For those followers of 'The Stair' who didn't see Tom Thorbun's very interesting post on the 'Like Warriors' website, he gave me the thumbs up to also post it on 'The Stair' too.
By way of preface, the more mature readers of the blog will recall the army tank which was sited in the lea of the north side of the Pentlands, not far away from the T Woods.
When we were young, many Hunters Tryst Primary School pupils ventured up there, not only to play in the tank, but to also gather used (or unused live ammunition!). Some boys could be seen in Oxgangs and at school walking about with the ammunition proudly on display, until a dictact went out from the school to prevent it from happening, backed up by some police involvement too!
Here's Tom's post:
'The tank was placed up there by my father John Thorburn for firing practice; he worked as an engineer at Redford Barracks and would come home to Firrhill Crescent in a 12 ton Scammel with crane hook at the rear. He would also take us around Colinton Mains in a jeep.
We used to play up at the tank and on one occasion after collecting empty shell rounds, we found a mortar; being about 8 years old at the time we did not realise the danger and carried it down the road,only to be stopped by a police car at a distance and were told to gently lay it down!
We didn't do that again, but I do remember collecting gooseberries from a field near the Edinburgh by-pass and sitting on a large metal object with fins at one end...we ran like hell! Many years later I informed the police of this find and they told me to relocate it and report back. Needless to say I never did as it was a distant memory, but I believe German bombs were jettisoned over the Pentlands as they flew back from Rosyth bombing raids and the like.
The Army practice area is at Flotterstone, Castlelaw Rifle Ranges which I helped to build over a two year contract with the Property Services Agency and the Army. It took me out of the office and into the hills....l loved it but couldn't understand why we had to wear protective hats when the ground was full of unexploded mortar shells underfoot!