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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      

Are you kidding, no really, are you kidding?

Are you kidding, no really are you kidding?

Last Saturday one of the largest, if not the largest, outdoor antiques fairs was held near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It has been a few years since we were able to attend and most of the dealers have been the same for many years so it was like a family reunion with some that we’ve dealt with over the years.

One of the first things an antiques dealer will tell you is not to refinish antiques as their value is lost once you do this. You will hear this mantra chanted over and over especially when they are looking to purchase the furniture dear old Aunt Betsy left you. Of course you “cave in” and let the dealer take the refinished ruined junk off your hands for a pittance and letting you feel that they have done you a big favour. Well pilgrim you’ve just been shafted. A walk around any antiques fair will prove me out as you pass display after display of finished and what I would call over finished antique furniture. At the show you will hear these same dealers preaching that it is better to refinish the antique so that you can live with it and use it the way to was supposed to be used. Two definite schools of thought I will admit. However I recognized a couple of these fellows and they talk out of both sides of their faces more easily than could the Roman God Janus. Thinking of ancient Rome I am all for S.P.Q.R. in business, which in this case stands for “Small Profit Quick Return” however some seem to think “buy low sell high” is always an honourable act, no matter what bovine excrement they are required to spread in order to close a deal. Contrary to what I seem to be saying, most of the dealers are honest folk but you know what they say about a rotten apple in the barrel.

This is not really the theme of my article it was just an observation. The theme is all of the fakery that seems to be going on and sold by so-called reputable dealers under the excuse that they are not knowledgeable in this or that field when “called” on the authenticity of an item. This self same dealer will be waxing prophetic to a prospective client one second and then crying that they are as innocent as a new born lamp with the very next breath when trying to explain a fake being passed off as authentic. To be sure this is not the show to attend if you are looking for military collectables though there is always bit to choose from. The prices are usually well above market for medals, weapons etc. so this is a show to attend for other collectables. However, having said that, I found it interesting that so many dealers managed to be displaying fakes and replicas of mostly WWII German medals mixed in with some over prices genuine articles. It is almost as if they are pricing the authentic items in order to hold onto them and low balling the fakes. Low balling the price if it were genuine that is.

I looked at a pair of Figure Of Eight handcuffs that the dealer said he picked up in Georgia last week (it is always “last week” with these guys) and he’d let it go for $200.00. I was polite and passed on the cuffs, however, if I had wanted such a pair I could pick them up for around $35.00 on eBay from the same fellow who makes them...in Georgia. The quality was not really bad though nowhere near that of Hiatt but the poor quality key is always a dead giveaway. I will post mine to show the difference someday (he said in embarrassment) along with a genuine key and you will see a world of difference.

Another booth proudly offered a Police Helmet from the Metropolitan Police sporting a ball top for only $200.00. I think the other police collectors will support my claim that the Met has never used a ball top. Amazingly, though I suppose it should not have come as a surprise, the dealer claimed he had purchased it directly from the officer himself while on a trip to the UK. The officer must have really stood out among the rest of the police all wearing the familiar Metropolitan Cox Comb Style helmet. I wonder if his name was Benny Hill.

Back in the early 1970s there was a flood of Indian swords offered for a pittance; these were over cleaned for the most part but they were authentic. Just after this Tsunami of Tulwars another “after shock wave” hit with thousands of newly made copies being offered in every flea market stall from Chicoutimi to Bella Coola (you’ll have to look those up yourself).

Meanwhile back at the antiques fair.
A fellow was looking at a curved sword that had been ground down as if sharpened before every battle ever fought with sword. The handle was wooden and the knuckle guard was an open style basket and quite well done. To enhance this treasure someone (I wonder who) had recently painted it gloss black. This was obviously one of those replica Indian swords that had the design on the blade removed, over-ground to change the curve a bit and then painted black. The grip showed no wear which should have made the perspective buyer wonder how the blade had seen so much wear while the grip was pristine as was the hand guard. I suppose it could have been a one of those miracles preformed by the Giant Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The dealer played right along and mused as to how many battles the sword had been in and just how many men it had killed. Easy answer...NONE! The customer started to dicker on the price which had started at $300.00 and I couldn’t take any more and walked away muttering “Caveat emptor”. If I was overheard I’m sure the dealer told the customer that was the name of the style of sword.

Most of the time I am pretty good at controlling my indignation and keeping my self-righteous rage in check. However I will admit that the reason I have not been to this show for a while is that I was banned from going for at least a year by my dear wife. We were at the show with some friends, formally from the UK. My friend Graham and I were looking at a drawer unit that I was interested in and I was seeing if the drawers were all in working order. The dealer said “It looks like we have a couple of yankers here” and I thought he said “s”. There was a bit of confusion as to whether I actually grabbed the fellow by the front of his shirt or not...just to make a point mind you. Graham, a quick thinking East Ender, was between us before anything else could happen, but I think I made my point. So now I keep my distance and regarding the over- priced fakes and I just think, “Are you kidding, no really are you kidding!”

Let’s hear from the rest of the membership regarding their collecting experiences over the summer.


Brian Wolfe

Brian Wolfe


Victory Day 2012

In about 20 minutes it will be May 9th in Moscow and Victory Day will be underway. The annual parade should step-off at 1000. A change from last year's attempt at the utility uniform will be the return to the dress uniform (why they changed that last year I will never know). Hopefully the parade, in it's entirety, will be broadcast (perhaps by RT) and, again hopefully, someone will make a dvd of it that will be available for purchase by those of us who live in the more remote areas (hint).

Aside from the pagentry and splendor associated with the military parade, it will be a time to remember ALL those- the allied nations military forces, the partisans, the civilains whose villages and towns were set upon and who chose to fight back, and yes, those who were selected for "special treatment" because they were, for one reason or another, deemed unfit for the "one thousand year reich"- who sacrificed so much and, often enough, all to bring about the defeat of Hilter and his allies. I had many family members fight in that war; one did not return (Battle of the Bulge- Douglas Kirby, 3rd Armoured Division "Spearhead") and many of you have similar stories- some of you, I dare say, were there... to those who were, thank you so very, very much. I will never forget, nor will I let those around me forget, the magnificent thing you did for all of us.

Greg Collins

Greg Collins

Greg Collins


More Updates

Due to ongoing technical difficulties I have had to upgrade the server significantly so I hope that you have noticed an increase in speed. Any voluntary contributions from taking out a members subscription will be appreciated as I now have a significant monthly cost to keep this ship afloat. I really do not want to have to go down the route of advertising to generate income !

There has also been a change in the way the forum loads and some of you may have noticed that there is a slight pause when loading the index page. But when it loads it should fully load. I am still working on remedying that issue which is being caused by a slow mysql query around Topic Markers, but if I switch them off then it impacts on what topics are marked as read with your individual accounts. Work in progress......




May Day 2012

Happy May Day to all! Not a big holiday here in the US (although it did start here) except for the "faithful" (hard core Reds). Did catch the Moscow goings-on via RT earlier today- they covered events all over the world. Good to see the Moscow parades, although I wish they still went through Red Square. Noticed that even the oligarchs participated in the parade (Medvedev)- hmmmmm. Also good to see the general strike called by the Occupy movement- still strong. All together much more going on this year than last... could be indicative of something- we'll see. Anyway, rather than blather on ad nauseum, thought I'd leave a few colourful images that look better if you hum a chorus of The Internationale while viewing (no kidding). The first is a rather meager collection of May Day badges from the USSR and DDR along with a badge of our founder, followed by two images of some USSR postcards from the '70's and '80's (just like Mom used to send). Enjoy!

Workers of All Nations Unite!
You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Chains!

Greg Collins

Greg Collins


Gallipoli - 24/25 April 1915 Memorial at ANZAC Cove (Ariburnu) by ATATURK

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now living in the soil of a friendly country.Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well." Ataturk, 1934




A few back room changes & user names.

I have been updating a few of the back end functions of the software/server to bring it up to date and close a few security issues. It may have meant that some members received the occasional database error over the last few days, but I hope the bulk of the work has now been done. There should not be any real major front end changes.

GMIC is still growing in size and despite some slow down in posting which is reflected across all military collecting forums (sign of the economic times maybe ?) the traffic actually has increased. This combination of traffic and database size can challenge the server. Of course if money was not an issue then a fast modern dedicated server would make a vast differences. As GMIC is essentially a free service then unfortunately this is not an option and I rely on voluntary subscriptions to pay for what I can afford to run. So speed is dependent on subscriptions, the more of you that pay a small annual subscription, the faster server I can afford and the better the service we all get !

If anyone has noticed any significant differences i.e. slow downs or speed ups in the forum please let me know as it is good to get feedback either way.

GMIC is eight years old next month and there is a lot of images and information stored on the forum. Over the coming months I will be getting some of the moderators to do a bit of housekeeping as I intend to start archiving some of the old posts to reduce server space. The information will still be there and retrievable under searching, but because it is old and not regularly accessed it will be stored in a slightly different way to save space and make the forum run more efficiently.

I have also changed my username to Nick rather than Chairman (although I still am the Chairman) as have the Vice Chairs as I felt titles were a little too impersonal and I want to promote the use of peoples real names. If you would like to adopt your real name (even if it is only your first name with a last initial or tag to retain a agree of anonymity) let me know as it makes it a bit friendlier than some forums where members adopt juvenile usernames as par for the course.




April 16, 2012

I'm not much of a blogger, unless you count my "John and Marie" fiction on the Great War Forum. However, as I get older I feel the urge to muse in (semi) public, which is certainly better than wandering down the street talking to myself.

I've been collecting since 1973, and have gone from British Military longarms to badges, to uniforms, to medals. I've never been an "I never sell anything" collector (can't afford to), but nonetheless bits and pieces of each historical period remain (like the non-original front sling swivel from my Martini-Henry III, and a .577 Snider brass cartridge).

This is one of the downsides of collecting. Medals and badges can pass fairly easily on eBay, etc. But the bits of webbing, helmet covers, paper, etc. are harder to move. Even cataloguing it is beyond me. But realistically most of this stuff I will never look at again, the boys are now too big to fit the uniforms, and I certainly could use the spare change to finance more R.G.A. Victory Medals.

I can't look on this as a retirement project, as retirement at 65 doesn't look like a realistic option for me. I suppose I could stuff a moving box and bill it as "Grand Militaria Surprise Package".

Books are a similar problem. I've got a great British Colonial library, most of which I haven't looked at in nearly 30 years. I'm sure there are collectors out there who could use these books, but postage (even in Canada) is prohibitive. I remember all too clearly clearing out my parents' books from the family home in 1988 with my then fiancée, (now my wife of almost 25 years). It's not a job I want to wish on my sons.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson


15 April 2012

Hmmmm... Spring has, apparently, "sprung" here in beautiful metropolitan Ferncliff, Virginia where our one traffic light continues to blink red one way and yellow in the other direction. The horses are snorting (probably because of all the pollen), the cows are lowing and the "little birdies machen melodies"- much to the amusement of my cats. The possum (or possums- not sure I'm always looking at the same one) has come out of that weird partial hibernation and has joined the cats for meals. My stone-deaf Border Collie, Roger, takes it all in stride and has taken to staying outside longer and eating his food leisurely- one morsel at a time- and just surveying his turf.

I'm back to mowing... changed the blades, oil, oil filter and fuel filter on the 48" Husqvarna and have had her out for the initial cut... whew. Using the mower as a "bush hog"- rough going but got it done. Am going to take a friend's advice this year and cut at 3 1/2" instead of 2 1/2"- hoping that the grass will, eventually, choke out the weeds. I'll have to cut more often but the cutting should go quickly.

Barreling toward May, when I'll have some meaningful vacation EXCEPT I'm having to work the 4th, 5th and 6th which, as luck would have it, is my 40th Class Reunion at Fork Union Military Academy. Damn, damn, damn... I would like to go to that- at least for the parade on the 6th. In the letter they sent, 12 of my classmates have died, which is why they opted for a 40th reunion instead of the more traditional 50th- in case the rest of us dropped dead. Oh well, "no one expects the Spanish Inquisition". I'm going to continue to try to get that day off.

Have added a book to the library, "Checka- Soviet Secret Police Awards 1917-1995" by Cdr. Robert Pandis. A very informative work- especially about the various "egg" badges associated with the Soviet Internal Ministry. I recommend it to all. Have also added a few items to my ever growing PMR collection... a 20th Anniversary of the Armed Forces medal and a couple of Bendery UVD badges. Also managed to find a Romanian "For Militia Merit" badge from the RPR (1947-1965) period. These have been added to my galleries here- have a look. Oh, by the way, does anyone, other than me, know what the "PMR" is? This may be a good topic for a future blog entry.

I guess that's all for now as I have to prepare for work tomorrow.

Take Care,

Greg Collins

Greg Collins


Collecting the Periphery Part 3

Collecting the Periphery Part 3

When collecting medals that are not directly military in nature it would be easy to overlook the Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter or in English, Cross of Honour of the German Mother. I say this as it seems to me that anything associated with the Third Reich automatically conjures up military associations. This was a state decoration and civil order of merit awarded to mothers for exceptional merit to Germany.

This decoration was awarded from 1939 until 1945 in three classes, these classes being, bronze, silver and gold. All of the classes were awarded to mothers who exhibited exemplary motherhood and in the case of the bronze or 3rd Class award conceived four to five children. The silver or 2nd Class was awarded to mothers with six to seven children and the gold or 1st Class to mothers with eight or more children.

The award was introduced by decree in Berlin in 1938 by the then Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler and awarded annually mainly on Mother’s Day as well as other national association’s annual events of celebrations.

The award of this decoration was highly regarded by the German Government and the mothers nominated for the award were thoroughly investigated to assure that they met the qualifications. A number of benefits were associated with the award including a small financial benefit and preferential treatment within public service such as medical, clothing, schooling and housing. Upon the death of the recipient the Mother’s Cross of Honour was, by statute, allowed to be inheritable by the bereaved family as a keepsake of remembrance.

The design of the cross is based on an elongated iron cross similar to the cross of the Teutonic Knights Order. The body of the cross is blue with a narrow white enamelled border. A sunburst with a roundel in its centre with the words, “DER DEUTSCHEN MUTTER”, English translation: OF THE GERMAN MOTHER around a black swastika is situated where the two parts of the cross intersect. The reverse features the date of introduction, “16 Dezember 1938” beneath which is a facsimile of the signature of the Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. I believe it is quite rare for any national leader to actually have their signature appear on the reverse of a medal of decoration. Not that this is an actual autograph per sae, however, it is a copy of his signature which I personally find interesting. From what I have read, from several sources, Adolf Hitler held his own mother in very high esteem. This, in my opinion, may have been a why his signature appears on the German Mother’s Cross. The award was worn around the neck on a thin blue and white ribbon. This was the only official manner of wear though a miniature example is known which was worn suspended from a blue and white bow made of the same ribbon as the neck ribbon. This was a semi-official approved version and a bow alone was also authorized for general everyday wear.
The decoration could be withdrawn at any time after being awarded if it was found that the recipient acted in a manner which conflicted to the criteria set out for the award. An example would be if the mother abandoned her children

At the end of World War Two and the fall of the Third Reich all medals and awards bearing the swastika became illegal to wear and so the Mutterehrenkreuz (Mother’s Cross of Honour) also became illegal and therefore was no longer worn.


It has been held that Hitler implemented this award only to encourage large families in order to fill the ranks of the German military. However, one should keep in mind that when this award was first introduced the world had just gone through a change in morals and a life style not in keeping with the family values of the past. The Roaring Twenties had just ended and a need to bring the thinking of the younger population back in line with the more traditional family values was needed. While this indeed had the additional “benefit” of providing a larger number of young men for military service I believe there were more reasons than purely providing cannon fodder.

One of the reasons for my statement is that Germany has not been the only country to implement an award to honour mothers who raised several children in an appropriate manner. In 1920 France implemented the Médaille de la Famille française (Medal of the French Family). Another example would be the Order of Maternal Glory and Mother Heroine of the Soviet Union from the same era.

A very striking display can be made with these awards and their neck
ribbons. Considering they may still be purchased at a reasonable price one can purchase an extra to display the reverse bearing the signature of Adolf Hitler.

In my next installment of this series, “Collecting the Periphery Part 4” I will get back to British Empire medals. It is my intention to feature photos of the medals from this series that I have in my collection, in the regular sections of the forum.


Wikipedia: Cross of Honor of the German Mother

Brian Wolfe

Brian Wolfe


Slowly Getting There....

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





Matt Tiller becomes a Parish Constable - 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

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

'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

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.

Mervyn Mitton

Mervyn Mitton


13 March 2012

I'm in kind of a "bitchy" mood today; on the two days I've had off, I had to go to meetings at the joint on both days. These people have meetings to decide when to have more meetings!!! Nothing is ever accomplished during said meetings except to expose how education deprived the speakers are. In the 8 years I spent in the Navy, we trotted all over the Far East, Central America, shot through the Panama Canal, went through Grenada, blasted the crap out of Beirut- all without meetings. Amazing! OK, I'm going to calm down now... breathe... slow down. OK, I'm better now.

Earlier today, I posted three new PMR (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) awards to my PMR Gallery. A couple are fairly interesting; there's a 20 Years of the Customs Service medal and an Honoured Official of the Justice Ministry that bears a look if you have time. The customs medal is one of the nicest deep relief medals I've seen, especially the reverse. Add to this the fact that PMR Customs awards are VERY difficult to come by. The Justice Ministry badge is, currently, the highest award issued by that ministry. It has a "rayed" background that is handled in a way reminiscent of the early Soviet MVD "egg" badges, although the badge is one-piece. The overall quality of PMR items has improved of late. One reason is that, apparently, they have settled on one supplier (I'm seeing a new level of consistency that was not there before). Also, the country as a whole seems to be going through the motions of settling into itself... elections, a new President, an enhanced program of diplomacy. We'll see...

Still looking for a reasonable source for CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) items; I only need about 3 to 4 pieces to complete the collection. If you have, or know someone who has, access to Molotok.ru please let me know.

One last item, and to me it's a BIG one, I've been given the honour of designation as "Old Contemptible". I guess I have arrived, and I'm very proud of this. Thanks to all who made this possible; it's quite a rush.

Until Next Time,
Take Care,

Greg Collins

Greg Collins


Collecting the Periphery Part 2

Collecting the Periphery Part 2

Have you ever started a project only to realize that perhaps to do it justice you probably shouldn’t have started it in the first place?

This is not exactly what has happened to my plan to discuss collecting medals outside of the usual parameters of military and Mervin has pointed out, and rightly so, that this was a huge undertaking. The vast array of non-military medals is daunting to say the least. Therefore this will not be a treatise or my opus magnum on the subject but just an overview and perhaps it will serve to get people thinking about alternative medal collecting and study.

In the first installment we discussed the Red Cross and similar organizations which included the Western Hemisphere as well as Japan, I neglected to mention the German Red Cross Medals and I regret doing so now, but it’s a little too late at this stage. To continue on along the lines of those who care for others, in particular the nursing profession, the first one that comes to mind is the Voluntary Medical Service Medal, instituted in 1932 and awarded for 15 years of service, with a bar for each additional 5 years of service. This is a medal I have as yet to add to my collection though I intend to do so some day. The obverse features a veiled bust of a woman holding an oil lamp. This, I have read, is a stylized representation of Florence Nightingale. The reverse features the crosses of Geneva and St. Andrew. To my knowledge these were always issued unnamed. The ribbon is red with yellow and white stripes.

I have, in my collection, a medal in the form of a Maltese cross named to M. Mc Leavy, with distinction, for proficiency in mental nursing, from the Royal Medico-Psychological Association. It is a bronze cross which hangs from a dark blue ribbon. We know this medal dates after 1926 as that was when it received its Royal Charter and before 1971 when a Supplemental Charter accorded the Association the status of the “Royal College of Psychiatrist”. As many of the medals we have, and will, discuss during the length of this series many of the so-called periphery specimens are tied closely with the military or as in the above example as result from armed conflict.

Another medal from my own collection is the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service Long Service Medal instituted in 1961 and issued unnamed. This was issued for 15 years of service with a bar for an additional 15 years of service. This round medal is of cupro-nickel with the interlocking initials VWS within an ivy wreath. The medal in my collection predates 1966 when the WVS acquired the Royal title of WRVS. The reverse has three flowering plants and around the outside circumference is inscribed “Service Beyond Self”. The ribbon is dark green with twin white stripes towards the end and broad red edges. The medal is issued in a dark green fitted box with “Women’s Voluntary Service Medal” in gold impressed on the top of the box lid. I like to collect my medals in their fitted boxes when possible and these can be picked up later if you happen along a medal on its own without a box. I will discuss finding boxes for your medals in Part 3 along with a few a caveat or two to help you along.

The last group of medals I will touch on in this installment are the life saving medals. The United Kingdom, like Japan is surrounded by water and of course this leads to the need to rescue unfortunate souls from its grip. The need for rescue from any body of water is arguably greater than most incidents on dry land, including fire rescue. I say this not to belittle the efforts of the Fire Suppression Services and I myself have served in my younger days with a fire department. I have also served in a small municipality on the shores of Lake Erie (one of the Great Lakes) and we used to average four to five deaths among the summer tourists due to drowning every year. During my five years with the fire department we never lost a soul, or needed to save one for that matter.

The number of different medals for life saving in the UK is quite varied. One of my favourite in this genre, though not a life saving medal but a swimming proficiency medal, is the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society’s Swimming Medal. It was instituted in 1885 and is very ornate. I’ll quote the description from the Medals Yearbook, “ This extremely ornate medal has a twin dolphin suspender and a free form. (Obverse) a wreath surmounted by crossed oars and a trident, with a lifebelt at the centre enclosing the Liver Bird emblem on a shield; (reverse) plain, engraved with the recipient’s name and details. The medal comes in silver or bronze and the ribbon has five equal bars, three blue and two white. This is one medal I would love to have in the collection some day, however, as they say, so many medals so little time.

Japan too had life saving medals and badges. In my collection reside two of the Imperial Sea Disaster Rescue Association badges. The activities of the Russian Lifeboat Association were observed by Count Kiyotaka Kuroda while he was touring Europe in 1888. This led to the founding of an organization in 1889 which became the Greater Imperial Sea Disaster Rescue Association, which later dropped the word “Greater”. The two badges in my collection are the Full Member’s Badge and the Honorary Member’s Badge. These are both basically the same design, being a frontal view of a lifeboat within a life saving ring with an anchor behind the badge. The Full Member’s badge is silver with a red field within the life saving ring which the Honorary Member’s badge is gold and a blue field within the life saving ring. These both come in fitted boxes. There are three classes of Merit Medals. They feature a shipwreck scene surrounded by a life saving ring. The third class is entirely silver, the second class features the suspender and life saving ring in gilt with the centre in silver and the first class is entirely in gilt. These are all suspended from a light blue ribbon with yellow stripes.

In the next installment, Collecting the Periphery Part 3, I will touch on some of the different service awards such as the British Imperial Service Medals as an example.


Wikipedia: Royal College of Psychiatrist
In the Name of a Living God, Paul L. Murphy & Steven L. Ackley
Medal Yearbook 2004, Token Publishing
Reference to specimens – Author’s collection

Brian Wolfe

Brian Wolfe




Author: M. Demir ERMAN

Printed: Ankara/Turkey, February 2012
correspondence address: dmrbay@gmail.com


In English (65 pages) and Turkish (61 pages). There is a 46 pages annex including color pictures, certificates and documents. The medal in the cover is relief. Total 172 pages, app. 350 gr.

Preface and Acknowledgements 6
Very Brief History of the Ottoman Empire 9
World War I 12
Gallipoli War 13
Palestine, Caucasus and Galicia Battles 16
Independence War and the Republic 17
War Medals of the Ottoman Empire 18
The Regulation of the War Medal dated 1915 21
Amendments on the War Medal Regulation 24
The Effective Dates of the War Medal Regulation
and Amendments 31
Ministry of War and Army Orders About the War Medal 34
Law of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and the
Decree of the Council of Ministers 36
The First Type of the War Medal Which was Designed
According to the Regulation but Never Produced Due to a
Shape and Metal Change 39
The War Medal 41
The War Medal and the German Iron Cross 44
The Certificate of the War Medal 46
The War Medal Ribbon 49
The Package of the War Medal 53
War Medal Miniatures, Ribbon Bars And Pins 55
War Medals of the German and Austrian Make 56
No Name Medals 58
Views on the War Medal 59




New Membership Levels

As of Monday 5th March 2012 new levels of membership will be introduced at GMIC.
To make it simpler to understand the new membership categories are listed below: Basic Bronze Silver Gold Platinum

All of these membership categories can be achieved without cost and are based on a combination of active participation and time served on GMIC. There is also an option to achieve higher levels of membership on joining or by a reduced level of participation time. This is through voluntary monetary contribution which assists GMIC in remaining a free service open to all.

To understand the different levels of membership please click here

Enamel Membership pins are also now available for purchase. Cost is dependent on membership level but for basic members the cost is £5.99 including (worldwide) postage. To purchase a membership go to Members Store




28 February 2012

Well, as of 1338 (Eastern Standard Time) today, I became 58 years old. I was taking a nap at that moment, so I didn't notice any great change. In essence, a non-event. But, to be honest, I have been, lately, mulling over the passage of time and what I've seen during my half-century plus on the blue marble. If nothing else, it's been an interesting ride. At the risk of boring the readership, I provide the following highlights:

-I've been to all 50 states in the USA and 27 countries; during all of this, I've lived awhile (more than one year) in Virginia, the D.C. area, Southern California, Montreal, the Philippines and the Tokyo area.

-my stepfather was, alas, a true-to-life "flim-flam" man... a con-artist. This goes toward explaining the above... many of those locations were brought on by this, and I have lived in many of those locales but only for a short time (getting up at midnight and "blowing town" with all you can pack in one bag).

-during all this, I learned (taught myself as I was so "mobile") to play the guitar. Began at 7 years old, and have been able to, relatively, master the 6 and 12 string guitars and the 10 string cittern. Something I've been able to keep with me all along.

-began Tang Soo Do training in 1968 and, though hampered by events, managed by the mid '80's to achieve 4th Degree (Master) ranking in that. Also achieved degree ranking in Tae Kwon Do (3rd), Hap Ki Do (1st) and Kum Do (1st).

-managed to graduate from Fork Union Military Academy, after attending since the 8th grade (my parents decided to leave me in one place at that point) in 1972. Just found out that 12 of my class mates are no longer with us- that out of a class numbering 89. Sad stuff.

-dropped out of Virginia Tech in 1973; heavily into student radicalism and some other extra-curricular activities. Anti war, pro labour. Joined the Communist Party in '72 while a student at Tech.

-worked for AMF Incorporated as a metal finisher from '73 until '76. Rose to journeyman ranking fairly quickly and, in '76, was making $13 per hour- quite high for the time. Was able to buy my first car... a Mustang 2 Ghia- black on black, four on the floor!!! A "chick magnet".

-joined the Navy in '76 for no other reason than to get back to Japan (loved it there- was there in '66 through '67). Mission accomplished- my first ship was the USS Kirk FF-1087 out of Yokosuka. Stayed from '77 until '80. Returned to states and shore duty with something I picked up... my first wife (from the Philippines).

-volunteered, and was accepted, to recommission the USS New Jersey BB-62... first marriage on the rocks; shore duty sucked. Stayed aboard until wounded in Beirut on 1 October 1983.

-discharged from the Navy on 31 August 1984 after a fairly long stay at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda. Continued recovery on an out-patient basis at the D.C. VA Center.

-returned to college, on the G.I. Bill, in 1985 and, in 1987 received a degree in Commercial Art/Photography "Summa Cum Laude" (3.96 average). Here, I met my current wife who was engaged in the same course work.

-came to the house I now occupy in 1988. The middle of nowhere in the rocker between Charlottesville and Richmond, and where I was born in 1954. Full circle, it seems.

-worked in the advertising field from 1988 until 1999. At that point, the owner of the firm I'd been with for nearly 5 1/2 years decided to engage in some extra marital fun and, as it goes, the business was part of the divorce settlement. When I got there one morning, there was a chain and lock on the door.

-as a stop-gap measure, I became employed in the prison system that year. It was supposed to be temporary but I suppose I got lazy/disenchanted/disheartened/whatever. Anyway, here I am. It was also during this time that, while tasked with an art job from the Irish Republican Socialist Party (leftist comrades), I began my journey into collecting.

-and so, in 2012, this is where I am. Of course, this is only some of the high (or low) lights... an over simplification of a life to date.

Nowadays, it seems one of few focuses in my life is the collecting, which is fine. I believe the "caretaking" of history to be a noble pursuit, and it continues to give me a great deal of pleasure. One of the aspects that I'm very motivated by these days is the collecting of a new, yet unrecognized, country- the PMR- and watching, through both study and collecting, how a country grows from an abstract idea to statehood. Exciting to be "on the ground floor" of this avenue of collecting.

Until Next Time,
Take Care,

Greg Collins

Greg Collins


Membership Lapel Pins

This is the preview of the long time coming New GMIC Membership Lapel Pin. This will be available to all membership levels later this week for purchase. This will be included as part of the subscribing members package for all renewals, further details this week. The pin itself is a high quality metal and enamel pin, with a butterfly clip to the rear. It measures approx 1" or 25mm in height. Unfortunately the pictures really do not do it justice. It will be available in limited numbers so get your order in early.




Taking care of my wife...

Hello all,

Sorry for my sporadic drop ins of the past few weeks. My wife took a nose dive 2 weeks ago and fractured her femur requiring emergency surgery and insertion of multiple stainless steel screws. I've spent the last 14 days in hospital whenever not at work. She's at home now but requires rest for the next 6 weeks prior to reevaluation of her case... It'll either be physio, or another surgery. Bottom line is she'll require my constant help for weeks to come limiting my time on line.





Matt Tiller becomes a Parish Constable - 1


Not unusually for a British November it was quite cold and there was a definite hint of rain.
Mathew Tiller was hurrying to get home before it was dark - at 4 p.m. in the afternoon
it was already twilight.

He was a young lad of 17 years - big for his age - standing nearly six feet tall and with a
solid build. This was unusual, for in 1796 there were many young people who did not go to bed well fed.
Matt, as his parents called him was lucky that his family ran the village grocery and supplies shop -
had done so for over fifty years. They were well known and respected in the area and known by
all of the local farmers from whom they bought their meat and other essentials.

Little Wells was a village in Kent, of some 400 residents - it's nearest large neighbour was the City of
Rochester. This had about 2000 people living in it - however, because it had a Cathedral it was
rated as a City.

The village was lucky to have it's own small Church and a resident Vicar - although he also looked
after the three adjoining villages. Having a Church also brought with it the luxury of a Parish Constable -
Mr. Stokes. He had held the position for over thirty years, taking it over from his Father. He was a
greatly respected figure in the Community - and a terror to the youngsters if he caught them stealing
fruit from the farmers.

The village was mostly people who worked in agriculture - perhaps having small holdings to raise
vegetables and pigs and chickens for local sale. Apart from the Tillers small grocery shop , there was
a candlemaker , a seamstress and a local livery stable - and , of course, a smithy. Run by two brothers
Tom and John Smith, they were always busy.

Apart from all of these, there was the local pub - 'The Wells Inn '. This was a source of more trouble
to Mr. Stokes then anything else in his Parish - and earn't more then a few mentions in the sermons
of the Reverend Dolton.

Running through the centre of the village was the main road from Dover to London. The stage coaches
and their passengers would stop to water the horses at the Inn - but spent overnight when they reached
Rochester. There was always at least one coach a day - and often special post chaises that carried
people who need to travel quickly. There were also the carriages of the gentry passing through.

Alongside the main road was the village common for Little Wells and a fairly large pond. This could be more
like a small lake - particularly in Winter with the extra rain. By Right of Charter the original families in the
village had the right to keep animals on the Common and to water them at the pond.

Matt hurried to get himself home before the rain came - he was worried - but, mostly about could he find
a job anywhere away from the Grocery. He just felt there should be more in life then humping sacks and
serving people he knew. London - or, Rochester were possibilities,but he didn't know anyone in either place
and was very nervous of up-setting his family.

One of his other worries was his sixteen year old friend Mary - whose family lived in the village. The only job
they could find for her was as a scullery maid at the Inn. She had told Matt how unhappy she was with the
coarse farm labourers trying to get her to go out with them. Whilst they were not going out, they liked
each other and he kept thinking how nice it would be if he had a wage and could buy her something.


He was getting close to the village now and was passing the outer cottages. He would be passing the Inn to
get home and as he came in sight of it he could see a group of men struggling. Getting closer he could see
Mr. Stokes, the Constable, with three roughly dressed men - and losing the battle !

Matt started to run towards them to help Mr. Stokes when one of the men pulled the Constable's decorated
truncheon from his hand and struck him on the head. When they saw Matt running towards them and heard
him shouting for help - which brought people out of their cottages - they turned to run. However they
hadn't allowed for a stong seventeen year old and he just ran straight into them. Two fell over and he
grappled with the man that held the truncheon. He managed to hold the man's right arm to stop a blow and
as he struggled at least ten men of the village joined-in and held all three.

Now they had a dilemma - what to do with three prisoners - and also help the Constable who was unconcious
and bleeding badly from a head wound.

Matt had the right idea. He asked some of the older and more sensible women to wash Mr. Stokes wound and to bandage it to staunch the blood. He then suggested to the others that Mr. Stokes cottage had a special cell to
hold prisoners overnight. Matt first checked the Constable's pockets for keys and then they marched the
three men over to the cell.

Fortunately the keys workedand all three were locked in the single cell. They then returned and carried Mr.
Stokes to his cottage on an old door and put him to bed. Matt asked if someone could borrow a horse from
the livery and ride to Rochester to obtain help from the High Constable. One man - Jim Wade - an ostler at the Inn was soon on his way. It was at this point that his Mother - Mrs . Tiller arrived - having heard the story as it spread through
the village.

Having looked at Mr. Stokes, she said to let him rest - he was breathing normally. She then told her Son that
he would have to go to Rochester with the Constable, to give evidence. She had brought some bread and
cheese and gave him five shillings to be able to get back to Little Wells.

Finally, she said the Squire must be informed of this happening- something which Mr.Stokes would normally
do. She said his Father would go to the Manor House , which was about two miles away and beyond the Church.

Matt sat quietly keeping an eye on Mr. Stokes and also on the prisoners. After about five hours he heard horses
and shouting and they came straight to the door. The High Constable of Rochester - holding his official gilt
tipstaff with the Arms of Rochester - came into the small front room and asked what had happened. He was
followed by two Petty Constables, who carried decorated truncheons like Mr. Stokes.

Matt had the whole story sorted out in his mind and gave a clear account - the High Constable spoke to the
prisoners who confessed that they were deserters from the Army Barracks at Dover.

They were confined in a waggon and Matt had to accompany them. One of the village women said she would
stay with Mr. Stokes as they didn't think it a good idea to put him in a waggon. The High Constable said he
would send a Doctor from Rochester the next day.

The waggon didn't arrive in Rochester until the early hours and after locking the prisoners up in the small gaol
Matt was invited to stay with the Constable's family. He told Matt how very impressed he was with his handling
of the situation and said he would contact the Squire of Little Wells - Sir Thomas Hills.

The three men were brought before the local Magistrates and given seven years transportation to Australia.
They also rewarded Matt with ten shillings from funds for his bravery. He made his way home two days later to
find that he was the hero of the village - even the Vicar commended him from the pulpit.

This would have been the natural end to the matter - however, Sir Thomas Hills - who was also the Magistrate, asked to see Matt and Mr. Stokes, who had now recovered enough to be able to walk.

Mr. Stokes was used to going to the Manor on Parish business - however, this was Matt's first time and he was
very impressed. He wondered why one man and his wife and two children needed such a big home. However, Sir
Thomas held a title that could be passed down - and so, was an important person.

After giving all the details and Mr. Stokes telling how he had attempted to arrest the three men for stealing, Sir
Thomas asked the Constable if the village wasn't becoming a little too big for one person. The Constable
agreed and said at 53 old he couldn't chase them like he used to,

Sir Thomas said - ' I have just the solution - how would you like to have Matt as your Petty Constable ?'

So, Matt gained a wonderful job that would become his future career - and brave Parish Constable Stokes
gained an assistant. Matt was given the princeley sum of one pound a week ($1.6) and moved into the spare
bedroom at Mr. Stokes, since his wife had died five years earlier.

Watch for the exploits of these gallant two - and remember, all this took place over 216 years ago.

Long gone - but, not forgotten.

Mervyn Mitton

Mervyn Mitton


Matt Tiller Becomes a Parish Constable


Firstly, this is a genre outside of the usual Blogs and entries to be found on Forums - it is an ongoing Novel.

I have had the idea for many years to write a series of Novels on our early British Police - starting in the late
18th Century and continuing to the start of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. This is a big undertaking and one
that I have put off. However, our new blog section is now doing well, Greg is writing regularly and is interesting
and Brian has a brilliant little series coming out twice a month - and very thought provoking they are.

My story will be fictional and will start in 1796 (216 years ago). THe young central figure - Matt Tiller, will go
through many adventures over coming years and we will follow his achievements and promotions.

This is a story with author's license - I have created my own characters and the villages and Manor Houses
that they will be living in and around. You will quickly realise that I have used the area around Kent near the
Medway and near to the Cathedral City of Rochester. By not using existing villages and areas it allows the story
to move in different directions. However, the historical context is as close to reality as it can be - with this distance in time.

I am allowing GMIC to have first viewership of the story - which - If I live long enough, will extend to some 15 chapters -
each a self contained short story. When finished I expect it will be published. I retain ownership and copyright and any
similarity to persons living or, dead is co-incidental.

I am aware that to people living outside of the UK some of the story and terms may not be immediately clear -
please do not hesitate to ask questions in the Comments section.

Mervyn Mitton

Mervyn Mitton


Collecting the Periphery Part One

Collecting the Periphery Part One

Most of what we see here on the GMIC and on other military focused forums is mainstream and by that I am referring to the collecting of medals. Medals for campaigns, long service, good conduct and “been there and got the T shirt” fill online auction pages and the catalogues of dealers around the world. Interestingly there are many areas of civilian medals that seem to have gone unnoticed by the collecting world in general.

Police medals and equipment will not be included in this essay simply because I would like to concentrate on medals not dealing with keeping the peace which would, of course, include both the military and police.

The first of these non-military or police medals that comes to mind is the multitude of Red Cross medals that are available to the collector. The Red Cross, founded by Henry Dunant in 1863 in Geneva Switzerland, has been on hand to give care and comfort in all the wars since its founding as well as providing relief during times of natural disasters and carrying out first aid training to the civilian population. The collecting of Red Cross memorabilia is perhaps not as far from main-stream as I would like to take today’s discussion. I say this as not only is the Red Cross, Red Crescent, St. John’s Ambulance among others, on hand during armed conflicts but, in the case of the Red Cross, there were WWII medals, the British War Medal and Victory medals named to members of the Red Cross. An example of this from my own collection is the BWM and Victory pair named to, J. (Jeanie) Low, B.R.C.S. and a group which in includes a St. John Ambulance Brigade Medal named to Special Constable Sgt. W. (William) C. Holley, Hants (Hampshire County) S.J.A.B. 1953. Sgt. Holley served with the S.J.A.B. from 1940 to 1961. His group also includes the British Defence Medal and Special Constabulary Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Another example from my collection is a Red Cross Medal for Proficiency in Anti-gas Training named to 6938 C. Barclay who served with the Red Cross from 1938 to 1968. There is little doubt that the anti-gas training was connected with the Second World War threat of gas attack from Germany.

Perhaps one of the best examples of the close ties between the military and the Red Cross may be found in the study of post Shogunate (1868 onward) Japanese Medals. The following is a quote from “In the Name of a Living God” by Paul L. Murphy and Steven L. Ackley. If you don’t have this book and have any interest in non-government badges and medals of Imperial Japan I highly recommend you purchase one. You WILL NOT regret it.

“The forerunner of the Japanese Red Cross Society was the Hakuaisha (Philanthropic Society) which was founded in 1877 by Count Tsunetami Sano to help those who were wounded in the Satsuma Rebellion earlier that year. Japan signed the Geneva Convention in 1886 and in the following year the Hakuaisha changed its name to the Japanese Red Cross Society (Nippon Sekijujisha). It was recognized as such by the International Committee of the Red Cross on September 2, 1887.
The society is under the patronage of the Imperial family and the symbol of the society is taken from the hair pin of the Meiji Empress that featured a Pawlonia, bamboo and ho-o bird. This design and/or the Geneva cross features on all of the badges and medals of the society”.

Membership in the Nippon Sekijujisha was very common among military personnel so much so that many photos and medal groups may be found with the Red Cross Society’s medal included. In my own collection I have a photo of a soldier wearing the 1894-1895 War Medal (Sino-Japanese War) alongside the Nippon Sekijujisha Men’s Life Membership Medal. Another example, again from my own collection, is a four place ribbon bar with the Order of the Rising Sun (Kyuokujitsusho), Manchurian Incident (1931-1934), China Incident (1937 – 1945) along with the ever present Red Cross Medal ribbon. While doing research for this article I saw a group of Japanese medals and the description was of all of the military medals followed by “...and the Red Cross medal, of course”, demonstrating just how common it is to find the Red Cross Medal associated with the Japanese Military. I apologize that I cannot give proper credit for the quote above as I did not write down the source and my memory fails me on this point. If it was one of our fellow GMIC members please accept my sincere apologies.

Please watch for Collecting the Periphery Part 2 coming soon where we will travel further afield away from mainstream collecting.

Wikipedia – International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
Orders and Medals of Japan and Associate States – James W. Peterson
In the Name of a Living God – Paul L. Murphy & Steven L. Ackley
Reference to specimens – Author’s collection

Brian Wolfe

Brian Wolfe


16 February 2012

It's be awhile since I last wrote... a fair amount of things going on in both my personal and paycheck lives- to quote David Bowie, "ch, ch, ch, changes..."; some changes- ok, some changes- not so ok and, to be frank, some changes I'm having a very difficult time supporting (most of those dealing with the paycheck life). But I won't bore all of you with the details; it has, after all, nothing to do with collecting.

Though I haven't written, I have steadily posted images to my galleries. A great deal of the items have been items already in the collections but there have been a few new items... I recently had the good fortune of acquiring a couple of fairly rare RPR (Romanian) pieces: a very early, numbered Border Guard badge and an early, numbered Honoured Radioman badge. Also picked up a couple of Soviet long service medals for the KGB (the variants with the Roman numerals on the front)- I also have a 20 year Georgian MOOP medal on the way. And, as usual, I was able to score a few more PMR (Transnistrian) awards. I believe my collection in this realm might be the most complete anywhere; don't know for sure, though.

Having a little challenge with the CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) end of things. I look at what's offered on Molotuk, ru. but, as I live in the States, I can't deal there. Been trying to talk some of my dealers in that neighborhood into getting the items I want but, because they are relatively inexpensive, I don't think they want to be bothered with them. The thing is, I collect items that appeal to me... if they are valuable, great! If not, they still appeal to me and have a place in the collection. I'm really not motivated by the value so much as the enjoyment of what I (we) do. Maybe that's why I'm not a seller, per se.

Looking down the barrel at 58... it will be here on the 28th. Hmmmmm, never thought I'd make it this far. Almost didn't (Beirut '83). For those who haven't made it that far yet, I have one thing to say (and remember this), "Getting old ain't for sissies!!!". You have got to be nail-chewing tough to take the ass whippin' old age deals out; almost on a daily basis. And friends, this is the absolute truth. When you look in the mirror to shave in the morning and you see your Grandfather looking back at you, and you remember all those things he told you which you wrote off as some old geezer's crap well, friends, the chickens have come home to roost! Payback is indeed what they say it is...

OK, I'm done ranting at that which cannot be changed. Will write more later...

Greg Collins

Greg Collins