Man Discovers WWII-Era Submachine Guns While Magnet Fishing

Photo Credit: Reg Speller / Fox Photos / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Reg Speller / Fox Photos / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

A 50-year-old from the United Kingdom has discovered six World War II-era submachine guns while magnet fishing in a canal near the site of the former Royal Ordnance Depot in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire.

STEN Mk II on a white table
STEN Mk II. (Photo Credit: Grzegorz Pietrzak / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Nigel Lamford was using a special fishing magnet capable of lifting over a ton of metal when he made the discovery on January 9, 2022. He first pulled the magazine, gun and stock of one of the STEN Mk II firearms from the water, before reassembling the weapon and pulling out five more.

“A find like that was the best find ever, in my opinion,” he told Wales Online.

The STEN Mk II was one of the most widely-used submachine guns by the British Army during WWII, thanks to its simple design and low production costs. Over two million were produced.

Members of the French Resistance examining firearms on a table
Members of the French Resistance study the mechanism and maintenance of weapons dropped by parachute in the Haute Loire. They include a STEN Mk II, Ruby, Colt and Le Francois pistols, and Colt and Bulldog revolvers. (Photo Credit: Keystone / Getty Images)

Lamford is no stranger to finding historical military weapons while magnet fishing, having previously discovered knives, artillery shells, grenades and 18th century flintlock muskets.

“I’ve recovered about 61 guns now, in total,” he said. “You don’t get many very often, but the place we were dredging was the UK’s biggest ordnance depot for 150 years, so it goes right back to Napoleonic times. You obviously can’t have the weapons in the UK, though, so they are always surrendered to police to be destroyed, or given away to museums to clean up.”

After posing with the firearms, they were taken away to a military museum to be restored. According to Lamford, they’re likely worth around £1,000 and could be fired once cleaned.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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