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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Brian Wolfe

Senior Moderator
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About Brian Wolfe

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    Senior Moderator
  • Birthday 06/08/1948

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  • Gender
  • 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. Avatar Names; Why?

    Thanks for your comment Ulsterman, All good points from the membership and ones I would agree with completely. I recall that incident you have mentioned, not the high note in the collecting world to say the least. Using my own name certianly makes me think twice about blurting out some comment that I would regret later. On the other hand if I decided to "take on" a knob such as the one you mentioned it would be without reservatiion. For the most part those on the internet out to do harm are rarely worth the time to get into a confrontation, I just can't be borthered to put in the effort as they are not worth my time. Regards Brian
  2. Hi fellows, I’m sure there were many examples of use what you have the budget is tanked in the past. I really like my “Canadian” helmet even though it is in the poorest condition of the rest of the collection. Regards Brian
  3. When I first read this post I thought to myself that I have a Canadian police helmet and photo that the members in this section might find interesting. It has literally taken me this long to locate the photo to show as proof of sorts that the helmet and badge belong together as one can alter any helmet to support a claim. I should not refer to this post as a “claim” as I am not claiming anything only showing what I have in my collection regarding the helmet plate versus the hat badge in use. I agree with everything that has been said here by people obviously more informed than me. No, I am not stroking egos here, just facing facts that I am in unfamiliar waters. So please be kind when you respond as I propose no argument. A number of years ago, possibly more than a decade past I was in an antiques shop in Barrie Ontario and saw a police helmet with a Canadian police hat badge attached. At lease I assumed it was a hat badge as it was too small to be a helmet plate. Beside the helmet was a photo of a police officer standing beside what I believe is a 1925 Studebaker. The officer is wearing a police helmet with a small badge, perhaps a hat badge affixed to the helmet. The dealer made no claim as to the helmet’s authenticity and from our conversation it was clear he knew nothing about police collectables, nor really cared for that matter. The photo he claimed came from St. Catharines Ontario and the police sign on the door supported this. He did say that the helmet came from the same “pick”. I hope the photo of the officer is clear enough to make out the badge. I am not sure why the helmet looks white perhaps a trick of the camera; my background in the helmet photo was white so as you can see cameras can be fooled. Perhaps St. Catharines Police Dept. used white helmets in the 1920s I have not researched that as I placed the photo in a box shortly after I purchased it and it has remained there ever since. The helmet was not over priced however the photo did not come cheaply at over four times the price of the helmet, making the helmet almost like a bonus for purchasing the photo. The helmet appears to be of an older style from its side profile as well as the inner parts being only a leather sweat band and attached chin strap. There are attachment holes and a faint outline of a former helmet plate from times past. If this is an original helmet then I would speculate that the helmet plate may have even been Victorian and after she passed way it was replaced, eventually, with a Kings Crown hat badge; perhaps as a money saving measure. I would think the forage hat with its smaller badge was at least in the planning stages as a replace the old helmets by the early 1920s. I hope you all find this interesting even though it really proves nothing unless it is that in collecting almost anything can happen. Regards Brian
  4. Avatar Names; Why?

    Hi Chris, "I use my pic as I am the lord of the rings :-) " And yet your wife has the ring that rules them all. You make a very good point and perhaps that alone condones the use of avatar names. The internet is full of people hiding behind their avatars while launching an attack on another's view point, religion or race. This was the point I was going for however your view is quite valid. From now on I am changing my avatar name to, "Not Brian Wolfe, some other guy not to be confused with the Brian Wolfe you might think it is". Too long? Regards Brian (or maybe some other fellow)
  5. Avatar Names; Why?

    Hi Paul, Thanks for your comments. I do agree with you and my comments were in regard to the Internet in general, especially social media. Here you will be stopped short if you get out of line, however this is not the case for much of the internet. I think forums are pretty good on the whole to keep insults and ignorant comments in check. My issue is with those who hide behind an avitar name mainly because they are to cowardly to take ownership of what they say. Personally I don't really care if people use avitar names as long as they remain respectful; after all, what's in a name anyway; a rose by any other name, so-to-speak. Regards Brian
  6. Avatar Names; Why?

    Avatar names; Why? What I would term as odd or bizarre human behaviour has always interested me and the search for why people act as they do has not only fascinated me but at times eluded my powers of comprehension. The person who said that there is nothing as funny as a barrel of monkeys obviously was not, at the time, situated in a room full of people. Since politics and religion are subjects non grata here on the GMIC, and rightfully so, I will resort to the plethora of other subjects that I personally find irritating; subjects upon which I obsess. Straight off I will say that I do not tend to keep up with modern lingo as used in today’s internet communications. Using the letter “n” to represent the word “and’ or ISO (in search of), IMO (in my opinion) and BRB (be right back) simply seems as foreign to me as putting maple syrup on your French fries (chips for those of the British persuasion). This brings me to today’s rant, so get ready as this is probably going to ruffle some feathers. Why do people insist on using avatar names? For the most part I am talking about avatar names on the internet in general, You Tube, as an example rather than a forum such as ours. Since I have admitted that I do not keep current on modern terms perhaps I just don’t know what the term avatar means. Upon looking it up I found that in Hinduism it is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth: an incarnate divine teacher. Well, this could not be the definition I am searching for as we are not allowed to talk about religion here and from some of the comments on the internet I can ascertain they not likely come from any form of divine teacher. The next definition given was from the computing “world” as, “an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet, etc”. Ah, there we have it a suitable definition from which to work; something that represents a person on the Internet. Of course I knew this ahead of time but why say something in a few words when a whole paragraph will do (besides I am paid by the word). Again I will reiterate that I have no problem with avatar names here on the GMIC as we do have very good controls regarding ungentlemanly behaviour. Over the years we have seen a few members “cautioned” as to their conduct. However, on the Internet in general that seems to be exception rather than the norm. I never use an avatar name whether here or commenting on the Internet because if I am willing to put something down in writing I am will to stand by what I say. If I am incorrect in my convictions I do stand to be corrected followed by my apology or expression of gratitude whichever is appropriate. On the other hand I don’t see myself as an offensive sort of fellow, I have never found pleasure in kicking a cat for example, not even unintentionally. There was an incident a number of years ago when one of our daughters arrived home late from her part-time pizza shop job sans her door key. She decided that sleeping in the car was a poor choice and rang the door bell to awaken someone to let her in. This resulted in my rushing through a darkened house to let her in before she woke the whole household. I should mention that we had a cat; a cat whose name evolved in proportion to his girth to the point where the kids aptly renamed him “Fat Tony”. Fat Tony was fast asleep, his natural state when not gorging himself on Fancy Feast, or some other over-priced cat food. Unknown to me this lump of a cat was transfixed, due to his preponderance, to the floor in line with my path of travel. My left foot apparently just missed him however my right foot made contact with the force of a footballer (soccer player for those of you of the North American persuasion). As a science lesson this is an example of Newton’s First Law of Motion, sometimes referred to as the Law of Inertia, “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. Just to clarify, the “object at rest” and the “unbalanced force” represent the lethargic and comatose Fat Tony. The “object in motion” being yours truly. Imagine, if you will, a football player taking a penalty kick or attempting to kick a field goal (depends on your definition of football) and the ball is replaced by an anvil. Suffice it to say that the object in motion, in this case, still stayed in motion though transformed from a vertical state to a horizontal one in a split second. Thus ends the science lesson and the answers the question as to why you never kick a cat, or at least not Fat Tony. To return to the question at hand, why do people use avatar names? Do they feel more at ease giving an opinion and if so what is it about expressing their ideas that frightens them. Is it giving free range to rude and crass people? Well, sometimes. Perhaps it much the same as using an avatar picture, such as the Canada General Service Medal’s reverse that I use. It hints that I am a Canadian and it is a bit of fun, after all life without a little whimsy would be most dull. At times I find it awkward to respond using the avatar name as it is just too impersonal, therefore I usually simply make the response and live with the feeling that I have failed to act in a polite manner by not starting with “Hello X2bKl9”, or whatever their avatar name happens to be. I would like to see the use of a first name in the closing of an entry or response with “Regards (your first name here)” as an example. At least a reply could be made to what would appear to be a real person and not some sort of Bot. I do hope I used that Internet term for Robot correctly, in today’s terminology I run the risk that this is somehow an offensive term. If so I apologize. By now you must have realized that I had nothing for this month’s blog but I hope this amused you somewhat and gave some folks pause to think. Regards Brian (a real person not an Internet Bot).
  7. Hoarder to Historian

    That's a good one. No there is no patent pending and the copyright, as always, is quite vauge at best. We are working on water proofing these shoes with the use of two plastic grocery bags and two elastic bands to hold them on the shoes. This will also be available in our gift shop along with the nifty rain pouncho made from a large plastic garbage bag; plus sizes will also be offered made from yard waste bags. Here's a warning. Once you get them made "off shore" and approach the "big box stores" they will want to give you a skew number and an order for thousands. Be careful because if you fill the order without an iron clad contract spelling out the cost to them, which they will ignor, then they will tell you that they will only offer you 25% of the agreed upon price. You will then find out the only part of that iron clad contract that seems enforcable is the part where you can only sell to that particular chain. Better to flog them on the internet or Shopping Channel. We, here at the Home Office are happy to sell them through the gift shop. Good luck with your venture. Regards Brian
  8. Hoarder to Historian

    Thank you for you kind comments, it is high praise indeed. Paul, The adult size shoes should be available in the Home Office Gift Shop for Christmas. Regards to all, Brian
  9. Hoarder to Historian

    Hoarder to Historian One of the types of articles I absolutely distain are the “personal journey” stories with some sort of life changing message at the end. The only thing intentionally placed at the end of one of my blogs is a full stop. That’s a “period” for our American friends. I actually say “full stop” just to irritate my Canadian friends who insist on speaking like Americans, which is alright if that’s what you are going for. I said it was “alright” with one exception. One of my all time favourite modern actors is Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor who has brilliantly brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, “Sherlock Holmes” into the twenty-first century. As an open letter statement to Mr. Cumberbatch, please, please do not attempt an American accent as you did in the movie Doctor Strange. Listening to him announce that he (his character) was an Am-air-ik-an was painful. It makes me wonder what Americans ever did to him. To get back on track, while I was making notes for this blog I suddenly realized that the topic was pretty much about my own journey in collecting. As I have said I really dislike those types of articles so I will end this blog with a tip on how you can save money to allow you to do more collecting rather than some hippy-like transcendental useless spiritual advice. Yep, another public service announcement from the Home Office. I suppose you are surprised to read that I actually make notes prior to banging away on my keyboard. If you think I ramble on and on now, you should read the unedited notes. Getting back on getting back on track, see what I mean; and these are the edited results. Many of us start out collecting as hoarders, to a point. Not real hoarders such as seen on television programmes that deal with the physiological illness of hoarding but the accumulation of specific items at an accelerated rate to the exclusion of any in depth research and study. As an example I offer the short story of a fellow I knew who collected British War Medals and Victory Medals from WWI awarded to Canadians from a specific regiment. This was the same regiment he had served in during peace time just before the Desert Storm era. It is understandable why he would collect WWI medals from his old regiment and there is nothing wrong with that. Another fellow from his regiment was also trying the “corner the market” in these medals and a stiff rivalry ensued on the internet auctions between them, complete with bidding wars and heated emails between the two competitors. The fellow I knew would receive the medal or medals he had won then place them in a large zip-lock bag hiding them in the attic space under the insulation. He claimed it was to foil burglars, however, considering he left the small step ladder in the same place directly under the attic hatch it was obvious he was hiding the amount he was purchasing from his wife; a fact that I know to be the true reason. He often said that he intended to open a museum to his old regiment but in reality even a few hundred medals is not enough on their own to fill a museum. I have 210 drawers (I just counted them) filled with collectables, mostly medals and even that would make a pretty poor showing for a museum. The fact that he simply stored the medals away, out of sight and out of reach of his wife, she is quite a short lady, makes me categorize his as a hoarder. I will admit that I was in much the same category for many years then something strange (not Dr. Strange) happened. My collecting started to slow down and research started to interest me more and more. I say “strange” because as I aged my disposable income increased. I am much happier now than when I was driven by an obsession to add to the “pile”, as organized as it was. Now the accumulation of knowledge, and still adding to the collection of course, has become paramount in my obsessive little mind. Perhaps it is age or perhaps it is a simple matter of available space to house my collection, I’m not really sure. The one thing Nature and a collector agree on is that they both abhor a vacuum and will try to fill any void. Now for that money saving tip. One of the areas one can save money and therefore have more funds to spend on a collection is by doing-it-yourself. Take the high price of children’s shoes for example; they’re just little shoes so why do they cost so much? Why not make your kids foot wear in your shop; no shop then in your kitchen, as the materials are cheap and tools readily available in the average home. Take two cardboard boxes of the correct size, or cut larger boxes down to the appropriate size; use the ones your latest collectables from e$cam arrived in. Once you have them to the correct size cover them with duct tape. I used silver but it comes in black as well. If your child is a boy then adding a strip of “camo” duct tape (I used Gorilla tape) will give it that masculine look that most boys strive to achieve. If you have a daughter then duct tape also comes in bright colours as well. Take a black magic marker and draw laces on the tops of the shoes, after all we don’t want to emotionally scar the little buggers too much, and besides we are not animals. Once this is done, “Robert’s your father’s brother”, you have a nice pair of shoes, and darn sporty looking if I do say so myself. Just another public service from The Home Office...you’re welcome. Regards Brian
  10. Japanese Fieldmarshal sword

    Great photos, many thanks for sharing them. Regards Brian
  11. Help with Great East Asia War Medal in group, please

    Well, it looks as if I have finally reached "that" age; I had completely forgotten that I had posted this group before. I must admit to still be in a fog as to being able to tell if the medal in question is a replica or not, therefore I will have to assume that it is. Assumption flies in the face of good historial research but it looks as if I will have to let this one pass. Regards Brian
  12. I would like the opinion of the members here in the Japanese section regarding the group shown below, in particular the Great East Asian War Medal. I have had this group for a number of years and have always wonder if the GEAWM might have been one issued just prior to the war’s end when all existing stocks were ordered destroyed by the Occupational authorities. Thank you in advance for any assistance you might be able to extend to me. Regards Brian
  13. Responding to Paul C's Post

    Thanks for your comments. A new year is a lot like your first day on a new job. You can hold out hope that you can't possibly screw up for the first day; after that it's anyones guess. Regards Brian
  14. Remaining Objective

    One of the greatest obstacles, ignoring spelling and grammar, in the way of writing pieces related to history is staying objective. I have never made any secret that I tend to be a bit of an Anglophile, which is not the worst “phile” one can be, even though my family has been here in Canada well before Confederation and our roots are, for the greater part, German. I recall, when I was very young, being in the classroom and seeing the large pull-down maps at the front of the room showing the map of the world. The British Empire was shown in red and the rest of the world in rather different shades of “we don’t care about them” colours. I recall being told that we were to be proud of being a part of the great British Empire and will admit that the message left a lasting impression on my little mind. Strange that we tend to tell children what they think and what they are proud possibly out of fear that they won’t see it the same way once they start to develop a more analytical mind. I would have said an “adult mind” but let’s face facts what we are told as children sticks with most of us and conservation of energy being what it is we tend not to bother taxing our brains all that much. The vast majority of people took a “sure whatever” attitude towards history taught in school so it could be argued that any potential self-serving propaganda inherent in any memoirs of the war years of modern history is lost on them. Still there are those who took a greater interest and even went beyond what they were initially told to look for the truth or should I say accuracy as “truth” implies so sort of conspiracy. Gathering intelligence on a local Neo-Nazi group a number of years ago clearly showed what a little knowledge, perverted and distorted, can produce. As a side note; at one of our debriefing meetings the question was posed as to whether gathering “intelligence” on a Neo-Nazi group would qualify as an oxymoron. It was pointed out that it would be more of an “exercise in futility”. While they were anything but a joke a little levity is often welcomed. Changing the minds of certain fanatical groups is more or less an impossible task; however, our efforts certainly showed what exposure to strong sunlight and fresh air can do to stop the growth of a fungal infestation. Some other issues effecting objectivity is around what we are told as the truth and perhaps as detrimental what we were never told. Both of these issues are often cured through the passing of time and the expansion of our horizon. As an example when I was taking some engineering courses there was a fellow student from Hong Kong who was already an engineer and was here on leave from Hong Kong Hydro and planned to return after his courses. Just to clarify I am and have never been an engineer. He related a story about a question he was once asked, by a fellow student, soon after he came to Canada. He was asked what he thought about the Opium Wars (First Opium War 1839-1842, Second Opium War 1856- 1860). He told me that he was absolutely dumb-founded at such a question and had to admit that this was the first he had heard of such events. At the time there was no mention in any school history books regarding either conflict. There is no doubt, in my mind, that this was not simply an oversight but purposeful omission, possibly for political reasons. The second point is in what we are actually told compared with what actually took place or rather why certain events took place. Two good examples, from World War Two, would be the raid on Dieppe and the bombing raid on the island of Heligoland. The Raid on Dieppe, 19 August 1942, has been shrouded in mystery by the Official Secrets Act until only a few years ago. The raid was initially and officially touted as a raid to test German strength along the so-called Atlantic Wall. The raid was quite costly in lives and material with a total of 3,623 either killed, wounded or taken prisoner out of the 6,086 involved in the action. It was only after decades that the real reason for the raid was made available to the public. The raid itself was a diversion staged in order for Military Intelligence for secure a working example of the German Enigma coding device. Unfortunately the machine had already been moved out of Dieppe and to make things even worse they were planning on adding another coding disk, in the near future, to make their messages even more secure. Another example of the reasons for a raid being kept secret was the 1,000 plane bombing raid in a small German island named Heligoland on April 18, 1945. The reason given in the post mission briefings was that there was a need to completely destroy the last remaining German planes and the submarine pens located there to prevent any last minute suicide raids by the German personnel stationed there. This seemed odd to many who took part in the mission as the island had been cut off completely earlier on and the fuel for any such retaliatory strikes unavailable. The cost of the raid was nowhere as great as the Dieppe Raid with 3 Halifax bombers being lost due to malfunctions and not enemy fire. As an aside; I personally knew two independent witnesses who saw two of the planes go down over the sea. The planes were “stacked” one above the other in waves, the upper plane hit an air pocket or down draft and was forced down directly on the bomber below. These two witnesses, both in separate bombers watched as the two planes spiralled, still one on top of the other all the way down into the sea below. There were no survivors. The true reason for the mission was to deny the Soviets any possible access to the submarine pens in the post war era. The continued bombing of the island until 1952 as “practise” can be better understood in the context of, if you want to blow things up then better on your neighbours land than your own. However, we are not here to judge history just to record and hopefully try to understand it. I suppose the two examples above could fall under things that frustrate and impede the historian in attempting to report on history accurately rather than preventing objectivity. The necessity to keep certain information from the general public has long been a reality and the current trend by today’s generation for “totally transparency” is rather naive and potentially dangerous to the security of nations. A good historian avoids stating personal views so I would instruct the jury to disregard that last statement...has that ever actually worked. In some cases the history of an action may have been recorded for posterity based on the facts given and the judgement of those recording the incident. A good example could be post-coital regret, officially known as post-coital triestesse (PCT) or dysphoria (PCD) which in extreme cases could result in charges of sexual assault. If the accused is found guilty then he could very well be labelled as a sexual offender for life; even though the original act was completely consensual. Unlike post-matrimonial regret where the end result is coitus of an ongoing monetary expenditure nature. In retrospect, looking over this blog, I have arrived at the conclusion that I don’t really have a problem with maintaining my objectivity; my problem is remaining serious for any length of time. Happy New Year to all who read my blogs and for those who don’t; well, what I can say that would matter, you’ll never see it anyway. Regards Brian
  15. On the Lounge Paul asked the question, “What is the dumbest things you ever did” under the heading “Let’s liven things up around here” in the Lounge. This is an excellent topic and one which allows for many different styles of response from serious to the jocular. Yes I used the word “jocular”; only because it is a word you seldom see these days, much like “happenstance”. Don’t worry I won’t use “happenstance” today but only because I couldn’t figure out where to work it in. There’s always tomorrow. When I thought about Paul’s question and the possible real life responses I said to myself (I do that a lot the older I get) this sounds like it would require something embarrassing, a mistake or a regret from one’s past. My personal philosophical take on this is that if one is happy with one’s life or circumstances then can you really say that anything that transpired in your personal history was a mistake. If you could go back and make changes to your past then it could and very likely would have dire consequences on the present and therefore the future. If you said that you are not happy with your present circumstances then you could make those changes by going back to school, for example. I noticed that some of the members have done just that after retirement from their careers. This thinking rather ruled out “mistake” from any response I might undertake to write. I do wish I could have made some sort of humorous reply, however a lack of any appreciable sense of humour on my part would make that an impossibility. I blame a lack of comic ability on my rather stoic British/Germanic upbringing, which at times was rather Dickensian in nature, to say the least. That old “stiff upper lip” and “staying the course” or simply “man up” has left me the rather bland and linear thinking person you see today. Just so you know, we anal retentive people tend to prefer “linear thinking” as a term to describe ourselves. I was left with regret as a subject for a response but felt that this would only serve to “pirate” Paul’s post somewhat; therefore, I decided to write this message as a blog. Around Christmas time, several years hence, a very good friend of mine passed away. We were extremely close and shared in numerous adventures including hunting and fishing as well as just “hanging out” together. His passing had a devastating effect on me, not so much that he is no longer with us, which is a deep sadness, but because I never got to tell him something I think was very important. Perhaps you know what I mean. There never was a correct time or place; we were either having too much of a good time to possibly ruin the moment or the moment was too serious or sad to bring up what might have been an awkward subject. Now my close friend has gone to his grave and I can never tell him that which I agonized over for many years. I so wish I had simply blurted it out regardless of the situation or the atmosphere of the moment. Sadly my dog died never knowing he was adopted. Merry Christmas everyone! Regards Brian