The famous 'Button Hoard'

Looking back now and reflecting on this dig fills me with fond memories, not because of all the amount of finds. It started the ERH tradition with the founding members that finds like this should be shared out. What on earth would I have done with all those buttons if I had taken the lot home. How greedy must some people be to even consider that? However, lets start at the beginning.

It was our first visit to a new site, an old RAF base not a million miles from home. The four of us, Alan, Jay, Pope John and myself wondering along swinging the detectors and finding pretty much nothing. Literally nothing in my case, as it was woodland we started to spread out further and further. I could no longer see Alan or Jay and John was only just visible. I had a signal, a terrible signal but as it was my only one I started digging. I had a small shallow hole when I spotted a lone button. On hands and knees I picked it out the dirt, then noticed another, and another. A quick wipe of the loose spoil revealed more and more. I called to John who came over and I think swore at me. I said he should probably help as there looked to be a lot. The hole was opened right up and items were everywhere...

We started pulling out handful's of buttons, both metal 4 hole, regimental buttons and Bakelite. As well as these was a whole heap of webbing parts and metal dogtags. Of course at the time even we were of the assumption that ALL metal dog-tags were post WW2. Although it would turn out that these were post war, that rumour would be quashed later on. We spotted Jay and Alan in the distance heading vaguely in our direction. we shouted and they came over. Amazed at what was going on, they soon were on hands and knees too plucking out button after button and pilling up into any bag, pouch, cup, available. One of the most useful things that we found in the hole were a pile of army metal plates. We were soon filling those up with buttons and buckles too. At last something different came out the hole, a M1944 Pattern British Army water-bottle. I gave it to Jay, it didn't excite me much. Plus he seems to have a weird thing for water-bottles! Then another item that was different, an RAOC shoulder title, a pencil and a coil of thread were the only items that were not buttons, buckles or dogtags.

We started pulling out handful's of buttons, both metal 4 hole, regimental buttons and Bakelite. As well as these was a whole heap of webbing parts and metal dogtags. Of course at the time even we were of the assumption that ALL metal dog-tags were post WW2. Although it would turn out that these were post war, that rumour would be quashed later on. We spotted Jay and Alan in the distance heading vaguely in our direction. we shouted and they came over. Amazed at what was going on, they soon were on hands and knees too plucking out button after button and pilling up into any bag, pouch, cup, available. One of the most useful things that we found in the hole were a pile of army metal plates. We were soon filling those up with buttons and buckles too. At last something different came out the hole, a M1944 Pattern British Army water-bottle. I gave it to Jay, it didn't excite me much. Plus he seems to have a weird thing for water-bottles! Then another item that was different, an RAOC shoulder title, a pencil and a coil of thread were the only items that were not buttons, buckles or dogtags.

The question was asked what I was going to do with it all. I said something like share it all with you guys, then how? Equally! So it was all carried in bags, pockets, plates and anything else to hand back to the road. We were parked in a tiny country road with what you might just about call a parking space!

Someone got a tarpaulin from their car boot and laid it out on the ground and everything was unceremoniously poured onto it. It looked a very odd sight to say the least.

We all sat around those putting all the regimental buttons in to groups and then splitting into 4 equal piles. All the dog-tags were matched up as most they could and put into piles of 4, the buckles all thrown into 4 piles and then the not much loved Bakelite button lastly put into 4 piles. The plates were again proving very useful in the dividing up process.

The photograph at the bottom was what I kept on display in my house until the police 'stole' them from me. From the photographs show above, you can clearly see the amount of buttons found. I had a 1/4 of that. The plate was never returned at all, the police returned less than 20 buttons to me after they raided my house and stole/destroyed/broke/lost my items.

The bulk of the buttons were RAOC and Army Catering Corps. However, there were such a variety of units, all British Army and no Air-force... after all this was an RAF base! Again, giving us another prime example of nothing ever makes sense in this hobby.

Despite having now pretty much nothing to show for all this relic hunting trip, it still is remembered with such fondness, it was the first ERH Horde and as said above, it started the unwritten rules of how finds would be shared from now on. Even now almost ten years on, we still play by the same rules and those whole can't/don't share our way of sharing simply don't get invited out with us. They may have a day of grabbing everything they can... or find the location of one site that we have taken them too... but they miss out on soooooooo much more in the future :) and who wants to dig with someone who takes 10 of one item when you don't have 1. It just makes digging an unpleasant experience, we're all collectors and I strongly believe, what comes around, goes around. Give and you shall receive and all that shit.

This is only a small part of what we do, a website is simply too small to handle everything. Facebook is where we started, nothing will ever beat its simplicity, powers of communication and ability to share photos, videos and knowledge, "come join us there too".

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