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Old 22-11-21, 11:07 AM
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Phil2M Phil2M is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Essex
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Originally Posted by High Wood View Post
I know that feeling very well. My father served in the Second World War in the Home Guard due to having pulmonary T.B. as a child. He was living in Woodmansterne, Surrey at the time and later told me about various incidents that he had witnessed, which included German air raids on Kenley Aerodrome and Croydon Airport. He told me about a huge crater left in a field in Woodmansterne by a German bomber and I can clearly remember cycling over to see the crater with my mate Tony Mitchell when I was about 9 or 10.

Around this time, I found a .303 cartridge on some waste ground by a public footpath and took it home to show my father. He cleaned the end of the cartridge with a wire brush and showed me the date, 1940. That was it for me, my first piece of actual history and I convinced myself that it was fired from a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain.

Like nine years olds do, I took it to school to show my mates and in the playground, a small group of kids had gathered round to see my treasure. The teacher supervising noticed and came over to see what everyone was looking at.

After all these years, I can clearly remember her asking me, "What have you got there?!. I showed her and said that it was a WW2 bullet from a Spitfire. She looked at me and said, "you don't want that" and took it from my hand and threw it over the hedge into the field next door.

I remember going back after school again and again to look for it but I never found it.

If, I had kept the cartridge, I may have got bored and moved onto to other interests, but I honestly think that losing that treasure at such an impressionable age set me off on my endless quest of trying to preserve random pieces of military history.

Either that, or I am on the Autistic Spectrum, as yet undiagnosed.
That reminds me of the cap that my cousin also gave to me. My friend's little brother threw it on to the porch roof and mum refused to get it down for me. It either blew away or the window cleaner stole it, I will never know. It was outside my bedroom window but I was too scared to jump down and get it

I fairly often think back at all the toys, gifts and books etc that got thrown away in my absence. I used to really look after my stuff too. She had a knack for getting rid of the stuff that I liked and/or held sentimental value to me whilst keeping the stuff I had little interest in.

Let's hope the casing your teacher threw over the fence helped somebody else find the collecting bug too.
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