War That Changed the World Forever
I am reminded of the two World Wars almost every week. Detectorists all over the country regularly unearth artefacts from the conflicts that jog our memories. Indeed, Darren Davidson of Easington in County Durham sent me pictures
of such an artefact. In a phrase that echoes what is happening this year, he says, “I’d like to share a detecting find from a darker period of our history.”
Good Research can mean Excellent Finds
When I first wrote this in 2014 Darren had been detecting with his Ace 250 for about a year and never imagined what he’d eventually find. He likes to search WW 2 sites and has researched his area. The North East coast has many pillboxes and gun emplacements. He said, “they hold nothing but 303 gun cartridges and the odd button if you’re lucky.”
A frustrated Darren asked his father what it was like during the war, and in the course of the conversation was directed to an area he had played on for most of his childhood. He was surprised to learn that ‘Bevin Boys’ working at the local colliery used to live at the top of the field and in the 1940’s there were lots of houses. He also learned that German and Italian Prisoners Of War used to work surrounding fields.
With this knowledge Darren contacted the local farmer and gained permission to detect on the land. To his amazement, the ‘ground was rich with finds’ and he discovered everything from old toys to coinage and military badges.
One of Darren’s military finds was a silver German badge and is the one he would most like to share with readers. First established by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918, the badge for wounded soldiers was re- established by the Wehrmacht, during the Spanish Civil War, and then later at the beginning of the Second World War with the swastika added. The badge was awarded in three grades depending on the number and/or type of injuries in wartime.
The silver one denoted that the owner had been wounded four times. It was ultimately one of the most common of all Third Reich decorations, yet also one of the most highly prized, since it was earned, “as a mark of honour for all who have risked their lives for the Fatherland and have been wounded or maimed”.
The badge, (if silver) can be dated before 1942 as they were made from silver-plated brass. After 1942 they were manufactured from steel and prone to rust.
Darren quipped, “I guess the old man was right. I should listen to him more!” The moral of the story is to listen to the old folk when searching for new land. They could have useful information! Thanks to Darren for sharing the story with us.
More of Darren’s Finds
Adapted from an article previously published In The Searcher magazine