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ralstona

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About ralstona

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    Regular Member

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    New Jersey
  • Interests
    British and Indian Medals

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  1. Recent pick up. Medaille d"Honneur 1st class in Silver, Ministry of Marine and Colonies Embossed on Reverse "Incendie du 15-16 Aout 1879" (Fire of 15-16 August 1879) When I bought it I had no information on the details and neither did the seller. Still I sort of knew there was a decent chance of narrowing this one down. My research started with what I knew. A fire in 1879. I reasoned that a "Marine and Colonies" medal for a Fire was likely for a colony and not a marine issue. Even a fire on a ship would not be called an "Incendie". Then the question was ... how many fires in French colonies could have occurred on August 15-16, 1879? Not many, right? Well I was right. I found just one. The New York Times reported a ... "Violent fire that devoured 24 houses along with the ministry of the Interior, the Navy and the Post Office which were totally destroyed." Location: St. Pierre et Miquelon (France's last remaining North American colony. A tiny outpost near Newfoundland, home to the France's Cod fishing interests). Then I found this in the "Annuaire de Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon" published in 1900... https://books.google.com/books?id=kdE-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq="incendie+du+15-16+Aout+1879"&source=bl&ots=8LYfQA_WIl&sig=_a8ZaMhEQkKGGlZVXokC9sCH-WY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi9_pKS_5XdAhWKt1kKHdujCaAQ6AEwAHoECAAQAQ#v=onepage&q="incendie du 15-16 Aout 1879"&f=false "Recompenses Honorifiques" "Medaille de 1re Classe En Argent" "A l'occasion de l'incendie du 15-16 Aout 1879" Hacala, Sergent-Major du Pompiers Marsoliau, calfat (caulker) Bingo! I suppose I'll never know which of these two men earned this medal or why it was embossed with only the incident and not the name too. (Or why the "Annuaire" only printed their last names). Hacalas and Marsoliaus still live on St. Pierre et Miquelon today. Hacala is a common name there, of Basque origin (as many names are on St. Pierre).
  2. ralstona

    French Foreign Legion Medal Group

    Norvege, Afrique, France, Liberation? Not exactly sure. His Levant has "Levant" and "Levant 1925-26" Art
  3. Just heard back from Jim Kern at the Vallejo Naval Museum. "Please excuse my delay in responding to your email about your very interesting Mare Island flag. Beginning soon after the Civil War, a flag loft was established at Mare Island, purportedly to provide employment for Civil War widows. The flag loft eventually grew to make flags for the entire US Pacific fleet and (with the sail loft) also made sails, canvas boat covers, signal flags, banners, and anything else made of cloth. They also made flags for ships of foreign navies that often came to Mare Island for repairs. There were two British ships that came to Mare Island for repairs during the war, HMS Liverpool and HMS Orion. As near as I can tell, Liverpool departed Mare Island in November 1941 and Orion departed in March of 1942, so your flag could not have been from either of these ships. However, US Navy ships were constantly arriving and departing from Mare Island throughout the war, so they may have brought flags to British ships that were stationed elsewhere in the Pacific. Interestingly, before the war Mare Island even made flags for visiting German ships, as evidenced by the attached photos of a German swastika flag made at Mare island in 1936." This flag is the same large #2 size as mine.
  4. Just picked this up. Royal Navy Ensign marked "Great Britain No. 2" and "Mare Island Feb 1943" on the hoist. Flag is big (Hoist = 7.5 feet, Fly = 15 feet) A bit tattered. It is covered with old repairs. Mare Island Naval Shipyard is in Vallejo, California. The first shipyard on the west coast it was opened until 1996. There was a flag makers shop that produced ensigns for the US navy (and some Allied navies during WWII). The flag shop was staffed by 400 people and included 300 female seamstresses. They produced, among many others, the two flags that flew at Iwo Jima in 1945. I have an email in with the Vallejo Naval Museum to see if they have any more information. I believe the "No. 2" refers to the size. They made sizes 1 - 12, #1 being the biggest and 12 being the smallest. Among the Royal Navy ships repaired at Mare Island during the war were HMS Liverpool and HMS Orion. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  5. ralstona

    French Foreign Legion Medal Group

    DanEMS, yes I think that is the full entitlement. Chris, thanks. Yes I'd love to get this shown more widely. Any ideas how to do tbis?
  6. Thank you Elmer. I just got these books. Pacchiotti is confirmed as being with the 26th Regiment (they have the AVM entries for all army units in the Italo-Turkish War).
  7. Pacchiotti seems to be listed under the 26th Regiment but his rank is Zappatore. Did infantry regiments have this rank or was it only Engineers (Genio)? Maybe he was attached to the 26th Regiment? The only other 26th regiment MBVM for 27 Dec 1911 are two zappatore (including Pacchiotti), two medics, and a Lieutenant Colonel. Also the two Zappatore awarded MBVMs are from different cities (Rome and Turin) which would imply they were not in the same unit.
  8. Mustapha Kemal, Derna, Libya 1911. He was wounded in Libya in early 1912 in one of the first aerial bombardments in world history. "During the Battle of Derna on 16–17 January 1912, while Mustafa Kemal was assaulting the Italian-controlled fortress of Kasr-ı Harun, two Italian planes dropped bombs on the Ottoman forces and a piece of limestone from a damaged building's rubble entered Mustafa Kemal's left eye; which caused a permanent damage on his left eye's tissue, but not a total loss of sight. After receiving medical treatment for nearly a month (he attempted to leave the Red Crescent's health facilities early after only two weeks, but when his eye's situation worsened, he had to return and resume the treatment) on 6 March 1912 Mustafa Kemal became the Commander of the Ottoman forces in Derna. He managed to defend and retain the city and its surrounding region until the end of the Italo-Turkish War on 18 October 1912." (from the website - http://www.liquisearch.com/mustafa_kemal_atatürk/military_career/italo-turkish_war_1911–1912
  9. Thanks Paul, I must admit, I have a weakness for these when they have an Africa connection. Here's a picture of one of the 10 officer casualties from the battle at Derna on Dec. 27, 1911. Lt. Barberis served with the 7th Regiment of Infantry and earned a Silver AVM for the battle. And a postcard from the 26th Regiment's time in Derna, Libya.
  10. Just picked this up. A nice Bronze AVM for Italo-Turkish War in Libia. Named on Back: Derna 27-XII-1911 Pacchiotti, Mario The action at Derna in December 1911, saw an Italian force of 3,500 repel an attack by Turkish and Libyan forces. Ten officers were killed or wounded and 108 other ranks were killed or wounded. Turkish forces at the battle were led by Mustapha Kemal (later Ataturk). Pacchiotti's citation reads: During the combat he was always the first to rush where most serious was the danger, and fights bravely and tenaciously urging his comrades by word and example. – Derna, 27 December 1911. Pacchiotti served with the 26th Infantry Regiment as a Zappatore. Lt. Giovanni Esposito of the 5th Alpini Regiment won the GOLD AVM for this action.
  11. ralstona

    French Foreign Legion Medal Group

    I am also awaiting a copy of "Legion Etrangere a Narvik". It is coming from France and was originally published in 1945. I am hoping it may contain some specific details about my GGF. I am desperately looking for the citation for his LOH for Norway 1940. I do believe it was a combat citation. If anyone has any leads, it would be most appreciated. This is sadly one of the few pieces of paperwork that is missing from his archive. Doty's book is a great read. It is quoted extensively in Porch's history of the Legion.
  12. ralstona

    French Foreign Legion Medal Group

    Haven't posted in awhile. I have been working on the article about him recently. I just picked up a 2nd Edition of Bennett Doty's excellent memoir of his time with the Legion in Syria in 1925-26. He was a legionnaire in the 29th Company of the 5th Battalion of the 4 REI. My great-grandfather was a Sjt.Maj. with the 5th (Machine Gun) Company of the same unit (V/IV REI). The V/IV REI became the 8/1 REI in 1926). Doty's book recounts the actions at Messefrie, Ressaz and Souieda. My GGF was present for all of these. Both Doty and my GGF won the right to wear the fouragerre (CdG -TOE) "a titre personal". They both earned CdG TOEs personally as well (2 of the 110 awards of the CdG for action in Syria in 1925). Doty's was for Ressaz. My GGF's was for Messifre. The book contains a picture of Doty "just after a skirmish" in Syria wearing a dirty khaki jacket with "4" collar patches and a Casque Coloniale (Pain de Sucre). I have a picture of my GGF in Syria wearing the same collar patches and the same helmet. See pics.
  13. Thanks for the response. I had already contacted the researcher at the Malaya Volunteers Group. He is doing some investigating. He had never seen one either. I had thought about a car badge too.
  14. I picked up the badge today. A little mystery emerged. Turns out the badge has had a nicely made silver palm and lion applied over the same design underneath. It is attached with a pair of screws. I have no idea why this was done. I also don't think it is a helmet plate. It is totally flat. It may be a cross belt plate.
  15. Hello, I just bought this in an auction. Didn't pay much and was intrigued. It was advertised as Helmet Plate. It could be I suppose but I am not convinced. Its size is: Height 5 1/2", Width: 3 3/4. Questions: Is it authentic? Is it a Helmet Plate? Is it something else for a uniform? (cross belt plate, cartridge box plate) Is it not for a uniform at all? Any thoughts would be helpful. Art
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