What's new
British Ordnance Collectors Network

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Link , battlefield relics


Great link, thanks kz11gr,

I just hope that some of these items can be saved (ordnance) and find its way to like minded enthusiests who cannot normally get access to such historical items.

It would be a shame that items such as these are available to only a selected few!

A sharing-caring website with sharing caring enthusiests!

Regards Ozzi.

Bit of a mine field for me (pardon the pun)

You can see stuff like this in some areas of France and Belgium,lying on the surface.
Theres the obvious dangers,as alot of areas are churning up live ordnance during the Iron Harvest.

As to what I would pick up,thats difficult.
Firstly,ww1 battlefields are mass graves and most are close to Cemetaries.
Thus I wouldnt even contemplate on digging.

Secondly,French and Belgian Police take a very dim view of removing relics

As for myself (and this is my opinion) I wouldnt touch any ordnance I wasnt 110% sure about,and I definitely wouldnt go digging as I have seen human remains there myself.

But stuff that is resting on the surface,that is obviously empty,and has been brought up by farming methods then possibly,could be retreived as to protect them for the future.
Its a very difficult subject.
I have come across bullet cases,empty grenade body,and sections,pieces of artillery shells,that have found there way into my bits and bobs.

But you can get into trouble very easily,be warned.

I'm quite lucky as my Sister lives in Belgium,so i'm often given stuff.

Last year I was offered a Lee Enfield rifle complete with bayonet,on inspection was found to be fully working with the ammunition!!
There wouldnt have been a licence for it as its been in someones garage for years.
(Was handed in to the police)
So its very possible to come across some very dangerous articles.
I do know of some elderly folk over there with live ordnace in their house,and they really dont have a clue what they are storing.
Alot of this stuff to them,is non descript and not even given a thought,untill someone like me comes along and advisers them to remove the live Mills bomb from the fireplace (yes true!!) and call the police.
Not sure I used that exact language though!

The risk is hardly worth the value of the object.
metal detectors

Last year I went on a battlefield tour of Normandy and was informed that metal detectors are not allowed to be used by the public. Not sure as to what areas this applies but would imagine battlefields due to the obvious dangers. Apparently the French Police take a very serious view on this matter!
Just out of interest while visiting Delville Wood on the Somme 2 years ago heard that if the wood was cleared on a daily basis of ordnance up to 3 tons a day would be removed! Incredible!
what a site

This has to be the coolest web-site I ever visited. To see what I collect coming out of the ground adds a whole new sense of validity to this madness! Well coffee is done so i'm off. Dano

Wow interesting website, not too sure about finding rusty grenades, strikes me as a bit risky but the 4.5in how stuff looked super. Maybe its best I dont plan to go to France again.
very very neat! Thanks!

Very cool website, thanks for posting this! Very neat stuff, I was especially impressed to see the first model German MG08 metal ammo can there, the side latch model, with belts in it! Incredible! Does anyone know if this stuff can be shipped out to the states at all??? Not thinking grenades, although they sure do have lots of those...:tinysmile_eyebrow_t

Thinking of like gun tools, wrenches, things like that? Just some neat relics, like the ammo cans? :tinysmile_fatgrin_t

Neat site! :xd:
Interesting pictures but you can see clearly on several of the relic pictures that
they are using metal-detectors which is strictly forbidden in Belgium and
This has to be the coolest web-site I ever visited. To see what I collect coming out of the ground adds a whole new sense of validity to this madness! Well coffee is done so i'm off. Dano


I was talking to someone yesterday who stayed in a bed and breakfast hotel on Somme Farm. The farmer had a whole barn full of stuff he had ploughed up over a 20 year period and never handed anything in. There's tons out there.

Hi all. I have a question I would like some help with. I'm an Australian who was recently travelling through France and Belgium tracing my grandfather's service history through World War 1. I picked up a couple of battlefield relics along the way (a mills bomb shell, and an impact fuse) both of which were clearly of relic status and impossible to re-charge or pose a threat.

All went well until I tried to reboard the Eurostar at Lille, at which point I had some very enthusiastic (reasonably-polite) Douane officers and a Gendarm (more enthusiastic, less polite) tell me that I was unable to leave the country with them and would be required to surrender them immediately. They were unable to direct me to a specific piece of legislation, but merely stated that it was "illegal" for me to "own or travel with" the items. Pointing out that they seem to dig up enormous amounts, so "ownership" seems fairly widespread throughout France probably didn't help.

I did get a seizure notice.

Can anyone shed any light on which piece of legislation I might have breached; and what I'd need to do in future?? I presume reclaiming the items is now going to be impossible.

Any advice gratefully recieved.
Diggers Grandson - The laws pertaining to war relics are dependent on the country you're in and can vary from 'You can do what you like when you like', to 'Touch anything and we'll throw you in jail'. It is difficult to know what law applies where as you travel europe, but one of my French colleagues helped out about a year ago, following an encounter with a Forestry guy. I shall quote directly from his post so please excuse the language used.......his English is good, but not brilliant :)


.....On our first search day (we had the intention to dig very carefully), we are deep in the forest when we got caught by a Forestier. A Forestier, is a French forester. Some Forestier has something more judicial powers then the foresters we are used to. Adorned with gun and handcuffs he told us the following:

1. The battlefields of France have been declared to historical sites of the French state;
2. All items in or on the battle fields is owned by the state;
3. Taking something / or picking up is the theft of the French state;

How futile, rusty or trivial picked up the article may be the law condemns it as theft of the French state for which the fines are strict.

However, if they have the impression it has to do with tourists with a purpose other than a 'souvenir' pick is also another law (eg in the Somme, Champagne, Verdun, Meuse and Argonne)

Have in possession:
1. A detector
2. Spades or any digging tools of any kind
3. Parts of or whole ammunition or shell or fuse

Then immediate confiscation of their vehicle until the fine (FF 20,000 / € 3100, -) is payed. The French government is willing to containment of the offender (s) until this decision is respected.


So I am afraid you fell foul of French law and were lucky to get away with a seizure notice.

I still see people posting about how it is ok to dig in France and recover relics. Trust me, it isn't, and the guys that say these things are either DAMN lucky or just dig at night with an IR torch.

Hope that helps