Shouldn’t Someone Look For Jo & His Crew?

At precisely thirty-five minutes past eleven on the night of January 23rd 1944 it was bloomin’ chilly and, if you were still up and outside, you would have been able to see the warm plumes of your breath in the cold, still night air. A fine sparkling frost coated the countryside and the occasional cock pheasant called from the numerous small copses in the locality. If you lived in or near the village of Shingay in Cambridgeshire and you looked up into the night sky you might well have wondered what that aeroplane was doing just circling round and round. Exactly two minutes later, making the time now eleven thirty seven, you would have witnessed the aeroplane – or at least heard it – enter a very steep dive. After a few seconds, hearing the engines start to scream, you might have thought “come on guys pull out of that.” At eleven thirty eight it would have become clear that the steep dive had been terminal for both aircraft and anyone inside it as a colossal explosion shook the window panes in local houses and a massive billowing orange fireball lit up the surrounding countryside. Read more of this post

A Shattered Spinner

Shattered SpinnerOn the dark and drizzly night of April 8th 1941 the dull throbbing of enemy aircraft could be heard high up in the skies over many areas of Eastern and Southern England. Their target for that night was to be Coventry and the Luftwaffe was using the X and Y Verfahren beams to guide their bombers, as well as the beam system known as Knickebein. The Germans had also developed an aerial unit known as KGr 100 who acted as Pathfinders. Read more of this post

Not For The Grot Box

GrotSome people would definitely call this coin a ‘Grot.’ Perhaps if it were Roman they would be correct although, having said that, calling any 2000-year-old coin a Grot may be a tad derogatory. However I digress and – to be clear – this coin isn’t a Roman issue anyway. It’s black in colour, which means the silver has oxidised. You can also see that it has been burned, which is not part of normal oxidisation. Read more of this post

Guest Post: Junkers 88G6 Nightfighter – Julian Evan-Hart

Tip of a propeller hub from a Junkers 88G6

In March and April towards the end of World War Two, the German Luftwaffe launched a hopeless last ditch effort to attack RAF and American bombers returning from raids. It was a foolish but nonetheless brave effort that involved ‘Junkers’ – twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that were super fast and versatile and could be used to attack any model of fighter plane. This artefact is the extreme tip of a spinner recovered from the Suffolk crash site of a Junkers 88G6, at that time Germany’s most advanced state of the art night fighter.  Read more of this post

10 Things that happened on this day in History… May 24th

We love our History, and we love to find out about interesting facts or events that happened on this very day back through the years. We picked 10 interesting things that occurred on this day throughout history, along with a handful of births and deaths.

Swat up on your facts take a few minutes to think back on how this day might have been once…

Can you think of any interesting things that happened on this day in History?

1218 – The Fifth Crusade leaves Acre for Egypt

1830 – The story Mary Had a Little Lamb is first published.

1883 – The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is opened to traffic.

1895 – Henry Irving becomes the first person in the world of theatre to get a knighthood.

1915 – Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary in World War I

1943 – In the Holocaust Josef Mengele arrives at Auschwitz as Chief Medical Officer.

1956 – The first ever Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland.

1962 – U.S astronaut Scott Carpenter orbits the Earth three times as part of Project Mercury

1976 – Concorde first goes from London to Washington D.C

1994 – The four men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in New York a year earlier are sentenced to 240 years in prison.


15 BC – Roman Commander Julius Caesar Germanicus

1819 – Queen Victoria I

1941 – Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan

1965 – Actor John C. Reilly

1966 – Manchester United legend Eric Cantona

1973 – TV Presenter Dermot O’Leary


1984 – Vincent J. McMahon – founder of the WWF (now WWE)

1995 – Harold Wilson, politician and ex-Prime Minister

2010 – Musician and bassist from Slipknot Paul Gray

What are your memories of May 24? Let us know and comment below or on the Joan Allen Facebook page.

10 Things that happened on this day in History… May 10th

We love our History, and we love to find out about interesting facts or events that happened on this very day back through the years. We picked 10 interesting things that occurred on this day throughout history, along with a handful of births and deaths.

Swat up on your facts take a few minutes to think back on how this day might have been once…

Can you think of any interesting things that happened on this day in History?


1497 – Amerigo Vespucci leaves Cadiz on a voyage to find the New World


1774 – Marie Antoinette becomes Queen of France


1824 – The National Gallery in London opens to the public


1924 – J. Edgar Hoover becomes the Director of the FBI… and never steps down


1940: Germany invades as the Nazi’s claim the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in WWII.


1940: Winston Churchill is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


1941: Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try and negotiate peace between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany… and was immediately imprisoned.


1954: The birth of rock and roll, as Bill Haley & His Comets “Rock Around the Clock” reaches number one in the US.


1994: Nelson Mandela becomes the first black president of South Africa.


2002: Former FBI Agent Robert Hanssen sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for selling US secrets.



1899: World-renowned dancer Fred Astaire


1957: Bassist in The Sex Pistols – Sid Vicious


1960: Bono, frontman of U2


1968: Al Murray, comedian


1969: Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp



1566: Botanist Leonhart Fuchs


1774: King Louis XV of France


1977: Actress Joan Crawford


1994: John Wayne Gacy – US serial killer


2006: Director Val Guest


On this day in History, May 4th…

We love our History, and we love to find out about interesting facts or events that happened on this very day back through the years. We picked 10 interesting things that occurred on this day throughout history, along with a handful of births and deaths.

Swat up on your facts take a few minutes to think back on how this day might have been once…

Can you think of any interesting things that happened on this day in History?

1471 Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury: Edward IV defeats a Lancastrian Army and kills Edward, Prince of Wales.

1493 Spanish Pope Alexander VI divides America between Spain and Portugal along the Line of Demarcation.

1675 King Charles II of England orders the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

1776 Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to declare independence from England & King George III.

1799 Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: The Battle of Seringapatam: The siege of Seringapatam ends when the city is invaded and Tipu Sultan killed by the besieging British army, under the command of General George Harris.

1818 Netherlands and England sign treaty against illegal slave handling.

1904 The United States begins construction of the Panama Canal.

1919 May Fourth Movement: Student demonstrations take place in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, protesting the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred Chinese territory to Japan.

1945 World War II: Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg is liberated by the British Army.

World War II: The North Germany Army surrenders to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


1008 King Henry I of France

1974 Tony McCoy, Northern Irish National Hunt jockey

1985 Ravinder Bopara, English cricketer

1989 Rory McIlroy, Northern Irish golfer

2009 Prince Henrik of Denmark, Danish royalty


1471 Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales (killed in battle).

1471 Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, English military commander (executed).

1972 Edward Calvin Kendall, American chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

1938 Carl von Ossietzky, German pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

1903 Gotse Delchev, a revolutionary from the Balkans – leader of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization.

Mud Men Final Episode: A Poland Special…Poland and The Second World War

Mud Men, you either love it or you hate it, and we firmly sit in the Love camp! The series follows members of the Mudlarks Society as they hunt for items on the River Thames foreshore that may have changed the course of history. The series is presented by Johnny Vaughan and Steve “Mud God” Brooker, chairman of the Mudlarks Society…

Last weeks final special Polish episode of Mud Men features a Minelab E-Trac, Fisher F75 Special Edition and other Joan Allen bits all loaned by Joan Allen Metal Detectors!

One thing that particularly struck us after watching the final show was Poland’s relationship with the Second World War… I suppose we didn’t really appreciate a, their involvement and b, that the Polish lived in constant fear and endured the most severe wartime occupation conditions in modern European history.

I guess we also overlook at times that Polish Squadrons played an important role in the Battle of Britain, accounting for 12% of all German aircraft destroyed at the cost of 33 lives. By the end of the war Poland had flown a total of 86,527 sorties, lost 1669 men and shot down 500 German planes and 190 V1 rockets.

Now we aren’t attempting to give people a History lesson here, and we are by no means assuming authority on the subject, we are merely wishing to express our respect towards the Polish state and acknowledge the pain it went through; like many people did.

Poland and The Second World War:

After an unsuccessful First World War campaign and a German national resentment to peace terms, Hitler began driving a new German war machine across Europe in 1939.

Hitler subsequently invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939, hurling the majority of Germanys armed forces at it’s eastern neighbour; with this event considered the catalyst of World War II; the most devastating period in the history of Poland.

Based on existing guarantees of security, Britain and France declared war two days later, but they gave no effective assistance to their ally.

Mid-September saw Warsaw surrounded, despite stout resistance by outnumbered Polish forces. The Soviet Union then administered the cherry on the cake by invading from the east on September 17. For the next five years, Poland endured an environment of constant fear but with staggering courage.

6 million people, over 15% of Poland’s population perished between 1939 and 1945. The war not only claimed an unquantifiable amount of lives, it also left much of Poland in ruins; inflicting emotional and physical scars.

Hans Frank said, “If I wanted to put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not suffice to produce the paper for such posters.”

The Germans declared their intention of wiping out the Polish race alongside the Jews, by a process otherwise known as the “Holocaust.” This process was carried out systematically, as with all things German, with all members of the ‘intelligentsia’ hunted down in order to destroy Polish culture and leadership.

2000 concentration camps were built in Poland, which became the major site of the extermination programme, since this was where most of the intended victims lived. Polish Jews were herded into Ghettos and slowly starved, with non-jewish Poles either transported to Germany for slave labour or simply executed.

Never Give Up

Poland was the only country to combat Germany from the first day of the Polish invasion until the end of the war in Europe. Despite everything, the Polish Army, Navy and Air Force reorganised abroad and continued to fight the Germans. In fact they have the distinction of being the only nation to fight on every front in the War.

In 1940 they fought in France, in the Norwegian campaign they earned a reputation for bravery at Narvik, and in Africa the Carpathian Brigade fought at Tobruk.

A major contribution to the Allied side in the 1930s came from the Polish intelligence personnel. Polish agents had secured information on the top-secret German code machine, Enigma, and experts aided the British in using this information to intercept Hitler’s orders to German military leaders.

In Poland itself, resistance to the German regime came from The Home Army (Armia Krajowa), which operated under direction of the London government-in-exile. The Home Army became one of the largest and most effective underground movements of World War II and was the backbone of a network of genuine Polish institutions and cultural activities.

By 1944 it had claimed 400,000 members, commanding wide-spread popular support. The Home Army conducted a vigorous campaign of sabotage and intelligence gathering, as a means of social defence against the invaders…