German war relic is rescued from the waste skips

  |  Published: Apr 18th 2015
The picture shows Carl Baker of the County Council with Sue Rance of the Hospice.
The picture shows Carl Baker of the County Council with Sue Rance of the Hospice.

A German range finder, possibly used to target Allied tanks during the Second World War, has been rescued from the rubbish skips and handed over to a unique museum. 

The field telescope, which allowed soldiers to measure shooting distance on the battlefield, was brought in to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) at Bledlow Ridge by a member of the public. 

The HWRC is managed on behalf of the Council by FCC Environment, and staff at the centre spotted the rare item and handed it to the South Bucks Hospice which runs charity re-use shops at two HWRCs in Buckinghamshire.   

Hospice staff then donated it to the Lincolnsfields Children's Centre in Bushey, Watford, which hosts a large collection of World War II memorabilia. They also donated a tripod, believed to have been from the same person, as well as a large British radio transmitter which had also been handed in at the Bledlow site. 

Phil Knight, a trustee of the children’s centre, said: “It was brilliant. We do receive quite a few donations, but to get something like this was very good. It is something unusual for children to see and to be able to hold when they visit our site. In a lot of museums, everything is behind glass, but here, you can pick things up.”

He was unable to estimate the value of the items, but said a lot of memorabilia ended up in army and navy shops after the war.

The range finders were essential instruments on the battlefield. “If you are going to fire at a tank, you need to know the distance,” he said.

Sue Rance, manager of the South Bucks Hospice re-use shop at Aston Clinton, said: “The field telescope came in to the household waste recycling centre at Bledlow at the end of last year. Staff at the site saw a person getting out of a car with it and brought it to us. I had never seen one before. It was in a case and in such good condition that we decided to donate it to a museum.”

Gurbaksh Badhan, Head of Waste Management at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “This is a fantastic example of how well our household waste recycling centres are operating. It would have been all too easy for this wartime memorabilia to be lost forever in a landfill, but we work with our contractors FCC Environment to ensure we keep an eagle eye out for anything that can be recycled and re-used.

“It’s crucial for us that we reduce the amount of waste being thrown into the ground, and we do everything we can do to avoid this. The recycling rate in Buckinghamshire is now around 54 per cent, meaning for the first time we recycle or re-use more than we throw away.

“The good news is that things should only improve next year when we open a new energy from waste plant at Greatmoor which will convert household waste into electricity and mean we reduce the need of landfill even further.”

•        The Lincolnsfield Centre in Bushey is open to the public on the last Sunday of every month, apart from December:

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