Beachcombing reveals a pressure switch
Itís good to see that this website has helped in a bit of practical research. Simon Parsons and David Blair have recently copied me in on their conversation about Simonís interesting holiday find.
As can be seen from the photos, this swich is perfectly safe. However, there's quite a lot of stuff buried that isn't so please use your common sense if you do go digging around.
I go on holiday to a camp site on the Ardnamurchan peninsular, which was a training base for D-Day. A beach nearby was used for assault training for D-Day and there's always little boys (and not so little ones) digging around in the sand dunes for bullet cases and bits of shrapnel. This year a lad came up to me with what seems to be a Booby Trap Pressure Switch (as described in Geoffrey Bradfordís article). It's in good condition, but used, which implies that it wasn't attached to anything else when it was set off.
Apart from a fortnight in a bath of rain water to leech out the salt from
the rusty bits, I haven't done much to it. It was found with the pressure
pad still in it but by the time it got to me they'd "Unscrewed"(!) it so I
have no idea if it was still attached to anything or if the trigger had been
fired or not.
This type of device was commonly used and some 2.25 million produced during the war. Various units had access to this and other similar devices, including Auxunits. The area in question was used by Beach Signals units and Special Boat sections as well as Royal Marine Commandos. The one you found probably was part of a Commando unit training there, and being trained to use such devices before embarking on active service The device was also used in the European theatre by Resistance groups and for being left behind as a 'Booby Trap' to cause damage and destruction to the enemy. It required only 30-40 pounds of pressure to activate the striker rod and set off the device attached to it.
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