Traces of World War II still remain to be seen, and found in Plymouth
"content over style"
Shrapnel in Rocks, Bomb damage to buildings, Gas Mask dump, Rifle Range
Having done these web pages for sometime now, I have met many folks from all around the world. It's very cool to know that so many people have read my stuff and its helped them at school or whatever.
Around about Easter 2002, I had a phone call from Pete Bishop of Witney, Oxon, UK, saying how he and his young daughter Chantelle were interested in hidden aspects of Plymouth's history, particularly World War II, Pete having lived in Plymouth in the past and often spending the family summer holidays here.
Also his daughter wanted to find something, a tangible relic of the past....so here we go...my partner Karen and I took them on a local history safari!
One of the best remaining unspoilt bits of bomb damage to a building is the wall of HM Dockyard where it adjoins North Corner. Shifting along to the walls of what was Devonport Hospital, it's easy to see several hit marks caused by the impact of exploding bomb fragments. This sort of damage can always be identified by the radial crack lines emanating out from the centre. Just across the road from here and a hundred metres or so along in the direction of the Dockyard, we can see the cemented over stairwell of Morice Square Underground Air Raid Shelter........Marlborough Street Junior School is in the background. Similar shelters are found throughout Plymouth, these examples are in Devonport Park, the give away is the angle of the grass slope.
....for more on air raid shelters, check out my main page, see link at base of this page.
In the Stoke area, the rail over bridge at Garfield Terrace shows some cracking examples of bomb damage, holes blasted straight through the solid steel of the rail bridge...not a healthy place at one time!!...sort of the wrong place at the wrong time...
Down by the Torpoint Ferry, on the Plymouth side, it's still possible to see a lampost painted in a "Black Out" paint scheme.
GAS MASK DUMP
Sometime after the end of the Second World War, the ARP must have decided to dump all the gas masks/respirators and accessories that they no longer could see a use for. It's in a small disused quarry near Bottle Hill at Plympton, near Newnan Car Spares, ...just go up the road from the spares yard, park close to it..I park were road bends to right, you can squeeze a car in here, then walk up the hill for 1-2 mins, then its on your left.
Rubber hoses, filter canisters, glass eye units, Anti-Gas Ointment, and Anti Eye Piece Misting Cloth Tins all abound, many just lying around, others juts an inch or two below the ground.
SHRAPNEL IN THE ROCKS
Go down to Devils Point at Stonhouse, Plymouth, and walk left past the Tea Kiosk. Its only a few minutes walk with Nazareth House on your left, as the road comes to an end, it's a place called Eastern Kings, look for a "pill box" type bunker building, fenced off on your right...its a Naval de-gaussing station....just find a safe way down to the rocks...its easy, a popular fishing place.
Looking in the low tide rocks under this bunker thingy, for say 100 meters either side of it, in the cracks in the limestone you will find rusty shrapnel..honest...whether you can get it out or not is another story. Most times it will powder, but I have found 2 really good pieces about 3 inches long, most is just a centimeter or so...try looking in the grassy areas that affront on to the rocks, heavy weather can wash it out...oh..and its best on a dull day as the bright sun makes the rocks glare in your eyes and the crack sooty black.You have got to get close to look, inches away at most.
Not wartime, but far earlier, but of great interest is the old musket range at the Mount Batten end of Jennycliff Beach. Park in the large free public car park at Jennycliff, cross the road, walk in toward Plymouth by the rear of the cafe, follow the path as it goes between the bushes, and eventually you'll see this view, then walk too the hedge on the mid-background, ...see the guy who is walking the dog, his head is on the hedge....then go left parallel to the hedge, keep close, then as it disappears into the bushes above the beach, walk into the bushes along a very overgrown track, it then descends, hold on to the rope, get onto the rocks, walk along the rocks at low tide until you see this hole, and look in the areas around it, in rock pools, under stones, in cracks....etc, etc. Keep within 10 meters or so of the cliff, don't go too far out toward the sea..
You'll see a lot of crushed lead, mangled, well its a mix of musket ball, snider, Minnie and Martini Henry bullet, and also bits of full metal jacketed early marks of .303....just hunt for a good one, you need an hour or two, watch out for the tide and don't get your hand stuck in a rock hole...and bingo!! The large Snider, Minnie and Martini Henrys really make a good lead mushroom when they hit the rocks all those years ago. The Butts are very hidden in the bushes above. If you look in the winter you can see them, and get into them and see all the target winding gear.
As advances were made from Black Powder to smokeless powder - cordite, and the move from Martini-Henry to .303 made - the range of the bullets increased by far, so the range had to move to the flat areas at the very top of the cliff, adjacent to Staddon Fort - now a golf course -where a huge Butt wall may be seen, along with the firing position humps for the soldiers to lay on while shooting. I have done a seperate page on this area, check out my main page at the link below.
That's all for this page, check out my main history pages here: www.cyber-heritage.co.uk