Cold War, News, WW2

Magnet Fisherman Pulls Rare German WW2 Pistol from Canal

  • Magnet fisherman James Pearson discovered a flare gun from the Union Canal.
  • In 2021, the magnet fisherman had found a semi-automatic World War Two rifle.
  • The East Lothian man explores responsibly, turning in all potentially dangerous finds to the police.

Magnet fisherman James Pearson, aged 46, lives in Musselburgh, East Lothian, in Scotland. He has made headlines on several occasions for discovering historical artefacts. In his recent hunt one Sunday afternoon, Pearson pulled an old flare pistol from an Edinburgh Canal. The pistol was a German World War Two LP34 Flare Gun usually used by German airmen.

Pearson says that the firearm is an extremely rare find for him. However, not so long ago, he had discovered an American World War Two rifle, a pistol, and two grenades. In April 2022, he was fishing in the Union Canal when he realized his magnet had caught an unusual object. It was time to pull the rope in and investigate.

To his amazement Pearson had pulled up a historic flare gun. Following the discovery, the East Lothian native handed the firearm into the police the following Monday morning.

Magnetic Fisherman finds weapons
James Pearson with a previous find of a Garand Rifle and his latest haul: a German WW2 Flare Pistol. Image Credit: Edinburgh Live


Magnet Fisherman and his Discoveries

Magnet fishing became a popular hobby during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Fishermen use a strong magnet to pull metallic objects, hoping for a rare find. These fishermen frequent the rivers, canals, and lakes with a rich history in search of any artefacts.

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However, Pearson fishes for a very different reason. He wants to protect marine life through his efforts, so he uses his skill to remove harmful objects like old bikes and shopping trolleys from the water.

In addition to metallic scrap, the fisherman has successfully recovered rare objects as well. Pearson says that upon finding something potentially dangerous, he immediately requests the police to safely dispose of it.

The rivers and canals across Scotland hold great historical significance, so unauthorized magnet fishing can lead to a fine of up to £50,000. Therefore, the noble fisherman made sure he avoided run-ins with the law.

A flare pistol in its original state.
A Leuch- Pistole 34 from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Pearson established the Musselburgh Magnet Fishing group in Scotland. He asked Historic Environment Scotland for official approval to fish Edinburgh’s canals, moreover, he also submitted applications to Inverness and Glasgow. His efforts were successful.

Read More: Japanese Submarine her 80-man Crew Still Entombed

Scottish Canals Chief Executive Officer, Catherin Topley, accepted Pearson’s application. Topley expressed that it was a “delight” to allow “safe, responsible, and accessible magnet fishing”. The CEO explained that the initiative would improve networking in the area. In addition, by enabling magnet fishing it will also help to protect canals from pollution.

Old Haul – World War Two Rifle

In 2021 Pearson reeled in an M1 Garand rifle from the Union Canal. Two fellow magnet fishermen assisted him during this monumental discovery. The historic semi-automatic rifle served the U.S. military in World War Two and the Korean War, so it was surprising to find one up in Scotland.

Sticking to his principles, the responsible fisherman called the police after his impressive haul. Consequently, the police took the rifle and disposed of it.

“We had been out for around an hour when my magnet clicked on to something heavy, and I pulled it in,” stated Pearson. “As soon as I saw it was a firearm, I phoned the police, and armed response officers arrived soon after. They inspected it, advised me it was real, and took it away to be disposed of.”

Pearson continues to magnet fish. Watch this space.