mk VI 'De Wilde' Incendiaries

* - As they say "Tracer works both ways"
Yes, it is nice to see that you are now firing solely flamers, and thus low on ammo.
But the opposition can work it out as well!
You lost me in a wave of debilitating nausea with that cadet/airsoft/Walt colloquialism "load out"
 

4(T)

LE
My town in Surrey is littered with .303 cases from BoB. I found eight in my own garden, with just one pass of a cheapo metal detector.


If .303 ammunition of that era has been stored in reasonable conditions, then it is virtually imperishable. Only some batches of primers seem prone to deterioration with age/damp. I have about 100 different batches of .303 dating back to WW1 and, of the relatively clean ammunition, it all functions perfectly save for a couple of 1940s lots where many of the primers have expired.
 
A quick Google search revealed that the nearest military establishments were the Royal Signals and Research Establishment at Pershore and RAF Defford which supported the former's work (airborne radar in WW2, etc) and I can't see any of these requiring .303 AP rounds!QUOTE]

Also not far from Norton Barracks, former depot of the Worcestershire Regt. More likely maybe ex-Home Guard ammo given the age.

Some years ago a friend of mine was dredging some fish ponds in Devon and came across, amongst other things, some plastic explosive, detonators, service revolver and a couple of hundred assorted rounds. Turned out the previous owner had been commander of the local Home Guard during the war and just dumped it when the detachment was disbanded.
 
Not so odd. I taught in Grays and brass of all sorts, and a fair few live rounds, would regularly turn up in school via the kids who had scavenged them from Purfleet ranges.

Easy to imagine these being disgarded on the roads nearby; by accident or design.
Makes sense but this was about 3 years ago. And it made my pizza go cold!
 

XPara Mugg

War Hero
Makes sense but this was about 3 years ago. And it made my pizza go cold!
Stiil turning regularly. There's a veritable brass mine under that there bird reserve.

Culinary tip. Pop that pizza in the oven as soon as you get home. It'll be piping hot by teatime.;)


:pukel:
 
I had a puncture in Greys, Essex a few years ago. Stopped to have a butcher's and saw the spent case of .303 sticking out my tyre. Seemed an odd place to be!
There was an Army rifle range just up the A13 near Vange.

When I was a cadet we used to go there and pop off .303s until we got lucky and moved into the rifle of choice for the late sixties (the Army took them away because of the Paddies so we got upgraded).

We called it Minge.
 

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