Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Sandridge Shooting Range - update

Early in the 20th century the rifle range at Beech Bottom was closed and a new shooting range was opened  to the north of Sandridge. At first I thought it may have been used in the First World War but found that the main range in the St Albans area was at Chalk Hill, to the South West of the City. (DETAILS OF BOTH RANGES).

Mike has just written about investigations relating to the Sandridge range, probably more relevant to the Second World War. He say:

My eldest brother remembers seeing army trucks, some trailing field guns going up the old track from the high st to the Butts, this would have been in the 50’s

Also you may be interested to know that I once found (mid 1970s) a dummy mortar round buried in the main backstop mound, (we used to go up there digging bullets from the mound) this was reported and the RLC bomb disposal crew arrived and took it into one of the fields below the butts and blew it up! I had for many years a couple of pieces of shrapnel from it as a keepsake.

There were in fact TWO ranges in the woods, the main one, which had a clear grassy central “ride” from the sheds near the bottom corner extending right up to the butt it’s self, in the woods either side were the slit trenches on both sides at varying distances used for firing.

On the side nearest Fairshot court there was a smaller range (location of the iron post photo) where we used to find 9mm rounds, possibly pistol or automatics maybe.

When it became derelict the sheds at the bottom of the ride were used by Mr Piper, who worked at the wireless station and lived in St Leonards Cres, for keeping chickens, nothing remains of the shed now of course and very little of anything else sadly. 

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