WW2 Treasure Hunters series 2: episodes
Episode 1: WW1 Special (Morn Hill)
To commemorate the armistice at the end of WW1 in 1918, Suggs and Stephen dig for evidence of Britain’s largest ever military camp at Morn Hill in Winchester where over 2 million men passed through on their way to the trenches of Northern Europe. Little is known about the camp beyond a 1919 map and the team are hoping to discover new evidence of how the camp was run and the lives of the men who passed through. Watch it 12 November.
Suggs discovers how troops arrived in the winter of 1914 from all over the Empire dressed in tropical uniform and pith helmets as they prepared for battle and he learns how to fire a Lee Enfield rifle and experiences the number one field punishment dished out to Tommies who had had one beer too many in the pubs of Winchester. Meanwhile, Stephen and his team unearth a wealth of finds from cap badges and condom tins to mysterious little wheels.
Stephen also redraws the map of the camp when he discovers the ruins of long-forgotten WW1 camp buildings. Suggs heads to Belgium to see the continuing legacy of the trenches and Stephen finally returns the 100-year-old set of dog tag, cap badge and shoulder flash from a British soldier to his great-niece.
Episode 2: Hull Blitz
Stephen Taylor and Suggs are up to their knees in mud in Lincolnshire as they dig up the remains of a Boulton Paul Defiant plane, one of our best night-time fighter planes, shot down by the Luftwaffe during the Hull Blitz. As Stephen and the team dig up the plane and its famous Merlin engine, they discover that although it landed upside down, both pilot and gunner escaped unhurt. Meanwhile, Suggs discovers how the Hull Blitz was kept secret by the government to keep up morale despite over 95% of Hull’s houses being hit before finding out more about the little known Defiant- a forgotten marvel of British engineering. He invites pilot 'Sandy' Ballantine’s daughter, Christine to the dig who, armed with a wealth of documents, reveals how Sandy ended up landing at Gold beach on D Day before being mortally wounded two weeks later. Stephen has found the exact location where he died under German attack and in an emotional visit, takes Christine there for the very first time.
Episode 3: Top Secret Arms Depot
In Weedon Bec Suggs and Stephen unearth a wealth of WW2 relics from a hoard of ammunition cans to parts of Sten and Bren guns as they uncover the very secret past of a huge, top secret, arms supply depot which, unknown to many, played a pivotal role in winning us the war. It was the starting point for the longest supply chain in British military history for Monty’s famous 8th Army in North Africa where he was taking on Rommel ‘the Desert Fox’ at El Alamein. While Suggs gets to grips with Bren and Sten guns at the National Defence Academy and discovers how to camouflage a whole arms depot, Stephen climbs out of his hole and drives a British Army Sherman tank- the backbone of Monty’s campaign before finally donating a rare ammunition can to the restoration of an M3 Lee tank at Armourgeddon.
Episode 4: Spitfire
Treasure Hunters Suggs and Stephen Taylor are on the trail of an iconic Mark IX Spitfire in Belgium. Joining Belgium’s top plane hunters, Stephen sets about uncovering the remains of the Spitfire that was shot down while accompanying RAF bombers attacking Nazi trains just before D Day in 1944. Among the finds uncovered are the plane’s radio, the plane’s huge cannon and the pilot’s lucky crow mascot. Meanwhile, Suggs sets out to find out more about the fate of the Czech pilot, Arnost Mrtvy, and discovers how the Czech pilots joined the RAF and provided a fierce and skilled fighting force against the Nazis. His investigations into Arnost’s fate after he parachuted out of his plane lead him to discover the dark story of the local SS troops.
Episode 5: Forgotten Bomber
The WW2 Treasure Hunters are in Northern France looking for the remains of an RAF Fairey Battle bomber plane shot down during the forgotten days after Dunkirk as the remaining British and French forces fought to prevent the Nazis sweeping through France. The pilots are buried in the village and honoured annually by the locals but no one has ever worked out why the plane and its crew were shot down when there were no enemy planes around. Stephen and his team look for remaining parts of the plane while Suggs uncovers what they were doing in France and his detective work in France and Britain leads the pair to uncover the Fairey Battle’s fate… at the hands of a French plane piloted by Polish pilots who tragically mistook the British for Germans.
Episode 6: Pathfinder
The WW2 Treasure Hunters are in Little Staughton in Cambridgeshire on the site of a former Pathfinders Force airbase. Suggs and Stephen are looking for evidence of this elite flying force who changed the course of our aerial bombing campaign but whose exploits were so vital they were kept top secret.
While Stephen and his team dig up remarkable relics from Mosquito planes and evidence of the flare bombs the Pathfinders used to light the way for nighttime bombing raids, he stumbles across the remains of an abandoned bomb carrier and loading bay which he has to put to the test!
Suggs discovers the remarkable history of the Pathfinders and climbs aboard a Lancaster plane to learn how tricky night time navigation was and how an ingenious WW2 navigation technology called Oboe revolutionized our success at night time flying against the Germans. He learns about the bravery of the Pathfinder pilots and how their technology and accuracy changed the course of the aerial war. Meanwhile back at the dig, Stephen discovers an underground air control HQ sitting in the middle of a field that was so top secret that it was never added to the official maps.
Episode 7: D-Day Dress Rehearsal
In 1944 the south west of England was packed with American troops training for D Day and Suggs and Stephen are on a mission to discover more about this friendly invasion. Digging at a stately home the team find plenty of evidence of the American troops’ training including the rooms where they were billeted, unchanged since 1944 and Suggs learns about how the GIs made themselves at home before discovering the intense and dangerous training the troops were put through on the beaches of North Devon. Stephen drives a half-track tank used on D Day as he discovers more about the wealth of military kit and vehicles that the Americans brought with them. Their investigations lead the pair to discover the story of the black American support troops, segregated even in here Britain. Stephen digs for evidence of their stay on the site of their long-lost former camp and finds the discarded mess tin of Private Sylvester Johnson who, he discovers, survived D Day and who went on to fight in the Ardennes- the first time black soldiers were allowed to fight.