A father and son from Somerset, UK made a surprising discovery while dredging a local river for scrap with a magnet. They pulled up parts from dozens of rifles, pistols, machine guns and shotguns.
Neil Hopkins and his son Billy’s rusted haul included parts from an AK, two M16s, an M1 Garand, a Bren gun, a Lee-Enfield Rifle No.4, several StG-44s and a number of older pistols and bolt action rifles. It took the pair 4 hours to pull up the guns from the river they were dredging Grey Lake, Kingsweston Sluice, near Street in Somerset. Take a look at the photos below and see what you can identify:
Over 30 gun parts were found, a quick scan of the photos shows everything from pocket pistols to what looks like the butt stock from an M1919A6 light machine gun. One photo shows the Hopkins’ attempt to piece together some of the weapons, inadvertently creating an AK-Lee-Enfield hybrid and a StG-BAR mutant.
This isn’t the first time the river has given up its secrets, back in 2015 and even larger cache of weapons was dredged up by kids. Parts from some 80 weapons were found including everything from MG42s to Czech Vz.25 submachine gun and a BAR.
Billy collected the guns and showed them off to friends in his garden before handing them over to local police. A dive team from Avon and Somerset Police then took over the salvage operation finding even more weapons.
As always the British press are blissfully ignorant when it comes to firearms and inevitably make a number of mistakes about the firearms present. One article describes an M16 as the IRA’s favourite weapon nicknamed the ‘widowmaker’, confusing it with the AR18. Another suggests the guns came from a nearby WWII weapons factory – when its clear that half the guns date from after the war.
As for where the guns came from and how they ended up at the bottom of the river there are a number of theories. The local police suggested they dated from WWII, while Mr Hopkins believed they might have been dumped by the IRA or terrorists. Due to the scope and breadth of the collected weapons I think the most likely origin of the weapons is an illegal private collection. It is likely that as Britain’s firearms laws changed the collection of live, and in many cases full-auto, firearms became to hot too handle and the collector sadly disposed of their guns in the local river.