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  • Brian Wolfe

    An Apology - of sorts

    By Brian Wolfe

    I often describe myself as slightly paranoid, which then seems to make others think I have some sort of philological issues.  I don’t believe I am being “watched” for example.  That would, in my opinion, suggest that I hold some degree of celebrity in my mind; this would also, if it were the case, indicate that I think that I am somehow a fellow of above average interest to others.  I must admit that if I were any less interesting people would fall asleep during a hand shake with me. Perhaps what I should say is that I strive to be more careful than average when it comes to making purchases and in believing everything I am told.  Purchases such as left-handed baseball bats and non-flammable candles may be easy enough to avoid.  However I have lost count of all of the collectables I have purchased and then a few days later wondered how I could have made such unwise choices. A few examples of what I allude to are, prices being far too high or items that really didn’t fit into my collecting themes.    The problem of knowing when you are being told something other than the truth can at times be difficult.  There are some physical signs which must not be taken on individual basis, such as someone rubbing their nose or excessive blinking of the eyes.  These so-called signs, on their own, can be explained away as having nothing to do with attempted deceit. Collectively such signs, along with other indications may be used, in law enforcement as an example, to accept the statement or doubt what you are being told.   The most difficult “stories” to determine their truthfulness is when the person telling the story actually believes it to be the truth.  This and the manner in which the story is delivered and the interpretation of what has been said may end in one doubting the story as being the truth.  Two examples come to mind.  If you hear someone say that smoking can be bad for you and you need to take measures to avoid smoking, you may think of someone inhaling smoke from a cigarette, which fits the caution; or something else.  If you are standing too close to your BBQ and your clothing is starting to smoke then surely you need to take measures (stepping back) to avoid bursting into flames.  My second, and last example, comes from the television comedy, Saturday Night Live (SNL) that first appeared in 1975 which is famous for their rather juvenile humour appealing to the adolescent mind.  I became rather old and stuffy about 40 years ago and therefore stopped watching SNL.  One of the sketches involved a group of people telling an individual on a beach that “You can’t look at the sun too long”.  Most of us would take this as a warning and realize staring at the sun could be detrimental to your vision and not misinterpret this as you can’t get over the majesty of the sun, for example.  Of course the poor fellow being advised took the first interpretation with disastrous results. No, my retelling of this story is not very funny however, as has been said, “You had to be there to see it”.   One of the stories  that has floated around guns shows and places where people interested in military history gather, at least here in Canada, is the topic of this blog.  Yes, I know it has taken me a long time to get to the point...as usual.  Why say something in a couple of dozen words when a plethora of paragraphs can achieve the same results? That’s a rhetorical question of course.   The story is that one can turn an FN FAL C1,or C1A1, rifle from a semi-automatic to a full automatic weapon by inserting a piece of match book in the correct place in the internal workings.  This I have always held as being complete garbage. Any of those reading this who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces in the past and used the FN FAL C1 and the FN C2 please hold off on your hate mail until the end of this blog.    The Canadians used the FN FAL C1, a semi-automatic battle rife with the 7.62X51mm NATO round from 1953, being the first to officially adopt the FN FAL, until 1984 when it was replaced by the 5.56x45mm NATO C7 rifle and the C8 carbine both based on the American US AR-15.  The British and Commonwealth Nations used the same rifle as Canada but called it the L1A1. I have read that the rifle was commonly known as the FAL however in my area of Ontario at least, we refer to it as simply the “FN”.    Here’s where the claim of using the FN C1, inserting a piece of match book to turn it into an automatic weapon, becomes argument.  In each case where this has come up in the past I have tried to delve more deeply into this claim by asking if the service person is saying that with the insertion of a matchbook into the FN C1 they have changed it from a battle rifle (semi-automatic) into an assault rifle (full auto).  Without exception the answer is “yes”.  The problem in my mind, I have just recently discovered, is not whether you can modify an FN C1 with a foreign object to malfunction and discharge the weapon in rapid succession but have you actually “changed” this battle rifle into an assault rifle.  A basic definition of an assault rifle is that it is a carbine sized firearm using a large capacity magazine capable of sustained full automatic fire.  The FN FAL, even fitted with a large capacity magazine, falls short of being an assault rifle on two of the most important requirements that I have stated, even with the matchbook modification.   To all of the servicemen in my past who have engaged me in this argument, and there have been quite a few, I apologize.  You are correct in that you can make an FN FAL C1 malfunction to fire several rounds in rapid, automatic-like, succession.  On the other hand I would offer the suggestion that this could be done with almost any semi-automatic rifle.    On the other hand (you knew there would be an “on the other hand”) to all servicemen in my past who have engaged me in argument you failed miserably in qualifying your claim fully.  You did not, I must repeat, did not, change this battle rifle into an assault rifle, and especially to one fellow who claimed to have changed the FN FAL C1 into the C2A1, the squad automatic weapon (SAW),  as the C2 has a much more robust barrel to withstand the heat generated by sustained rapid fire.  Some of our members might note that they have seen an FN FAL C1 with a selective fire option and you would be correct.  There were some FN FAL C1 rifles fitted with the selective fire option and used only by the Royal Canadian Navy to give boarding parties the option of a full automatic weapon without the weight of the C2A1.     In past blogs I have managed to attempt to prove and at times disprove some claims.  I’ve disproved some claims about the Battle of Crecy and the crossbow. We then proved the capabilities of the crossbow in experiments that were undertaken with minor casualties. These experiments also brought to light that during an apology for a range mishap the suggestion that, “It is only a cat”, is best left unsaid. I think we successively supported claims regarding the possibility of an accidental discharge of the STEN gun.  Now we have supported the claim that the FN FAL C1 can be made to fire with the insertion of a foreign object; yet without actually fully admitting that I was wrong.  It’s a win, win situation!    I will continue with my version of paranoia and look for myths that I can prove or disprove, while being on guard against my own poor purchase decisions.    The post has just arrived and I need to close now and open the shipment of prefabricated postholes I purchased on eBay.   Ever vigilant   Regards Brian      
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  1. Hello again,

    Well, my enthusiasm totally overrides my ability to get these badges organised. It's such a big job and I get a little lost just trying to sort through them. Although I have been quiet here, I have been noting a lot of posts and have identified a few of my pieces just from others' photos......so thankyou!

    I'm also reading "Tobruk" by Peter Fitzsimons. It's heavy reading....very interesting, but I read in bed at night, generally crime novels that you don't have to pay too much attention to, but THIS book!! I find that I have to reread the previous page every time I pick it up. I just don't want to miss anything and I'm taking notes as I go so I can try and match up some photos to the events. So, while I can knock over a cheap thriller in a few nights, this one is taking a lot of time. I've learned a lot though.

    I will tell you a funny story, a little embarassing, but it will give you an idea of exactly how much of a beginner I am at this military stuff (some might even say I'm a real girl!)... So, I'm going through the badges one night, putting aside ones that have words on them so I can google.. I come across one that is just one word, curved like a badge that goes on a sleeve (I have Harry's Australian one so I'm thinking I know what I'm doing here). Anyway, this one says "LESTINIAN"..... I'm thinking French...it sounds French right? So I Google....nothing. I go to Google translate....nothing. Now I'm getting frustrated. It seems it should be the easiest one of all to find, but no, nothing! So I give up on that one, I'll deal with that later, maybe post it on GMIC....

    Then, I'm browsing a few days later, and I see a post, with a picture, and it hits me..... I look at the badge again, taking a close look at the end, right before the "L"...two little nubs.....

    Yep, that's right, I'm sure you guessed it..... It's "PALESTINIAN"..... the "PA" has just broken off !!!

    So, be warned (again)... I'm new to this !!

    Here are a couple more of Harry's photos, just a few random ones from the album.

    Kind regards to you all

    Tracy



  2. CHAPTER 2
    ----------------


    Sir Thomas Hills was enjoying breakfast with his wife. The fire was burning well
    and for a day in late November 1796, the sky was clear - just a heavy frost on
    the ground.

    He was reading the Times newspaper for the day earlier - it having been brought
    by the morning coach as it passed through Little Wells. They were both concerned
    about how Britain's Royal Navy was doing in the war against France and Spain.
    British troops were also in action - but, mainly in the West Indian Islands.

    The Hills family had owned the Manor and it's enormous area of land for over
    four hundred years and had held the hereditary title of 'Sir' through the purchase
    of a Baronetcy in the days of King James the 1st. Not only was Sir Thomas the
    Squire of this enormous holding - which included a total of four villages - he was
    also the Seniort Magistrate extending into other areas around. Duties that he took
    very seriously.

    Little Wells- was the main village - being on the road for travel between Dover and
    London. The other three villages in his ownership were - Wells on the Hill - 350
    residents ; Lower Wells - 290 residents and Wells Magna. This was the largest
    village and being on the River Meade, had a larger population with it's fishermen
    - some 500 villagers in all. Little Wells had about 400 people.

    Strangely, the Church at Little Wells housed the Vicar - Revd. Mark Dolton. The others
    also were Parishes in their own right and had small churches - but the Reverend
    conducted the Services for all four.

    There was a reason for this - Sir Thomas' Father was no lover of the Church and had
    decided one vicar was enough to deal with. However, they were individual Parishes
    and therefore, each had it's own Parish Constable. For Wells on the Hill - Constable
    Hilton ; for Lower Wells - Constable Smith. They were both in their late forties and
    whilst willing, were not as active as they should have been.

    Wells Magna was a different matter. Sir Thomas had picked a younger and more active
    man - and this was needed with the larger population and the smuggling carried out by
    the fishermen. Constable Henry Green was only 26 years of age and a big and powerful
    man. He knew that he had the support of the Squire and kept a strong watch over his
    area.

    Sir Thomas himself, was only 25 years of age and had been married seven years. He and
    his wife had two healthy children - George, now 6 years and the little daughter, Emily - 4
    years old. He was a great supporter of King George 3rd. - who had been on the Throne
    since 1760. However, the King had an ailment that affected his brain and was not always
    stable. He was fine at this time and his people thought highly of him - he was known as
    Farmer George.

    Being from an aristocratic background , Sir Thomas had the right of entry to the King's
    Levees and would attend as often as he could. The Prince of Wales had established his
    own Court at Carlton House and a wise courtier made a point of calling on him as well.

    Seeing that Thomas had finished , his wife rang the small silver bell and the Butler , Macleod
    came-in immediately. Time to get the day going.

    Macleod had been with the family over twenty years and had a staff of 43 house servants -
    of different talents - to maintain the Manor. Many of the Estate farms were let out to tenant
    farmers - but, there were another 270 labourers on the Manor Farms that were directly
    employed.

    'Sir' - announced Macleod - 'Constable Green has brought two prisoners for judgement'.
    This was fairly unusual - the Manor had one of the outbuildings converted to serve as a
    Courtroom and where longer trials could be heard. For shorter trials each village had a
    room next to the Constables' houses.

    'What is the offence ?' Sir Thomas asked.

    'I'm not sure Sir - however, the Constable has two of his Bailiffs to hold them'. 'Alright -
    have them put in the cell , and warn the Head Gamkeeper that two of his men should stand
    to help.'

    Sir Thomas went out to speak to Constable Green and was shocked to hear that the two men
    had been drunk the previous evening and had attacked a passing foot traveller. They had
    killed him with a broken bottle.

    Deaths were not a common happening and were outside the jurisdiction of a Magistrate.
    He would have to hold a hearing and then remand the two prisoners to the Fleet Prison in
    London. They would be tried in London and no doubt hanged. Attending to this took the
    remainder of the morning and a decision had to be ,made for the escort of the prisoners to
    London. He finally decided that a small waggon from the Manor would convey them and
    return the Constable and his Bailiffs the following day. They were given sufficient money for
    the night and he then signed the Commital documents made out by his clerk.

    The remainder of the afternoon - after a light lunch - was spent with the High Steward going
    through financial matters. Everything was well and very little was owed by the tenantry.

    One of the customs that he - and his wife, Alice - liked to follow when they were at the Manor
    was a late afternoon horseride. The Manor was surrounded with over 15 acres of the Home
    Park and this was specially set out to include the lovely countryside and views. However,
    like everything in their lives there was great formality. Lady Hills was accompanied by her Lady
    companion and three grooms followed the couple.

    They were gently cantering down one of the rides when Sir Thomas saw a figure in the bushes
    some distance to the right - the side that the village of Little Wells stood. He gestured to his
    grooms and two of them rode around the figure to block escape.

    When he was nearer, the figure stood and was recognised as young Matt Tiller - the new Petty
    Constable for the village.. 'Hello Matt - are you on duty?' asked the Squire. ' Well, yes Sir -
    in a manner of speaking. I heard that a party of men from the village were going to see if they could
    snare a deer on your estate - I thought I should come and have a look '

    'Well done Matt - that's the action we need. Did you have any idea where they would go ?'
    'No Sir - they were overheard talking about the forest area below the Home Park - but, I wasn't
    sure which side.'

    This spurred Sir Thomas into action. 'Alice - you return to the Manor with Lady Violet - Mr. Ives -
    send one of the grooms as escort and alert the Chief Gamekeeper to take 20 men and come round
    in front of where we are now - that should cut-off their escape route.'

    'Matt - get up behind me. Are you armed ?' 'Only my truncheon Sir'. Both of the grooms carried
    two pistols and the Squire had two heavy cavalry pistols in holsters either side of his saddle. Matt did
    not have a uniform - no policeman did - however, Sir Thomas liked to see them well dressed in blue
    coats and - from his own money - provided a single cross belt over the left shoulder.. This had a
    brass badge identifying the wearer as the Parish Constable of Little Wells. He was only the Petty -
    or, assistant to Mr. Stokes - however, there had been no time to have a new one made for him.
    The cross belt could also carry a sword on occasions when one was required.

    They waited for 30 minutes to let the Gamekeepers get into position, They then spread out into a
    long line - well, as long as three men could and still see each other - and then set off slowly
    towards the edge of the forest. As they came out of a particularly thick area of brush, they spotted
    a number of men ahead of them - obviously 'beating ' the forest to disturb and make the animals run.
    Ahead of them they could see other men holding nets to catch anything running towards them.

    One of the grooms had a hunting horn over his shoulder and was told to start the ' Alert'. At once
    the shrill notes broke the calm, the whole party ahead of them scattered and started running in the
    direction of the village. Too late ! The large party of mounted gamekeepers - spread in a line -
    started to close-in on them and they were herded together like sheep.

    Matt was off the Squirte's horse like lightening and with truncheon drawn ran over to the men. He looked
    at them closely - to get an identification fixed in his mind - and then told them they were under
    arrest for poaching. This was a hanging offence and some of the prisoners started crying - and one
    screamed. Most of the others were tougher and stayed quiet.

    Sir Thomas Hills - apart from being the Landowner - took charge as a Magistrate and he ordered that
    the men be closely guarded and brought before him in the Manor Court in one hour. He then returned
    to the Manor with his two grooms.

    Matt, being a sworn constable, was actually senior to the gamekeepers - however, he recognised his
    own youth and lack of experience and assisted the keepers. Altogether there were eight grown men - three
    boys of about twelve years of age and four dogs of a hunting type. All were taken to the cells attached
    to the Manor Court and at the appointed time were taken-in to stand in front of Sir Thomas. Papers
    had been made out formally charging them with poaching on private land.

    For a small Country Court - there were, of course, no Lawyers. The Magistrate's word would be final- although theoretically - they did have a right for an appeal. But these were uneducated people - most of whom
    could not even sign their names.

    Matt - as the Constable - gave evidence of what he had heard and what he saw at the scene. The Head
    Gamekeeper also gave his evidence. Finally, each man was allowed to speak to the Court and try to
    explain his actions.

    The Magistrate sat quietly when all had finished. He was not a hard man and did not want to invoke the death
    penalty - particularly since no game had been killed. Also youngsters were involved.

    After some ten minutes - and whilst he made notes in his register - he sat-up and warned the prisoners to listen
    carefully.

    Firstly, he allowed the three youngsters to be released - with a warning of much harsher punishment on
    any future occasion. He then dealt with the eight adults. Five were given two months detention with
    hard labour on the Estate farms. Two were ordered 24 lashes - they were obviously some of the
    organisers. The last was the leader - he was ordered to transportation for five years - let some other
    place have him. Finally the four dogs were ordered to be destroyed.

    Matt was then called before Sir Thomas Hills and praised for his quick thinking and immediate action.
    After just two weeks in the new job , this was praise indeed.


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    anyone know what this badge was for? First time posting here so hope I've done it right.

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    Spasm
    Latest Entry

    Gents

    I'm sorry but having pressed our man at work as to whether the real names could be published, his Granny (the Widow of the Author), has changed her mind and would rather that nothing be published. I've therefore honoured her new wishes and have deleted everything.

    Really sorry guys but that's that

    Best and all

    Spaz :(

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    ioway1846
    Latest Entry

    Does anyone have any info about the U.S.A.'s 40 & 8 Medals with bars?

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    Some of you may remember my situation with my Mom. Due to health reasons I moved her from Austin, Texas to West Richland, Washington on May 28th. She has a house now with my daughter living with her as a primary care giver. We had not been able to finalize the sale of her house in Austin so that has been hanging over us for the last 4 months.

    Well-Saturday (10/22) I fly to Austin to close on the house :jumping: on the 26th and THEN, get to have my RAV 4 back! Of course, I then have a week or so to drive back to Washington (but just think of the opportunities to collect more "stuff" along the way as well. :love:

    Just wanted to share. Hope I can get a few more shots to enter before the contest closes.

    Have a GREAT weekend folks
    God Bless (and thanks for your continued prayers for me and my Mom [she is doing much better])

    Ed

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    Tuesday I thought I was going to buy a Finnish Liberty Cross 3rd Class 1918 , a real scarce award :love:

    Ok , since I didn´t want to raise the price before the last day I stayed cool and planned to give my bid on the way to Finland where I was going on a business trip tuesday-thursday .

    Yep , the cell phone died in the wrong moment and then I was on the plane , no connection and so on........

    :banger: It went for 180 Euros wich was way too low .....

    Lessons learned ? If you want it - Buy it , bid early , bid high and stay at home at your computer :cheeky:

    Nice weekend all

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    Being a paperwork collector one of the reasons I collect the citations is for the signatures on them and as such have to trawl through books, websites and personally compiled files to find examples to provide a comparison. From what I know there are currently 3 dedicated threads/sections to signatures on the web, those being the one on Axis History, one on Dokumentenforum and the third on World War Militaria. Unfortunately the last one is a quiet forum and as such has a very limited number of people adding their examples (but has still been viewed over 10,000 times) while the one on AHF does have a tendency to stagnate and as good as it is it isn't all encompassing.

    With such things in mind what are the views of members here to setting up a Pinned thread in the German Third Reich Document Section for the posting of recognised German signatures to build up and provide a database of such like for current and future collectors and not just restricted to Divisional Commanders or Luftwaffe Aces, or just military for that matter? The signatures could be members of all the various paramilitary & civil organisations, members of the 'Valkyrie' plot, as well as officers down to the Kompanie level - basically an all encompassing thread. We have all types of collectors here: TN, Polizei, Feldgendarmerie, OT, HV etc so the potential for building up a great database covering all such signatures is there.

    Signatures could be from award citations, soldbucher, wehrpasse, ausweis, war time letters etc although I would shy away from post-war letters and photos due to the change of signatures due to age and the difficulty in corroborating them - but that is just a personal opinion and if the majority view it differently then so be it. All I would stipulate are threefold:

    1) the person posting the signature must be the owner of the item and definitely no scans from books.
    2) the signature should be shown in context (i.e. an image of the whole document is shown or at least partially shown to enable a date, location &/or authorising unit to be seen, with the owner's watermark on it somewhere obviously)
    3) items published are NOT up for discussion in the thread - the idea is to build up a database rather then a discussion. If members have doubts about any that are posted then a PM to the Moderator with their views can be passed and regulated that way (or maybe an entry via this blog).

    Basically if you have a signature on some paperwork and know who it belongs to then post it with some amplifying information on the signer, however basic, to build up a comprehensive database.
    So with that in mind, please let me have your views and opinions.

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    INTRODUCTION :

    When Nick first mentioned that he was setting up a Blog for members to post personal militaria related material - I
    thought - 'whatever for - this is what GMIC does every day'.

    Well, I've given it serious consideration - have read other contributions, which I enjoyed, and have now decided on a subject. I am wondering if it will be interesting enough for members to want to visit regularly - however, like all things in life - if you don't make an effort - you will never know.

    M

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    Megan
    Latest Entry

    As the UK prepares for HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I've started musing on which milestones various nations commemorate by issuing medals.

    In the UK, it is the events relating to the Sovereign's reign: Coronations and Jubilees (along with a few state visits and Durbars, back when foreign travel, even if you happen to be a King, was a very big deal).

    In Sweden, another constitutional monarchy, they have a different approach. The milestones they mark with a medal are very personal - significant birthdays of their monarch, weddings and wedding anniversaries... and even funerals. There's nothing about their monarch's connection with the nation. The award of such medals is also more personal: family members and people who organise or attend celebrations for whatever milestone is being marked being the only recipients.

    Norway does both: there are birthday AND reign anniversary medals! Medals were issued to mark King Haakon VII's Coronation (1906), Silver Jubilee (1933), Gold Jubilee (1955) and his 70th birthday. Thailand too marks a mixture of State and personal milestones in their Royal Family's lives with the issue of medals - adding such occasions as the investiture of a Crown Prince to the expected coronations, jubilees and birthdays; along with one to mark 'The Longest Reign' in 1988.

    As well as a fine memorial of Royal history, these series of medals give a fascinating insight as to the role of the monarchy in different countries around the world... and probably scope for a whole book not just a blog entry!

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