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

  1. "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

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  2. Joan, whom I have worked with for more years than I care to think of, is in hospital seriously ill with cancer and a heart attack. Your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

    Over the years I have helped Joan research her family's military history. Her father was one of the Canadians who joined the R.A.F. in 1938. He ended up with 42 Squadron R.A.F. flying Beauforts, along with a compatriot Oliver Philpot. Both were shot down and both ended up in Stalag Luft III. Philpot was to escape with Eric Williams and Michael Codner in the wooden horse escape. Her uncle was killed October 13, 1941 with 58 Squadron R.A.F. on return from a raid on Nurenburg.

    A great uncle 464662 Pte.James Frederick Burns was killed October 26, 1917 with the 47th Bn. C.E.F. and is buried in Passchendaele New British Cemetery.




    I'm hoping Joan will pull through.

    Update April 29 - Joan died today. .

    Rest in peace, Joan


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    I have these two believe police hats, looking for help to identify where they are from. The blue with red band has tag inside "By appointment of her majesty the queen etc.

    The white hat has a typed piec of paper inside "POL WISLER HEINRICH".

    Any help would be great in finding out where these hats are from.

  3. cem's Blog

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  4. I am trying to discover if Thomas Coutts Morison's Medjidie medal is genuine. I have details of his enlistment in the Turkish Contingent in London in 1855, and I know from letters found in Australia that he served in the Crimea with Count Zamoyski's Sultan's Cossacks. I can find no record in the various London Gazettes of his having been awarded the medal but I have seen pictures of a medal which has been auctioned at various times in recent years, and it is engraved on the back with Thomas Coutts Morison, PMO (Principal Medical Officer) Sultan's Cossacks, and has been turned into a brooch. Does anyone know if the Sultan issued medal to the Contingent separately to those gazetted for British army officers? Morison's medal was part of his possessions when he died in Rockhampton, New South Wales. I suspect he may have obtained a medal and had it engraved for himself, but be interested to know if the Turks awarded any medals to British citizens in the Turkish Contingent, not gazetted in London.

  5. Dr Thomas Coutts Morison MRCSE LAC JP, son of Sir Alexander Morison, volunteered to serve as a civilian Staff-Surgeon during the Crimean War. He died unmarried in 1863 in Rockhampton in the Colony of Queensland (Australia), and apparently among his possessions when he died was a Crimean War period Order of the Medjidie. I'm looking for some information on this from the people that really know the Medjidie.

    Morison’s insignia is a silver star comprising seven triple quills with seven small crescents and five-pointed stars between them, the whole measuring 43 mm in diameter (one of the tips has been broken off). Is there any way to distinguish a 4th Class insignia from a 5th Class, just from the star?


    The gold central disc bears the Sultan’s tughra, the Royal Cipher of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I, after whom the Order is named. Around this is a gold-bordered circle of red enamel bearing the words in Arabic script for “Devotion”, “Loyalty” and “Truth” and the Islamic year 1268 AH (1852) on four red enamel plaques. There is a suspension loop present, fitted at the rear, but the entire central disc is out of position by 90º clockwise. Is this unusual, or likely to be a fault in the assembly of the original medal?

    This insignia lacks the typical suspension (a red-enamelled crescent and star suspender with green enamelled edges); this has been removed and the star instead has a horizontal brooch mount on the reverse. The reverse bears a fitted concave silver disc which is engraved to: “Thomas Coutts Morison Staff Surgeon P.M.O. Sultan’s Coʃsacks”, which I think reflects the writing style of the day.

    Any comments or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
    Paul

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    I have a group of medals to a Trooper Churchill of the 2nd King Edwards Horse, one of the medals is a privatly awarded medal, which I assume is from the Regiment as the ribbon is their colours. The inscription on the medals reads for bravery in the Field in Irland the other 2 medals are the war and Victory medals to Sgt. Churchill. I have been able with some help from a friend to possibly put him in Dublin during the Easter Rising but can find no real mention of his name.
    Can anyone help with any information please.

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    My great-grandfather is Lukas Kirsten. His daughter is Marianne v. Watzdorf-Kirsten, my grandmother. His grand daughter, Angela Schroeder, is my mother. My name is Alexandra Kennedy Corwin.

    I have photos/documents left to me in albums. I have his sword.

    If anyone knows of medals and so forth linked to him or know of descendants, please let me know. When my grandmother migrated to the US in the 60s, she left Germany behind. I do not know of any other family.

    here is Lukas Kirsten's information:

    LukasKirsten: born 21 May 1874 Crimmitschau, killed in action 10 December 1917 near Warneton,

    Saxon cavalry officer, participant in China Campaign 1900-01 and Southwest Africa 1904-06

    Sekondeleutnant
    Oberleutnant 28.6.99 C
    Rittmeister 15.9.05
    Major zD

    Went to zD status from Ulanen Rgt 21 19 January 1914. Recalled for WW1 and served in infantry units as a battalion and regimental commander, being KIA as commander of Saxon Inf Rgt 177.

    Received the Saxon St Henry Order-Knight for China 19.1.1901, as well as Prussian Crown Order 4X and Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 3 with War Decoration and Japanese Order of the Rising Sun 6th Class. He may have received his Italian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus-Knight for China.

    In Southwest Africa he received Saxon Merit Order-Knight w/Xs and Prussian Red Eagle Order 4 w/Xs.

    Until 1914: Saxon XXV Years Long Service Cross

    WWI: both classes of Prussian Iron Cross, Swords to Saxon Albert Order-Knight 1st 19.10.15 (when he got a Knight 1st WITHOUT swords—must have been before the war started in 1914) and Crown to that grade 27.6.16. Turkish Imtiaz Medal in Silver with Sabers Bar was apparently a “courtesy” award from a visiting Ottoman Pasha.

    Commander grade of the Saxon Order of Saint Henry 12 October 1916 as commander of Saxon Infantry Regiment 103.

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    pmuehleis
    Latest Entry

    Being new to this site please excuse for anything that may be repetitive. I have some clarification concerning Reinhold Ritter von Benz. As a member and later leader of Jasta 78b his military career started in the infantry. I have seen some posts which suggest his (Blue Max ) Maximillian Joseph Orden was awarded posthumously. In fact it was awarded on Sep. 28,1915 as Leutnant 17. Bayerische Infanrieregiment. This after already receiving the Military Merit Order of Bavaria. Due to serious wounds he was unable to continue service in the infantry. Later he joined the air wing of Jasta 78b. One of his early planes was an Albatross then later a Fokker D VII Nr. 4461/18. This is the aircraft in which he was shot down and killed on Aug 13,1918, near Vaxainville, France.
    He was buried in the military cemetery at Reillon, France. There is some suggestion on various internet sites that a Fokker D VII with a "K" inside a white star is that of Karl Kallmunzer. This unfortunately for all you model enthusiasts is incorrect. Karl Kallmunzer was indeed a member of Jasta 78b and he did have a "K" on his plane but but it was on an Albatross and it was in a circle. He was in fact shot down in that same plane. You may ask why someone with the name Benz would have a "K" on his plane. This is information only his family would know and therefore the confusion. The "K" on Benz's plane was actually for his girlfriend Katie.
    How do I know ? He was my grand uncle and his papers and photos are now all in my possession. I have 4 photos taken during different times of him and his plane, a group photo of him with the rest of Jasta 78b as well as several documents of his death , and burial.
    I hope this helps. I know some of you have been looking for more info on Jasta 78b.

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    Hi,
    I have in my possession a half pint pewter mug given to my grandfather. It is engraved with the words: Branscombe contingent H. Hansford 1914-1919.
    It appears that these mugs were given to the men of Branscombe village, devon when they returned from the war. They were also given to the families of those that didn't return.
    If anyone knows anything about these mugs or has seen one please contact me.

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