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TOPIC: Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase

Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 02 Aug 2017 11:27 #1

  • WILLIAMARNOLD
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there are many features on the Chace that are poorly mapped on the Chase .The Butts are easily located by the quarter mile long !embankment marked on contemporary maps.The actual site seems to consist of more than one feature in addition to the main Butts presumably cleared of undergrowth and trees relatively recently there is a curving embankment with ditches on both sides one side of which is on the banks of a valley side.

The map is the O.S.inch to the mile sheet published 1953 and the grid square containing the features is Sk990 180
the curving feature this next shot shows the feature in relationship to the main butts that is to the east
the main butts
the bank is made of fine gravel and sand densely packed and would present a hard surface about halfway up the bank can be seen the stumps of squared timbers that run the length of the butts at apparently irregular spacing
the surface is liberaly scattered with ballistic fragments these are the result of about a minutes cursory search in a metre square area(i did not remove them but left them at the site) on a speculative note it some times pays to be carefull when taking notices at a location as the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and perhaps the butts were reused for shooting in the second world war .

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Long ago and far away
Last Edit: by WILLIAMARNOLD. Reason: to remove a double insert

Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 02 Aug 2017 12:41 #2

  • Peter Kirk
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On the 1921/4 OS map they are marked "The old butts", one of a number in the vicinity. I couldn't spot them on 19th Century mapping.

maps.nls.uk/view/102347345
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Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 02 Aug 2017 17:44 #3

  • ColinArmfield
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When shooting had to move from Wimbledon common one of the sites proposed was Cannock chase.
Bisley won out to become the national shooting centre.
Perhaps these remains pre-date WW1.
As you say possibly re-used later, but WW1 or WW2 you will be finding identical Mk VII 303 bullet heads.
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Last Edit: by ColinArmfield.

Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 15 Sep 2017 16:09 #4

  • MartynJ
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Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 15 Sep 2017 17:32 #5

  • Peter Kirk
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They really show up well from that height and angle.
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Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 16 Sep 2017 06:09 #6

  • PETERTHEEATER
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And, they haven't weathered down significantly sothe sand and gravel mix must have bound together.

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Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 16 Sep 2017 08:07 #7

  • Ossington_2008
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How come they are devoid of vegetation? Recently cleared? Something similar near to my home is buried under greenery.

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Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 16 Sep 2017 08:16 #8

  • PETERTHEEATER
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Imported sand and gravel chemically repulsive to local vegetation?

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Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 16 Sep 2017 10:47 #9

  • WILLIAMARNOLD
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Possibly they were cleared when replanting went on ,Martyns excellent drone shots show that the trees in front the firing face are all planted in lines parallel to the face.The fact that on the other face vegetation is growing back suggests that it was possibly cleared before the other face.When i was their the sand and gravel did seem very compacted probably rammed and the survival of the butts is a testament to the skills of the pioneers and military engineers who built it.
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Long ago and far away

Great war rifle butts on Cannock Chase 16 Sep 2017 14:38 #10

  • Sparky67
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The range shown in the WTP blue square were definitely in use in the 1960s, but not shown on the 1930s OS. I believe this one closed in the 1980s. This is where, as a young cadet, I once fired the .303, quite an experience for a skinny 15-year-old, and spent many happy hours (!) pasting patches on the targets in a long concrete walled dug-out just in front of the butts. This where the frames for lowering used and raising repaired targets were operated from. There may be something similar, albeit water-filled, in one of Martyn's photos above? We also had to take turns to stand guard duty on high ground by a quarry some distance behind the butts and warn the range via a field telephone if members of the public were walking across...!! Next time we go there for a walk I will have a look at the butts in the OPs and Martyn's posts.

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