A bayonet and the possible cause of fire revealed!

Today was the 7th day of the battlefield archaeology excavation in Hanko. Work continued with the careful excavation of the floor level of the burnt down shelter where our team encountered several interesting personal items that once belonged to lieutenant Åke Kretz and second lieutenant Sture Stigsson.

Stigsson (left) and Kretz (far right) celebrating the liberation of Hanko in december 1941.
Drone photo of the floor level of the shelter with larger items still ”in situ”. Photo Johan Sarpoma

In the middle of the floor lay a broken storm lamp that probably originally hang in the roof (the red circle in the picture). According to a professional fire investigator who was called to the site today the storm lamp probably fell down and caused the fire. Proof of this can be found in the fact that the floorboards are way more charred around the remains of the lamp than elsewhere.

The fire probably started when the storm lamp fell from the roof (red circle). Photo Jaakko Ervasti.

The most exciting find of the day was a well preserved bayonet in its scabbard that once belonged to second lieutenant Sture Stigsson and was found attached to his backpack near the entrance to the shelter. In the vicinity a Swedish military cap cockade was found, the sole reminder of his cap.

The bayonet that once belonged to secnd lieutenant Sture Stigsson. Photo Jaakko Ervasti.

Cigarette packages, an ink bottle and a bottle of Eau de Cologne or hair lotion can be associated with lieutenant Åke Kretz. The items were found in the remains of his backpack which was placed in the back part of the shelter.

Items that once belonged to SS volunteer second lieutenant Åke Kretz. Photo Jaakko Ervasti.


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