Mystery of Salisbury Plain MG solved

| 12 Oct 2017

The mystery of how a 1930s MG J2 came to rest at a military being excavated by Wessex Archaeology appears to have been solved, as a member of the public has come forward with his recollections of living on the base as a child. 

"As a child, we came to live at Larkhill in the mid-1960s," said Patrick Shannon. "Larkhill was mostly tin huts at that time and the gun park that is now there was not built. I remember the gun pits lined with tin. In the winter they would fill with snow and we would jump in them for fun."

"The camp at the time was open and we could wander anywhere we wanted. Near to our houses were some huts and well behind them, out of view of most people, was an old sports car. It was open top and I think it was red. Our gang of boys used to play in it because it was easy to get into and we would jump in, push it down a hill and push it back up again."

“One day some of the bigger boys decided that the small hill was too tame and decided we would go for the big hill right across the field down towards the sports field. I don't really know how we were ever going to push it back up, but we small boys just did as we were told. The big boys steered and we pushed off with all of us trying to jump in it as it gained speed. As it got faster it hit bumps, things fell off and boys jumped or fell out. I was walking along behind it because I’d fallen off and I saw it go into one of the gun pits and sort of crash in to the side of the pit. No one was hurt and we did try to push it out a few times but we just could not do it so in the pit it stayed. No more rolling it down the hill but we still played in it.

“No one came looking for it and no one even seemed to notice that it was no longer at the back of the huts. Sometime afterwards the old huts were knocked down and the new build started. The old gun pits were filled in and I seem to remember that the car was still in the pit when they filled it in.”

Andy Crockett, Director for the Southern Region at Wessex Archaeology said: "This is a wonderful story, not only of life at the Larkhill camp but a fascinating theory as to how the car may have ended up in the gun emplacement. Sometimes it is a simple explanation that can unlock the key to an archaeological mystery. We are so pleased that Mr Shannon got in touch and has been able to help us piece some of the jigsaw together.”