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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Brian Wolfe

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About Brian Wolfe

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    Senior Moderator

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  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Medals: British and India (post 1947), Special Constabulary and a few others.
    General: Staffordshire and British Police memorabilia
    Plus odds and ends that capture my interest from time to time.

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  1. Brian Wolfe

    Why Collect? - The Best Answer.

    Thank you for your comment. So far, here in Canada, we are not under such attacks. However, as is said about many other issues, it is only a matter of time. As to that designation I must say that I am a nasty, hateful and racist individual as are most people to some degree or another (seriously I don't really see myself in those terms but isn't our own opinion of ourselves quite sterile). I would put the question to those with high PC ideals as to whether their lives could stand the scrutiny they apply to others. Whatever happened to that worn out statement, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it". A good slogan for racist groups should be, "Forget about us, please forget". Regards Brian
  2. Brian Wolfe

    Why Collect? - The Best Answer.

    Fair enough. Seems that I share that same fate as well, thanks for your comments.👍 Regards Brian
  3. Brian Wolfe

    Why Collect? - The Best Answer.

    Hmmm, that's strange as it is in print and every knows that if it is on the television or in print it has to be correct and 100% believable. Have I been wrong all of these years and if so how can I face the upcoming year knowing this? Happy New Year Regards Brian
  4. You might not have much of a life if you are working on compiling material for a book titled, My Most Memorable Games of Solitaire, or writing a blog titled. Why Collect? – The Best Answer In my ongoing quest to ascertain why things are they way they are and why people do what they do, I offer the following blog. A question often asked on forums and by people we meet who are aware that we collect is “why do you collect”. For the sake of this discussion I will stay within military collecting but the answer to that question is generic to all forms of collecting; Beanie Babies to bayonets. The classic answers to this question are quite varied and I have no doubt that some are actually truthful, or at least believed so by the orator. I should digress for a moment, which I am wont to do with more frequency than my readers would prefer. There is a tendency among us sceptics to treat many answers to this common and more or less personal question with a strong dose of cautious doubt. The Internet makes it very easy for those who may not be on speaking terms with the truth to say just about anything. There is no chance to apply lessons learned in the field such as changes in facial features or body posture to ascertain probable truthfulness or attempts at deceit. As an example, many years ago I was assisting a Sergeant in an investigation and we were interviewing a street person who had been known as a storehouse of useful information. This was a chance encounter and, in retrospect, interviewing her on the street was very poor procedure, the repercussions of this lapse of protocol is a subject for a story another day. The young lady was known by the name of “Cigarette Mary”; and she had intimate knowledge of many of the local characters. After we had written down her information the Sergeant said, “That was a very interesting story, Mary; now tell me something I can believe”. Interestingly enough she did just that which eventually led to several arrests. I will admit that I was a bit naive and didn’t pick up on Mary’s body language; however the experienced officer “had her number” as soon as she began speaking. This would have been impossible through emails and holds true not only for deceit but in cases where the truth is being related. I tell you this as many of the reasons given for collecting may sound a bit contrived yet can still be one hundred percent genuine. To paraphrase Mr. Ed Haynes, “Anything is possible and can happen; and probably has; twice in India”. People also tend to tell you what they think you want to hear. A collector’s spouse says, out of frustration, “You really think you need another old gun”, all the while thinking that funds are stretched far enough and that the collector’s an idiot. The collector in a vain attempt at transferral says, “It’s an investment for the future dear, it’s for the kids’ college fund”, even though the kids are as dumb as a bag of hammers and have no hope of attending college unless it is in a custodial capacity. He is actually saying, “Get off my back!” To which she says, “If you say so” at the same time rolling her eyes. This is “woman-speak” for “Jackass”. Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t know this as it has taken me two marriages and seven decades to decipher “woman-speak” and I still get it wrong most of the time. On the other hand it seems that womankind is born with the ability to recognize male smokescreens for what they are. By this I am saying that any reason for collecting has the potential for truthfulness or at the least the answer to the question is believed by the person delivering the response. I think it is a given that at times we all tend to give answers to questions from others in the form of what we believe they want to hear. “Oh, sorry officer, I didn’t see that stop sign”, certainly comes to mind. In truth I saw the stop sign and I am anything but sorry yet I will not hesitate to insult your intelligence with this lame excuse. Other answers such as having a keen interest in history, or an urge to preserve history, a way to honour those who serve, a great need to research and investigate are all possible valid and truthful answers. While I don’t usually buy into these statements they are still better than, “Because I am a latent psychopathic homicidal maniac”. Though that might be a quite humorous response in certain venues, not involving an official police investigation in the sudden disappearance of your business partner. The answer to the question as to why someone collects that I find hardest to accept with any degree of validity is as an investment. True some may have found that magic formula to turn “war junk” into gold, however it smacks of alchemy to my ears. Over all it is a very poor investment considering the return on your money over even a lengthy amount of time and certainly if you need to get your hands on the cash quickly...see how fast the dealer/sharks start to circle. Even the ridiculous idea of 50% on the dollar or pound would be a terrible return on investment; let alone the 20% or lower most dealers are willing to offer. Either way it’s a loss. So what is the answer to the question of why we collect, barring any of the usual fantasy answers that may actually be true in a few cases? I think the best and shortest answer in almost any case is, “I like collecting and it makes me happy”. At the end of the day isn’t that what should really matter? Happy New Year Everyone. Regards Brian
  5. Brian Wolfe

    1914 - Merry Christmas!

    Peace, so simple in concept yet so difficult to attain and maintain. Merry Christmas to you as well. Regards Brian
  6. That's a tricky question as prices vary greatly from country to country and even from dealer to dealer; auction prices realised are all over the board so I won't even try to guess about those "houses of craziness". Here in Canada I would expect to pay in the range of $800. to $1,000. (maybe as high as $1,200) from the dealers from whom I purchase my swords. Your sword has some "issues" especially concerning the missing wire wrap on the grip but I would not see that as affecting what I would expect this to sell for here. The scabbard having only one ring is still acceptable, in my opinion. From what I have seen on the Internet British prices might well be higher. I hope that helps. Regards Brian
  7. The spikes are called "langets" and I believe it helped to keep water rain out of the scabbard. I have read that they may have been used to break the opponents blade but I think that very doubtful. German made blades are not all that rare on British swords as many of the better quality blades came from Germany at this time. The British Royal family was German during this period and some German states were allied with Britain and the Dutch during the Napoleonic Wars. I would not presume to rule out a Saxon or other German state connection, all of my books dealing with the Light Cavalry Sabre of this era covers only the 1796 and variations. No mention of the 1788, which this definitely is. If I find out anything further I be sure to let you know, though at this time my "money" is on it being British. I hope other members will wade in on this question. Regards Brian
  8. Hello Dansson, I believe you indeed have a Pattern 1788 British Light Cavalry Sabre, so basically the Pattern just before the 1796 Light Cavalry, as you probably already know. The P. 1788 has a scabbard with two scabbard suspension rings which is the same scabbard as the 1796. That is not to say that this is the wrong scabbard but it is not the typical design as far as the rings are concerned however the scabbard shoe, also called the drag, differs from the typical 1788 and 1796. My guess is that this cold either be the wrong scabbard or the sword and scabbard were used by a different country other than British. Any marker's marks visible? An excellent find, congratulations. Regards Brian
  9. I would like to set the record straight regarding the 1908 (and 1912 Officer’s) Cavalry Sword being too long and unwieldy. The sayings, “Get off your high horse” and “Keep your feet solidly on the ground”, do not apply when talking about the 1908. These swords were designed to be used from horseback and for “giving point” or thrusting and never as a cutting or slashing weapon. They replaced the lance for all intents and purposes. For this use they may very well have been the best sword ever produced anywhere and at anytime. Unfortunately warfare changed drastically shortly after 1914 and the true worth of the 1908 will always remain unknown. Use in the colonies such as North West Frontier of India continued after the Great War and there were some successes in 1918 after trench warfare broken. I intend to run several posts in the Weapons area of the forum under my post title, “Let’s Talk British Swords”, dealing with the 1908/1912 after the New Year. I wrote an article on the topic for a publication earlier this year but need to reformat it in order to post it on the GMIC, so a little manipulation will be required. If anyone is interested in the 1908 or other British swords then, as they say, stay tuned. Regards Brian
  10. Brian Wolfe

    Get With the Program People

    Thank you all for your comments. For some reason your comments were not related to me through the email process we use here otherwise I would have responded sooner. Before I slam the system, I might have accidentally deleted the notices as this new computer came with updated programs and I am still getting used to them. Thanks again for your comments, it is always good to know my musings are being read. Regards Brian
  11. Brian Wolfe

    Gift Ideas

    It’s that time of the year when being a cynic and more than slightly sarcastic becomes just too easy. With the in mind I decided that I would leave the stating of the obvious hypocrisies of the season to younger cynics just starting out in their careers and make this blog more of a public service to the members. It seems that all the yearlong we answer question after question solving problem after problem as they arise then that annual question that seems to have no answer is thrown at us. “What do you want for Christmas?” The mind goes blank and all that we seems able to offer in the way of response is, “Oh, I don’t know, don’t worry about it; I’ve got everything I need.” Well, my friend, if you have everything you need you just aren’t trying had enough. I think books are one of the best gifts one can receive, if not books themselves then a gift card from a book store. With this in mind I would like to suggest four books that I believe to be most useful for the collector and history buff. I have not included prices as they fluctuate greatly from country to country and a search of the Internet will fill in any details I have forgotten. The first two are for those interested in swords. The British Cavalry Sword 1788 – 1912, Some New Perspectives, by Richard Dellar Is perhaps the best book on the market today that specializes in the British Cavalry Sword. This is one of the newer books available and at 326 pages and with lots of photos it is a wealth of information on the British Cavalry Sword. I spend a good deal of time researching British swords and cavalry swords in particular and would not want to be without this book in my library; to call it the definitive work on the subject would be a gross understatement. I have recently been in contact with Mr. Dellar and he informs me that a companion volume to this book will be ready for sale in the early part of 2019. If interested in this book you can email the author directly at http://thebritishcavalrysword.com. You will not regret this purchase and I dare say the companion volume as well when it hits the market. British Military Swords, 1786 – 1912, the Regulation Patterns, by Harvey J. S. Withers is a very good resource for the identification and study of British swords in general. The 176 page book is crammed with photos of each sword and the details of those weapons in full colour and covers all British swords including cavalry, infantry and department swords. This is perhaps the best book for any collector and especially for those who want a general and quick reference. I find myself thumbing through this book over and over when I start to research a new sword for the collection. The author also includes a price guide but I would caution the reader in using this guide for anything except museum quality specimens. The swords you will encounter at shows or on websites are worth well below the figures stated. I would whole heartedly recommend this book to any collector at any level of sword collecting or for those who occasionally encounter a British sword and would like a quick reference book. The next two books, both by D. A. Kinsley, deal with British history and may easily be found for sale on the Internet. Swordsmen of the British Empire, by D. A. Kinsley is a collection of letters and memoirs of British officers, soldiers troopers and naval personal from time periods dating from before the Indian sepoy mutiny to the Boer War. These are personal accounts of swordsmen who were there and in the thick of battle. The 630 page book, with the last 230 containing period artwork of battles is one you will find hard to put down. Mr. Kinsley’s narrative between the sections only serves to heighten ones interest and adds greatly to this fascinating volume. I would call this book an eye opener as to the effect of the sword in battle, a subject all but lost to the modern student of British conflicts. They Fight Like Devils, Stories From Lucknow During the great Indian Mutiny, 1857 – 58, by D. A. Kinsley is again a collection of letters and firsthand accounts of the taking of Lucknow from the hands of the mutineers. At 224 pages it is another book that is hard to put down once you start reading. Since these two books are firsthand accounts of the ferocity of the fighting, on both sides, there is no exaggeration through literary licence. Some of the actions are covered by two or even three different writers giving the most accurate portrayal of the fighting during this horrific struggle. This is a very easy read and like the other book noted above the narrative written by Mr. Kinsley acts to set up the next section very well and makes for a smooth almost story-like book. If you are interested in any of these books but have further questions please feel free to send me a PM and I will try to answer them as best as I can. Regards Brian
  12. Looks like Christmas arrived early at the Boonzaier house. Congratulations Chris. Regards Brian
  13. Hello David, I like the side by side images of the different obverses of the SCLS medals. Thanks for posting this photo. I am reminded of a very good friend of mine from also from Australia with whom I correspond frequently. Once in a while we will send an image that is upside down as a joke as I live in Canada. I know it is an old and quite tired joke but we still think it's funny. Thanks again. Regards Brian
  14. It has been a week since Remembrance Day and I still see people wearing their poppy, the symbol of remembrance, on their jackets, coats, hats and even toques. The poppy is to be worn from November 1st until 11:00 o’clock November 11th at which time it is to be left at the cenotaph or at least removed from your apparel. To be without a poppy from Nov. 1 to Nov. 11, for me, would be the same as being out of uniform for a service person. Of course no RSM will ream you out and I’m not allowed to do so, such is the pity of that, still there is a protocol that should be followed. One could use the excuse that you honour the fallen or those who served and are still serving all year long and that is why you are wearing the poppy long after the 11th. To that I will call “BS”. If you mean to say that every morning that you get out of bed, or not, you remember those who served then, unless yours is a recent loss of a loved one, you really need to get a life. Seeing a poppy worn weeks or months after Remembrance Day, at times even on the right lapel of a coat, makes me think that person is either the laziest person around or just completely insensitive. Following protocol honours those who served and serve as much as actually wearing the flower in the first place. I’ve seen some old farmers wearing the poppy on the side of what can only be called their “barn hat” due to the layers of filth that has accumulated there over the years. The red poppy is no longer even a shade of true red, more of a reddish brown. Oh, that certainly honours the service people; perhaps you could have some poppy patterned facial tissues or bathroom tissues made up so you can honour them all the day long, everywhere you go. True, I may have crossed the line with that last sentence however in my mind no more than continuing to wear a symbol of remembrance at the incorrect time of the year. I often wonder if extended wearing of the poppy is more a matter of a display sanctimonious self-rightness than one of respect; “Oh look at me aren’t I the pious one”. In my time I have known veterans from the Boer War, WWI, WWII and the Korean War and I never got the impression from any of them that they expected or wanted to be made a fuss over all year long. Ass kissing was never an agenda of theirs and never expected from others. Each year my wife and I attend the local cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremonies, even though neither of us still lives in our respective home towns. After the ceremony we leave our poppies on the cenotaph, returning home, usually in complete silence, deeply moved by the reverence shown by our fellow attendees and the thoughts of the sacrifice made by others, and perhaps magnified by the lone piper playing Amazing Grace. In closing, if this blog has hit a nerve, made you angry, made you think or just made me look like the pompous ass that I am, and then it was purpose served. I will not apologise for your failure to follow protocol and will sign off with this note; Get With the Program People! Regards Brian
  15. Brian Wolfe

    Present 100 Years Ago - 1918

    Thanks for your comment. Certainly not many pieces in mint condition. if any, in my collection; veterans all. Regards Brian