WW2 Treasure Hunters pairs Britain’s foremost amateur WW2 detectorist with Madness frontman Suggs, as they uncover historical finds from across the UK. To mark the series we spoke to Suggs himself to find out more about the series.
HISTORY: What first attracted you to the concept of the show?
Suggs: The money… Joking! I thought it was a very interesting concept and a unique idea, mixing archeology, metal detection, history and social history. The idea that we were going to find out personal experiences from individuals made it all a very visceral experience.
Do you remember people talking about World War Two when you were growing up?
My grandfather was in Burma, but unfortunately, he wasn’t around for long enough for me to talk to him about. So not really, I don’t have any specific family member who was involved apart from my grandfather.
After doing the series how has your opinion on WW2 and its legacy in the UK changed?
Well we all know the headlines of WW2, but this has been all about understanding the detail, of what really went on for the individuals. Those involved were primarily kids, that’s what struck me most. Also, the responsibility of what happened and the complexity of what happened. D-Day itself, where 180 thousand boys went. That was the crux of what would have changed society completely as we know it. Without being a boring old fart, it’s about having respect for those boys who sacrificed all of that.
What was the most interesting piece of treasure you found?
For me, it was a dog tag. This old rusty dog tag that looked like you couldn’t possibly read the name on it. We took it down to an X-Ray specialist. It was a fantastic moment when he X-rayed it and you could see this name and his address in New York. To think that this was a kid who was here. Thousands of Americans came over, these kids from Arizona from California they’d never been outside of America. Suddenly they were dumped in Norfolk in two foot of snow with no idea of what was coming. We managed to trace the dog tag back to one of his grandkids which is a fantastic end to the story.
Which WW2 song, White Cliffs of Dover or Run Rabbit Run?
White Cliffs of Dover!
And finally, will you be buying a metal detector?
(Laughs) Well, there is one scene in the show where I got involved with the metal detector and I found something on the first go! I found this fantastic little badge, a tiger, from a cap from a regiment in Leicester. It was a thrilling moment which almost got me to the point of wanting to be a detector, but I don’t think so.