How we became ERH...
This tale starts long before ERH, actually it was probably less than a year, but it was so long ago now that its hard to remember. It all begins on a normal day like every other, I came home from work to my mothers where I was staying after making some bad life choices regarding women! That's a whole other story. When I got in, my mother said that I had a missed a parcel delivery. I was a little confused to say the least as I hadn't ordered anything. A short drive to the post depot and I was present with a large box? Once home I opened it and found a letter congratulating me in coming 2nd in an online competition that I had no recollection of even entering! I had won a metal detector, my first thought were what the hell am I going to do with that, although i soon had visions of digging up treasure. So I had a quick play with it and walked up to a large wood up the road to test it out and see if this was for me. I found plenty of .303s. I have always had an interest in military history and militaria and so this fascinated me, why where they even here?
Once home, I hit the internet in search of any information on this site from its wartime days. I didn't find much at first, but what I did find was that I had now accidentally become a 'relic hunter'. It was on a forum that I met a few like minded folks from a round the world. Although the next significant member in the ERH story would be Steve Taylor although his contribution would in fact not be one of the positive kind. I started to chat to Steve about all sorts of different things. He had been relic hunting for a while and had a great USAAF site (RAF/USAAF KINGS CLIFFE contact me for locations of the site and the dumps, its been heavily dug, but you never know, you may get lucky) he was digging regular. About the same time I got talking to a guy who wanted to get into the hobby. I explained I was new myself, but had found a site and asked if he wanted to come and dig with me. Jay said yes and it turns out luckily that he didn't live to far away from me.
Jay and I dug this site for years, finding all types of WW2 small arms cartridges and a small assortment of coins. The best things to come from this camp for me where the hug amounts of zinc Mills basenuts. I invited Steve and a couple of others I met online to all come to this site one day. Jay suggested that we should set up a proper group for relic hunting, nope not ERH. After the day was done, Steve informed us that we had a section of the forum we met on, that was now secured by a password and it was all for us. He claimed the chairman spot for himself, or as Jay joked one day the 'dictator spot as you actually vote in a chairman. We went out to a few sites, first of all was Steve's USAAF site, where I was specifically told not to find a dog-tag or complete Coke bottle as Steve had found neither. I found both, as far as I know it has been the only one to be fond from that dump. (all the text has been reworded to tell the truth, as Steve is still slagging me off behind my back telling lies. Also, "no Steve, you didn't give me that crappy PIAT trigger") Steve soon became unbearable with his overbearing rules and moronic blindly led sheep that would back him to the end... reminds me a little like the senior leaders of the Third Reich in the closing days of World War. In the time I was there I saw the group turn on several members, mainly because of some farcical rule that was invented simply because the leadership wanted rules. One that stands out is "you can't sell anything from our group digs", someone was 'caught' doing this and given a stern talking too. Then the leader him self was restoring items and selling them. Following on from this, I was tasked with buying a gazebo that we could display the groups finds with at War & Peace and told that the group would sell items like these restored M1 Vickers/Browning Water cooling chest to pay for it. Needless to say, I never go reimbursed for my costs and even me mentioning it was met with hostility. If you dared post a photograph of anything could be live, even when its clearly marked DRILL or is clearly an inert item then expect your virtual ears to ring for weeks and don't think it will just be Steve that has a word, his entourage will all back the lead horse and try and gather Steve's favour by all barking the same tune he beats out with his drum. I had enough of this dictatorship and frankly poor mediocre group. Everything that was promised never materialised, so I made them kick me, because you couldn't just leave that forum, you had to make them kick you.
However time progressed forwards Jay and I meanwhile, had met and teamed up with a guy named Alan. Alan being the other founding pillar to ERH. The three of us were now inseparable and were searching far and wide and having great successes. However ERH was only born when we made a F/B group and the name was born at random. The main reason for F/B was the ease at which we could share data and photographs and plan future digs and potential leads. We were soon digging every weekend, then every Saturday and Sunday and the finds were simply getting more and more incredible. We did invite along some members from Steve's group, with the understanding that we would invite them to one of our sites if they returned the favour. So John and Adrian came and dug an old site with us that at the time we were getting some amazing finds. Teller mines and fuzes, Mills grenades, PIAT fuzes and cases, British Army Insignia.. all real interesting mix of ordnance related items from a huge training area. John took home several Mills and all the Teller Mines we dug and didn't take home... at least 10 and Adrian took home a practice PIAT, not the crappy one that is the practice projectile type, but an empty PIAT round and he also had a least one nice white Mills (which he was so worried about he dumped it a canal! What a waste)... needless to say that we never got invited to any of Johns sites and I never even saw Adrian ever again, he had some information he could have helped me with but never answers email either. This should have been our first warning, not to invite others to sites with us. However they are welcome to go back and dig it now, think we are done with that old place now.
Soon other relic hunters that we had met asked if they could join our group and see what we were finding. The next thing we knew we had over a 100 members... A few of which over the years have joined us on hunts and have also share some of our great success as you will see. John 'Pope Mobile' Drage and Terry .303 Luck being two of the most regular to have joined us and then later faded away over the years.
We soon had a good collection of different sites to search on, Army, RAF and USAAF bases, Army training grounds, Grenade ranges, and huge Military camps with dumps the sizes of football pitches, but the most exciting for us were some of the PoW camps! These led to some amazing finds...