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    Somme battlefield finds.......with a difference.

    I thought some people might find this a mildly interesting aside. One of my best pals works in the Somme battlefield museum in the little town of Albert. As we all know the ground is still full of detritus from the 1914 - 1918 period, but fighting swept across the area in WW2 on two occasions, albeit rather more briefly; firstly when the 'phoney war' came to an end with the Blitzkrieg against Franceicon & the Low Countries in April/May/June 1940, & secondly, again for a day or two in August 1944, when Germanicon troops retreating from the debacle in Normandy were passing through the area.

    The finds in the attached photo were unearthed only a couple of weeks ago as a result of roadworks in the centre of Albert, close to the museum. I wonder if the Bren was battle damaged, or whether the gunner had time to disassemble the pistol grip assembly & chuck it in a different direction to where he left the guts of the gun? The rifle is clearly a SMLE. My money is on them being there since May 1940, just prior to the retreat to Dunkirk.

    Fortunately they will not be destroyed as the museum has secured them & will hopefully be exhibiting them in due course, even if they are from the 'wrong' World War!
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    Last edited by Roger Payne; 06-01-2021 at 12:36 PM.


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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    The Bren Gun does look remarkably well preserved considering how long it's been in the ground.

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    Yes, I suppose the flash eliminator assembly being stainless steel has helped.

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    Really Senior Member GeeRam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Payneicon View Post
    I wonder if the Bren was battle damaged, or whether the gunner had time to disassemble the pistol grip assembly & chuck it in a different direction to where he left the guts of the gun? The rifle is clearly a SMLE. My money is on them being there since May 1940, just prior to the retreat to Dunkirk.
    Most likely yes, been there since 1940. Probably disabled and split by a soldier when ammo ran out.
    Just the thing for putting round holes in square heads.

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    It seems to be a global truth that 'vital" ground is "vital" ground through the ages.

    Look at the Middle East,for starters The same mountain passes, water crossings, ports, etc, fought over for millennia. Ditto, over a somewhat shorter time-span, North America. There are places there that saw battle or mass troop movement in successive wars. It is likely that some of these places were also involved in inter-tribal conflict before Europeans even knew the place existed. John Keegan's "Warpaths" is a good primer on the subject. Naval warfare seems to have a similar trend. The advent of aircraft and submarines simply expanded the possibilities.

    Thus, places like the Somme.

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    Yes, I remember hearing the late professor Richard Holmes referring to that part of Northern France, Belgiumicon & the Netherlands as 'The Cockpit of Europe'; fought over so many times across the ages......

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    Last night Alain sent me the enclosed photo - found with the Bren. It's covered in concretion, but what do you think? Royal West Kents???

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