« Back to Finds Posted April 1st, 2011 by Joe W.

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Item Found: Unusual

Location: Pennsylvania

Metal Detector Used: Other (800-0284)

April 1st, 2011

Dear White's Electronics,

First, I'd like to thank you for an excellent product. I've been metal detecting for 2 years with my DFX and absolutely love it. It's allowed me to uncover some fantastic coins and relics that, as an overall history buff, have really made me thrilled with this hobby. So, I thank you!

I'd also like to share a story of one of my more interesting finds. I was detecting off the beaten path in a large wooded area in one of the local parks when I passed my coil over the base of a large tree that had fallen some time ago. As this particular patch of woods had yielded very few targets to this point, I was surprised when I heard a nice, solid tone in my headphones. The VDI was bouncing around a bit (mid-60s to upper 80s if I can recall correctly), but the tone was very strong. Depth was around 4.5 to 5 inches. Thinking that it could be an old coin spill or possible cache, I carefully dug out the plug and was extremely pleased when I caught a glimpse of silver at the bottom of the hole.

However, when I extracted the target, I found myself staring not at a coin but rather a set of sterling silver WWII aerial gunner wings! Saw another target in the hole and pulled out the remains of a marksmanship award. With my curiosity at its peak, I dug an inch or so further and came across the remains of a plastic bag. The bag had been breached and full of dirt and mud, but it was obvious that it contained more items. Took it home and carefully pulled out the contents: in addition to the aerial gunner wings and marksmanship badge, the bag contained a sterling silver uniform name plate, sterling silver military ID bracelet, a smaller set of sterling silver gunner wings (for dress uniform), various uniform patches, a gold-plated ring, a live round of ammunition, a spent shell casing, a pocket knife, a WWII American Campaign ribbon, a lighter made from a 1937 George V English penny, keys, and a leather wallet.

The wallet contained a number of pay stubs dating from the 1950s and the name on them matched the name on the ID bracelet. As this was a rather suspicious find and knowing that stolen items had previously been found hidden in the woods, I turned the items over to the park rangers. After almost a 10-month investigation to locate the gentleman and/or any relatives of his, the park rangers contacted me to say that they had exhausted all possible leads and that since I had found the items, I could now claim them. They returned all the items except for the live ammo round, the pay stubs, and the ID bracelet, as it had the gentleman's serial number on it (identity theft concern). Unfortunately, I had to discard the patches as they had become even moldier than when first discovered and were quickly rotting away.

As someone who has a great deal of respect for all those who serve their country, I felt the best way to honor this gentleman and his service during WWII was to help preserve his memory. So I cleaned the items and placed them in a display case with the hope of donating them to a small, local aviation museum. Hopefully, a better honor than having them slowly corrode away in obscurity out in the woods.

Anyway, thanks again for a great product. I look forward to my next discoveries to help preserve the past!

Joe W. in PA

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