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Harry the Mole

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    My name is Steve Corbett. My user name was my nick-name in the army. I served in the Royal Artillery from 1969 to 1974. I did two tours of ops in Northern Ireland. I am interested in all aspects of military history, and have recently wrote a book on my experiences in Northern Ireland. I am retired, and keep myself occupied with either my amateur radio or all my other hobbies.
  1. I came across this image while I was trawling through a privately owned collection of WW1 photographs and diaries last Sunday. It brought to mind the very recent case of the British Army Major who had his MC taken off him for falsifying combat reports into the incident.
  2. Harry the Mole

    Somme related items

    Further to the diaries, he served throughout the war. His diary entry for 1th November 1918 is extremely revealing. He comments about being informed at 01.00 a. m. that the armistice will commence at 11.00 hrs. There is reference to how they advanced to a village and the Nuns made soup for the lads. Also mention of a French soldier being sniped by two 'Bosche' at 10.55 a. m. and how he felt that the Frenchman would probably be the last man to be killed in the war.
  3. Harry the Mole

    Somme related items

    Apologies, I've not been on the forum for a while. But the other day I went to view the diaries of a gentleman who served in the Accrington Pals. His granddaughter had got in touch with my publisher after he had placed an appeal in the Warrington Guardian the other week. My publisher was (is) working on a pet project of his to bring out a book entirely based on the diaries and letters of soldiers (provisionally) from the Cheshire and Lancashire area's. I went down to view the diaries the other day, and what an experience! I picked up one of the notebooks and opened it at a random page. It just happened to be dated 1st July 1916, 7.30am. The Pte went into detail about: "Our Battalion got over the parapet and advanced just as if they were on parade," I strongly suspect that the entry was actually written on or around the4th July, because he details the casualties - between 500 to 600 dead and wounded, and of his Company Commander being killed in the German trench. He then describes how the injured kept turning up over the next few days after... "crawling back off no mans land." The next entry is for the 5th July. none of this material has ever been seen before. After I contacted my publisher and told him of the contents, he agreed with me that this should be a book in its own right.
  4. Harry the Mole

    Whizz bangs and Jack Johnsons ... nicknames

    There is also the well-known 'Big Bertha' or 'Fat Bertha as she was also known. If I remember correctly, this was also a Skoda of the type used at Liege to put the forts out of action.
  5. Here's an earlier Jager zu Pferde I obtained last February. It was completely covered in a layer of rust, but it cleaned up rather well. There is evidence of the wearer being caught in an air burst. The larger hole looks to have been caused by a shrapnel ball - part of which continued inside and went through the liner. There are also several needle-size punctures too. I doubt if the wearer would have survived! Does anyone have any thoughts about the headless Wappen? Evidence of anti-German sentiment? De-'Kaiserfied' perhaps?? Steve. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15217-0-54573400-1399632242.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15217-0-77590400-1399632255.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15217-0-01693200-1399632261.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15217-0-84396100-1399632270.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15217-0-16025800-1399632278.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15217-0-10084200-1399632237.jpg
  6. Harry the Mole

    ww1 uniform ?

    Cap badge is the Machine Gun Corps. I have only ever owned one example of a known (and dated) WW1 tunic, so my knowledge on the subject is limited. But the cut of the tunic around the neck fastening seems a little odd?
  7. Quite a while ago I spotted a set of medals being offered for sale. The set were to a member of the MGC who had been awarded the MM for his part in the battle of Arras in April 1917. Included with the WW1 trio were his cap badge for the 1/6th Black Watch, and his cap badge and shoulder titles for the MGC. There was no explanation given for the missing MM, but the seller was threatening to break up the set even further if a buyer couldn't be found. Medals are not really the kind of thing I collect. But having had a long interest in WW1 machine guns and the MGC in general, I thought it would be a shame to see the items sold off as individual lots, and I decided to purchase them to stop this from happening. The medals and badges duly arrived, rather poorly mounted in a cheap and tatty picture frame. Some research into the recipient had already been carried out, but I decided to do a little more. Private Barclay James Stewart signed up for four years service with the 1/6th Black Watch Territorial Battalion on the 7th March 1914. In May 1915 his unit embarked for France. Not long afterwards he was serving in the front line. And on the 18th August 1915 he recieved a slight GSW to the neck and was hospitalised at Millencourt. In March 1916 he was sent back to England, where he transferred to 103 Coy MGC and returned to France in Septemebr 1916. He hadn't been back at the front that long before he found himself in trouble with his unit. On the 28th October he was found to be 'Smoking while on standby in the trenches.' On the 20th November he was tried and found guilty. His punishment was five days loss of pay. On 4th December he was in trouble again for 'Losing by neglect, one set of numerals.' In April 1917 he took part in the battle of Arras, and was awarded the Military Medal which was gazetted on the 18th July 1917. On the 21st September he recieved a GSW to his leg and was hospitalised. He ended his days with 91 Coy MGC in Italy before being demobbed. I took the decision to add a quality die-struck copy of the MM to his trio before re-mounting them in a better frame. Eventually I will replace the modern ribbons with something more suitable. It would be interesting to know what became of his original MM. maybe somebody in his family still has it. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-33280900-1366211491.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-56735400-1366211527.jpg
  8. Oh my god. And here was me thinking that I had found a website for military enthusiasts that didn't hold political arguments on its pages. Maybe the name of the website should be changed. Because at the moment it doesn't sound much like a Gentleman's Military Interest Club!
  9. Harry the Mole

    Ships , anyone?

    I would hazard a guess that the submarine is actually Italian - possibly of the Pietro Calvi type of boat.
  10. My helmet is definately British! And it definately isn't military issue! The badge on the front is 'similar' to a Light Infantry badge. The label inside reads... 'WATERPROOF TROPICAL HELMET,MADE IN ENGLAND.' I saw one a while ago being offered by an Australian dealer. It had been fitted out with the fittings off a British officers home service helmet and was badged to the Cheshires. I'm quite certain it was a made-up helmet. The shape of the helmet is of a style used by the british prior to WW1. The chinstrap is just a spare I had lying around. As I said before, I don't know when the helmet was made, but I don't believe it to be a modern copy. here are a few more pictures of it. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-95162400-1365414419.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-71326100-1365414467.jpg For comparison, here is a helmet which is of the WW1 pattern - and later. This is also a private purchase helmet retailed by Stumbles & Son of Devonport. It belonged to Shipwright Commander W P Watts who served on The light Cruiser HMS Leander in the 1930's. It was purchased for him by his wife - Mrs Vera Amelia Watts on the 1st October 1930, and cost four pound 10 shillings. I obtained it last year. It is in its original japanned tin - along with the original remittance receipt. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-35821500-1365415207.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-57482400-1365415231.jpg
  11. Harry the Mole

    Hometown Memorials to WWI Fallen or Veterans

    Here is a simple memorial erected in recent years on the side of a shop in Altrincham, Cheshire. It commemorates the sacrifice made by the residents of just one small street. On this site stood Chapel Street. And from just 60 homes there were 161 men who voluteered to fight for their country. There were 29 of them who never returned. A terrible price to pay from so few families.
  12. Hi Patrick, Can't say I recall it. But I used to spend a lot of time in a militaria shop in King Street, Manchester. Again it was in a basement, and the owner was a bloke called Bernard Marsh if I remember rightly. I purchased a Wakizashi off him and was allowed to pay whatever I could afford each week. I recall it cost me £6. I also remember someone giving me a german military rifle which had resided in a coalhouse for years. It was either WW1 or pre-WW1 and in working order. I took it to Manchester on the bus. I didn't even bother to wrap it up. Nobody batted an eyelid. That was about 1962. Then of course there was the wooden shed at Shudehill Market. German officer's Pickelhauben at £5 a time. And I always remember an M36 DD Luftwaffe helmet in mint condition for 37/6d. The place was overflowing with SS regalia. Everyone I knew had german militaria in their houses which had been brought home by their fathers or uncles. I was even given a Luger when I was 8 years old. The trigger had been removed! Happy days. Steve.
  13. I used to buy the very same things in the 60's from an army surplus stores which was situated in a basement in Tib Street, Manchester. Depending on how large they actually were depended on their usage. Some were used in parachute flares. Others were used to open main parachutes used for dropping supplies. I used to be an air defence gunner on the Bofors LA 40/70 AA gun. One of our firing camps was at Den Helder where we fired at wind socks towed by R/C aircraft (Drones). We were instructed to fire at the wind socks and NOT the drones. When we 'accidently' shot them down they sometimes came to earth beneath a small parachute. Probably a bit bigger than the ones we played with though!
  14. Hi Mervyn, and thanks again for the information. I was just a little concerned about the ball. It doesn't appear to be as rounded and smooth as my other example - or others I have seen. I did like it though, and I made the purchase. did you manage to pin down the regiment for the shield I posted last week? Steve.
  15. I am by no means an expert on these matters. My comfort zone is WW1 weaponry, but in my opinion the shape of your helmet is more like the type used post Zulu wars. I think I said in your previous posting that it could be earlier than what you thought. But now I have seen a better side view I would be more inclined to go with Boer war. If you go on to this website www.buywyze.com you will see a Zulu wars helmet which has been sold. Just type in foreign service helmet when you get on the website. I have posted a few pictures of my example. It is claimed to be of the Boer War period. But to be honest I don't even know if it is genuine - although it does show signs of considerable age. The chin strap is not original to the helmet though! Steve. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-35216000-1365187368.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-42837300-1365187401.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15217-0-21826200-1365187418.jpg