WW1 Canadian Hate Belt

Posted in Belts & Belt Buckles, Insignia with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_AustraliaFlag_of_New_ZealandFlag_of_CanadaFlag_of_the_United_StatesFlag_of_FranceFlag_of_the_German_EmpireNice simple pickup last weekend at the local antique fair. This is a souvenir belt put together from a Prussian infantry belt and the tunic buttons from a wide range of Allied and German units. This example has a predominance of Canadian buttons so I am guessing that it was Canadian in origin. The rest are French, Australian, New Zealand, German and one single U.S. General Service button. You see these in all sorts of configurations, some on Allied belts, some with cap badges and other oddments. The legend is that these were put together from souvenirs taken from dead bodies but that sounds overly complex to me and likely nonsense. More likely most of the buttons were swapped at rear area camps between bored soldiers making up a souvenir. The U.S. button suggests a late war job, 1917-19. The Empire buttons make sense as often these units found themselves together in the line. The Canadian Regiments are from different divisions so that’s why I think this is a rear area put together. Still, a great belt, in fine condition and worth it just for the buttons and belt IMHO.

A Birchall Driver in the ASC

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 4, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis lonely little Victory medal was awarded to Thomas Birchall, 2529, a Driver in the Army Service Corps in WW1. I can’t find much on him but I can see by his entitlement card that he was awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal in 1920. Both this and his British War medal are lost to time unfortunately.

A Self-Award For A Victorian Birchall

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on July 19, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere’s an odd one. We have our share of military imposters today, slipping into a uniform and slapping on a bunch of undeserved medals in order to gain the eye of the ladies. They call them “Walts”, after the deluded central character in the 1939 book, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.

Now it appears I have one from the 19th Century. This medal, a Crimean Medal with Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaklava bars is inscribed to Captain Basil Herne Harper Birchill 1854-5-6. Researching Basil tells me that he was a member of the minor gentry from Middlesex. His surname was Diprose at birth but he was able to change his name to Birchall upon the death of Lt Col. Herne Harper Burchell in 1858 (probably due to either a remarriage of his mother or an illegitimate issue). He did indeed serve in one of the County militia, the Royal Bucks. However as far as I can see he never made it to the Crimea. I see a record of him  connected to the British Italian Legion which replaced British troops in garrison on Malta during the Crimean War. And he seemed to be busy in organisations like the Cinque Ports Corps (basically a bunch of rifle clubs) and the Royal Geographical Society. However I sincerely doubt that he left Britain and this medal is a self award. Pompous little classist pommie prick. I would say I’d plant my boot into his nuts if I met him today.

 

Carcano M38 Bayonet Sheath

Posted in Bayonets with tags , , on June 29, 2017 by The Dude

32px-Flag_of_Hungary_1940.svgThe Carcano M38 carbine was issued with a folding bayonet as seen here. The folding function was deemed a failure and the bayonet reverted to be fixed and issued with a sheath after a short time. It’s hard to find these live in the wild so I was thrilled (mildly) to see one drift past me and into my net.

German Granatwerfer 34 8cm Mortar Bomb

Posted in Mortars with tags , , , , on June 29, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_NSDAP_(1920–1945).svgPretty standard but hard to find this size in Canada. This is the 8cm mortar projectile for the GrW34. It’s marked for blw 42, meaning it was manufactured in 1942 by Gritzner-Kayzer AG in Karlsrühe. It is obviously ground-dug but will make a great candidate for a restore.

C96 M30 Broomhandle Mauser

Posted in Firearms with tags , , , on June 29, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_NSDAP_(1920–1945).svgFlag_of_the_Republic_of_ChinaThis is a M30 variant of the Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistol in 7.3mm calibre. The serial number of this example puts it around 1932. It has the three chinese characters on the magazine indicating it was for the Nationalist Chinese contract. The barrel is the standard 140mm length. Somewhere along the last 80 years it has acquired a commercial stock by Geha. Along with this one, I show below my 1920 regulation police rework with fixed sights and the short barrel. I would rate the condition of this one as tired, I have since cleaned it with a copper brush and it’s looking a lot better, but the ex-China ones are always beaters.

Nuremberg IMT Trials Visitors Ticket

Posted in Paper with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_NSDAP_(1920–1945).svgFlag_of_the_United_StatesFlag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_FranceFlag_of_the_Soviet_Union.svgInteresting bit of shyte here. This is a ticket for the visitors gallery for the 379th session of the Nuremburg Military Tribunal (NMT). This session falls within the 7th trial, the Hostages Trial, which ran from 8th July 1947 until 19th February 1948. The defendants were mostly higher commanders of the Wehrmacht accused of atrocities against civilians in the Balkans and Greece.

The ticket holder was a man named Constantine Brown who served in B-24’s in the USAAF until the end of the war when he was seconded to provide Greek-English language translation. He later served in the CIA and upon his return to the US became a policeman.

From his obituary… “BROWN–Constantine. 1927-2014. Constantine Brown passed away on October 22, 2014. His friends and family will miss his enthusiasm and active life style. In 1923, his parents and sister escaped from the forced exchange of Greek and Turkish populations, and came to New York City. He was born in Manhattan’s “Hell’s Kitchen” where his mother struggled to bring up her fatherless children while working at the Greek Orthodox church nearby. He enlisted in the New York State Guard when a teen-ager. During World War II, he joined the Air Force Cadet Program to become a flight engineer on B-24 bombers. His fluency with the Greek language was used by the C.I.A. When the war ended, he completed high school and earned a B.A. from Columbia University while working full-time with the New York City Housing Authority Police. From 1954, he rose through the ranks of the Housing Authority Police which merged with the New York City Police Department. He married Olga Boondas, a professor of social work at Columbia University. His beloved wife and daughter, Themis, pre-deceased him. Constantine was an active member of several organizations, including the Captains’ Endowment Association–NYPD, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Fraternal Order of Police, and St. Paul’s Society, NYPD. Olga and Constantine inaugurated the Themis Anastasia Brown Endowment Fund at the Morgan Library and Museum 21 years ago. He was in the process of instituting a chair for Classical and Byzantine Studies at Queens College in NYC, and provide support for the Orphanage under the aegis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.”