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Springfield Farm, Belgium
The Anzacs worked their way past this strongpoint and along the road towards the ridge in the Battle of Broodseinde Ridge. I met Michel Taillien, the owner of Springfield Farm. He showed me three shells (one that was still possibly live) that had come from a small ploughed field the day before. The farmers are constantly reminded that their farms were once in a war zone as even after 90 years the detritus of war is still being unearthed. Michel took me on a circuitous route around the ridge looking for old German bunkers. It seems that the ridge lines are covered in deep buried bunkers, but it is not possible to see them as they are now underneath ploughed fields, farms and houses.

It is easy to tell English shells from German shells. Both are made of heavy, thick steel, but the English ones have a much prized heavy copper nose cap, while the German nose caps are made of steel. The nose cap usually contained a fuse and some have a rotating dial which enabled the timing of the fuse to be set. Both types of shells have a prized copper driving band. This is a ring of copper located towards the bottom of the shell. It is slightly thicker than the steel case and grips on the rifling of the gun barrel when it is fired. This causes the shell to spin in flight making it more stable and able to travel further with greater accuracy. The rifling leaves ridges on the driving band on fired shells.


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Peter Morrissey 2009