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Brian Wolfe

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Everything posted by Brian Wolfe

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. I would like to start this topic of British Police Headgear off with a discussion of the Custodian Helmet and it is with hope on my part that other members will add to it. It is the intention that in time all forms of British headgear will be dicsussed and displayed here. The most easily recognizable and iconic piece of police headgear in the world has to be the British Police Helmet. The Bobbies helmet of more correctly, the custodian helmet, as we know it today, was developed around the turn of the last century. Prior to the custodian helmet, the headgear worn by British Police resembled a top-hat. The reason for the top-hat design was to prevent the police force from being mistaken as a Para-military group. One account that I have read suggests that the design for the custodian helmet was influenced by another iconic piece of headgear, the German Pickelhaube. I'm not convinced of the German pickelhaube connection. As a fellow member of the GMIC and the author of the book, "The Policeman's Lot" by Mervyn Mitton, states on page 118 of his book, "The top-hat was worn for 34 years, but, in 1863, a new style was tried experimentally, based on the military helmet of that period, and from 1865 this became the standard headgear". In support of this hypothesis I offer the work of another author, also a member of the GMIC, Stuart Bates, who states in his book, "The Wolseley Helmet In Pictures From Omdurman to Alamien", by Stuart Bates with Peter Suciu, the following. "The origins of the Wolsely helmet are shrouded in mystery although it appears, on the photographic record, first in the 1896-98 campaign in the Sudan". To my way of looking at this the Wolsely helmet certainly was designed before the suggested date by the photographs of 1896-98, therefore the design dtae for the custodian helmet has a military contempory already in the United Kingdom upon which to base the design, without the need to use the German pickelhaube as inspiration.
  4. Japanese Fieldmarshal sword

    Great photos, many thanks for sharing them. Regards Brian
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Hello Gents, I have just received a Royal Army Temperance Medal and would like to know more about it. Of course when I say I "received it" I mean I purchased it for my collection and was not awarded it for any act of temperance on my part. After reading Chris' post on "Whiskey....why Whiskey" I am not sure many of our members would have qualified for this medal even if they were serving "back in the day". Would any of the members know the time period when this medal would have been awarded. I believe it is Victorian. The back has a Hallmark which I believe indicates it is made of sterling silver. It would have been nice if there were other Hallmarks which would have given me more information. Is the ribbon correct? I can see it is not the original but is it even correct? Thanks for any assistance you can give me. Cheers Watch and Be Sober! Brian
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Pakistan’s General Service Medal Throughout the history of modern warfare most countries have awarded medals to their military personnel for service during times of war. In the past, major wars were often defined by one decisive battle. At times that final battle defined the whole war, as in the Battle of Waterloo, for which the British, among others, struck a medal. In time, as conflicts became shorter and more isolated to specific brief campaigns and/or punitive raids, there was still a need to recognize the service by the military. The striking of a separate medal for each small conflict would have been too expensive and the resulting massive groups of these campaign medals being too heavy to even wear on a uniform. The answer was to issue a General Service Medal and affix bars or clasps to the ribbon for each campaign. Most countries have implemented a general service medal and Pakistan is no exception. The general service medal of Pakistan is called the, Tamgha-i-Difaa In the photo below we see the obverse and the reverse. The Clasps As we look at the different clasps (or bars if you prefer) please note that I have tended to stay away from the usual list of casualties and loss of material and focused more on the individual conflict itself along with a brief overview of the actions. I have also attempted to temper the view of the conflicts, resulting in these clasps, to as much of a neutral attitude as possible rather than attempting to weigh the views of both sides (Pakistan and India) and then draw an uneducated conclusion; knowing full well the difficulty of either side to remain completely objective and unbiased. Kashmir 1948 This clasp was awarded for service during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48, also known as the First Kashmir War, which was fought over and in the Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu. Muslim tribal militias backed by the Pakistani Army crossed the border claiming it to be needed to quell a rebellion in the Princely State. Originally this was a conflict between the Princely State and the Muslim Militias, however as Pakistan took an ever greater part in the action the Hindu ruler, Hari Singh, fearing a Muslim uprising, requested assistance from India. In return he agreed to join the Union of India. After several engagements between India and Pakistan the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, requested the UN to intervene and a cease fire was arranged in December of 1948. The war resulted in India claiming the bulk of the area which included the regions which were best suited to agriculture and also containing the largest percentage of the population. Dir Bajaur 1960-62 After the creation of Pakistan in 1947 several small areas near the Afghanistan border such as Bajaur and Princely States such as Dir remained independent though with agreements which loosely tied them to Pakistan. Shortly after these agreements were signed armed insurgents funded by Afghanistan started to infiltrate these areas. The goal of these tactics was to drive the areas, in this case, Dir and Bajaur, to seek assistance from Afghanistan and thereby secure the areas under Afghanistan’s rule. For several months the forces of these small independent states resisted the insurgents which tried the patience of the Afghanistan government causing them to send in their regular army. This in turn caused the ruler of Bajaur, the Nawab of Khar, to request assistance from the Pakistani Army. The Afghani Army was forced to retreat and the Pakistani military built forts along the border and made a commitment to station troops permanently in Dir and Bajaur, along with the other areas and states along the border. This whole area is now under Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) agency. Rann of Kutch 1965 The Rann of Kutch is an area along the border between Pakistan and India in the Indian State of Gujarat. Rann itself is a low area on the Arabian Sea coast and alternates between a salt flat and a tidal basin. This disputed area was part of the border negotiations and in 1960 it was agreed that since there had been no agreement reached that the area would be left as it was until future discussions and a resolution could be reached. In 1965 Pakistan moved American supplied tanks into the area, under protest from the United States; the protests were, of course, ignored. The reasons for this move on the part of Pakistan was to test the American resolve that armour supplied to Pakistan would not be used to attack Indian territory. A more tactical reason for this decision was to attract Indian forces from the North and away from Kashmir where attacks had been planned by Pakistan in the near future. India first noticed increased Pakistani Border Police patrols probing deeper and deeper into India and followed by the establishment of a line of forts, again well within India territory. Pakistan was very confident in their actions based on what they viewed as a demoralising defeat of Indian forces by China in 1962 which would make India reluctant to engage in another war anytime soon. The Indians were not about to suffer another humiliating defeat and counter-attacked. In the end of this five month long war (April to August) a tribunal of the UN was requested by both parties and a settlement reached. The small gains by Pakistan, of Indian territories, gave them confidence that they could defeat India in a full scale war. This would prove to be a huge misinterpretation of the Indian resolve as will be seen next. Kashmir 1964-65 Pakistan and India were once again to see conflict in Kashmir in1965 for what would become to be known as the Second Kashmir War. The war itself was the end result of several border skirmishes and was, for the most part, carried on along the border of the two countries. The UN stepped in after five months of intense fighting mandating a ceasefire between the two countries. As in 1948 (First Kashmir War) it was an issue of control of the area of Jammu and Kashmir this time with thousands of Pakistani soldiers, dressed as local inhabitants, infiltrating the area. The local inhabitants, rather than siding with the Pakistanis alerted the Indian government to what was taking place and India responded by crossing into Kashmir to engage the enemy. After a back and forth slogging match, escalating from infantry engagements to armour then air strikes, India decided to try a different tactic as both sides seemed to be caught up in a never-ending conflict. This tactic was to open up another front in the Pakistani Punjab. The resulting second front drew Pakistani forces away from the first front in Kashmir to engage the enemy on this new front; resulting in a slight relief of the pressure on Indian forces in Kashmir. Even with the new front and the relocation of some Pakistani forces to the Punjab the war itself was still in a state of virtual stalemate. In the end India held more of Pakistan’s territory (about 700 square miles) than Pakistan did of Indian territory (approximately 200 sq. miles). In a further reflection of the 1948 War India held the more agriculturally significant land while Pakistan gained mostly desert areas. This conflict is an interesting study in what can take place when miscalculation, false assumptions and lack of intelligence gathering takes place. The Pakistanis believed that the indigenous population, being predominately Islamic would support any insurgence by Muslim Pakistan. This turned out to be a huge miscalculation based on pure speculation. India in turn failed to monitor the area that had proven to be a sore spot between the two nations for years and thereby allowed the infiltration of thousands of Pakistani soldiers. Pakistani military leaders were over confident in the misconception that India would be defeated in a rapid single strike. Perhaps this may have actually worked, however they were discovered before any such action could take place. In addition to this Pakistan did not consider that Indian military planners would open a second front and their lack of foresight and under-estimation of India’s military minds caused the withdrawal of the much needed men and material from the Kashmir front to strengthen the new front in the Punjab. Perhaps in defence of Pakistan it should be noted that there appeared to be an air of caution on the part of Pakistan that this should not escalate into a full blown war between the two nations. It is speculative to suggest that this fear of escalation may have played a part, no matter how small, in Pakistan’s political and military leaders not pressing the engagements harder than they did. This last paragraph is offered only as speculation and the reader is encouraged to research deeper into the Kashmir Wars to draw their own conclusions. Siachen Glacier 1984 (to present) The Siachen Glacier area lies in Northern India and borders India, Pakistan and China. India and Pakistan both claim sovereignty over the region and this resulted in India in1984 launching a large military operation that resulted in their gaining control of this area ever since. Since 1984 there have been many skirmishes between Pakistani and Indian forces but, as yet, no major battles or war. This area is perhaps the most inhospitable on the planet to attempt to carry out military operations. With both countries maintaining a permanent military presence there have been more casualties caused by the harsh conditions than from enemy engagements. This is due to the Siachen Glacier area being 20,000 feet above sea level. Interestingly enough both sides would like to withdraw from the area and plans were under way by India to do so. However due to Pakistani incursions during the 1999 Kargil War [see below] these plans were terminated. This leaves the Siachen Glacier the highest altitude in the world where an ongoing military stand-off is taking place. Access is so difficult that, other than helicopters, both sides still find themselves relying on mule transport. Indian medals can be found with the recipient’s regiment given as, ASC AT (Army Service Corps, Animal Transport). [ 1999 Kargil War: Fought between India and Pakistan from May to July, 1999, once again in an area of Kashmir. Pakistan withdrew as part of an agreement that the United States would mediate the dispute. India remains in control of the area]. I hope you found this article on Pakistan’s General Service Medal the Tamgha-i-Difaa, its clasps and their brief history interesting. Regards Brian
  12. Hello Everyone, Here are some Special Constabulary items from my collection. I'm not sure how long this will take to post so I'll just keep adding to this thread as I go. Please feel free to add your material as well and your comments are, as always, welcomed. The Special Constabulary was founded because so many police officers were signing up for military service in WWI that the authorities needed to fill the ranks. First up is a photo of a Special Constable in "uniform". Please note the armband as I will post a similar item later in this thread. I hope you like this thread and please do add to it. Regards Brian
  13. INDIA -- Videsh Seva Medal

    Hello Sahil, I can't help you on the further contacts request, however, perhaps those interested in Indian medals may read these posts and come to your rescue. Regards Brian
  14. This Blog Could Save Your Life...well...maybe Ever notice that as you age you start to feel a lot more run down, tired, listless and perhaps even slightly depressed, though not really a depression per se. Is getting through the day becoming harder and harder and staying focused has become a challenge. Well, here’s some really good news for those experiencing those symptoms mentioned above. You may be suffering from a lack of iron and other essential metals in your system. After a good deal of research we here at the Home Office have developed a cure aimed at many of us here at GMIC and others worldwide. With this in mind we (my wife and I) started on an experiment, which is not the first time here on the “News from the Home Office” blog, to cure the above mentioned symptoms with an increase in iron and other very important metals. To begin with, just over a year ago, I purchased a 2000 GMC Sierra 4X4 truck. This was one of those once in a life-time “barn finds” in excellent condition and owned by a car collector who had stored it in a climate controlled facility. Once we had arranged the purchase the work started, even though it was in almost pristine condition. The body was stripped down to the frame, then rebuilt, and the engine, a small block V8 (4.8 litre), and drive train completely rebuilt, with the help of a good friend of mine who happens to be a retired auto mechanic. Any of the body parts that did show signs of deterioration were discarded and a new replacement piece was purchased from the GMC dealer and installed. The only section that was actually replaced was the box side on the driver’s side, known here as the “salt side”. All parts such as brakes, rear axles, and exhaust system were discarded and new top of the line parts installed. The interior was in almost showroom condition so that took no work at all. The whole truck was painted black, which was the original colour with new black rims and large-lug truck tires just to make her look “bad”. To date I have invested around the $18,000.00 mark for what is essentially a vehicle that looks like it did the day it rolled off the assembly line, though the parts you can’t see have all been upgraded. There is absolutely no body fillers in this vehicle; it is all original steel parts. I have always wanted to rebuild a truck but could never afford a classic so when this came up for sale my dear wife agreed that I should “jump on it”. At my age a “once in a life time deal” is actually that! The process from start to finish took over a year and while it was fun I would not want to do it again. I did learn a lot, one of the most interesting things I learned was that mechanical and vehicle restoration takes a lot of time and seems to involve a lot of foul language. In addition to this project my interest in British military swords has been revitalized and along with the infusion of the new/old iron (truck) I feel middle aged again. Ok, so when I am in my truck I do feel like one of the cool kids. So when you are feeling low and just seem to be dragging yourself through your day add some iron to your life. Medals, firearms, swords etc, also counts. After all it’s not just collecting it’s a matter of your continued good health. Regards Brian Disclaimer: Caution, this is not a substitute for real medical advice and I do not provide marital counselling in the event you follow my suggestions.
  15. Remembrance Day – Protocols – Comments November 11 is Remembrance Day here in Canada, a day where we remember and honour those who have and are serving their country. During this time we, like people in many countries around the world, wear a poppy in honour of the fallen and those who served and still serve in our armed forces. I felt it timely to post the protocols here in Canada for the wearing of the poppy and welcome the members to add anything regarding this practise in their own country. 1. Do not change the pin, not for a safety pin to prevent loss and not using a flag pin in place of the original. If you would like to prevent the loss of your poppy, as often happens, let me suggest that you take a piece of wide elastic or rubber band, fold it in half and pierce it with the pin. When you pin the poppy on take this piece of rubber band install it on the pin, sliding it up to the closest possible point where it cannot be seen and your poppy will be secure. 2. Wear the poppy on the left lapel. No lapel? Then wear it on the left side (same side as your heart, unless you are an alien from outer space then you are on your own). 3. Wear the poppy from the last Friday of October until the end of the day on November 11. You can wear your poppy respectfully at other times such as funerals of veterans or official ceremonies. Some wear it all year around stating, when challenged, that they remember their service people all year and not just on Nov.11. For the most part I call B.S. on this statement. I’ve seen poppies worn on greasy dirty old hats and you know that the poppy, being as dirty as the hat, that no thought was given to its significance once it was originally placed there. On your hat in the middle of your forehead is not on the left lapel, Buddy. Before anyone replies with a scathing message let me just say ahead of time, “Yes, you are one of the few who honours our soldiers every day you get out of bed and before you say your nighty nights to your loved ones every night. You are in no way feeling indignant and self-righteous and you do not wear the poppy to let others know how sanctimonious you are”. Yep. I’m a bastard. There I hope I saved someone a little time. 4. Anyone who is honoring our veterans can, and should, wear a poppy. 5. How many can you wear? I would have said 1, until I saw a photo of Queen Elizabeth wearing several at a ceremony and checked the Canadian protocols, which I am sure, would echo the British protocols. Besides if Her Royal Majesty wears more than 1 poppy then it just can’t be wrong. Is my monarchism showing? 6. How to dispose of your poppy. You can leave it at the memorial or cenotaph at the end of the day on the 11th. Many will leave them on the cenotaph after the service, commencing at 11 o’clock, as a sign of respect. This has always been a problem for me the few times I have not attended the services. Like worn out Canadian flags I tend to place them in a box and store them away as I just can’t seem to bring myself to tossing them out. I feel it is an insult to those I just honoured, but that just how I feel. Whatever you do with your poppy at the end of the day, DO NOT reuse them! A number of years ago when I attended my first Remembrance Day ceremonies, in full uniform, which included the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Regional Police Services and the Fire Department I recall standing at attention while they played The Last Post. My eyes started to well up with tears, which is odd as I am not known to show emotion. I was wishing I could hold them back when I strained my eyes to my left (we were at attention remember) and next to me was an RCMP officer who must have stood 6 foot 4. Tears were streaming down his face; there went any chance of me remaining my usual stoic self. If you are able please attend the Remembrance Day services in your area, it means a lot to those who have and are giving so much for us. Regards Brian
  16. Remembrance Day _ Protocols - Comments

    Thank you for your comments Brett. It is getting more difficult to get people out for the cerimonies all the time. Many are, of course, working and school children are not given the day off though they are often bussed to the cenotaph then back to school after the service. Many government employees with the day off (Federal government offices are closed) see this as a day to go shopping etc. Shopping malls and different stores and shops do observe a two minute silence which is both a little surprising and welcomed, of course, by people who see the importance of remembering. Regards Brian
  17. Ever since there has been a need to apprehend a suspected criminal and transport or hold them until support (“backup” if you are a fan of the television police officer stereo-types) to arrive there has been a need for devices to render the suspect incapable of flight. I will say that not all suspects are rendered incapable of flight and in at least one case I know of handcuffs made it “inconvenient” to take fright, but escape in this case was prevented. Did you know that having your hands secured behind your back when taking flight and the officer tossing his baton so that it fowls your feet can result in severe facial abrasions and a broken nose? Let me close this part of the post by saying that sometimes a civilian with a cam-recorder can be a blessing. Over the past 200+ years one of the leading manufacturers of handcuffs and other police equipment has been the Hiatt Company, now part of Safariland. For more information on the Hiatt Handcuff Company check out the link below. http://www.handcuffs.org/hiatt/index.html The website for “Handcuff Warehouse” has this to say about Hiatt and Safariland. The Hiatt Handcuff brand has been discontinued. Hiatt Handcuffs in England was acquired by American company Armor Holdings in 2006. Armor Holdings was then acquired by British company BAE Systems. The Hiatt factory in Birmingham, England was closed in late June, 2008. BAE has moved the Hiatt factory to New Hampshire and will be making the Hiatt handcuff line under the Safariland brand. They will also consolidate all other restrains made by BAE companies under the Safariland brand. This includes Monadnock disposable restraints and NIK Flex-Cufs. Availability of Hiatt products is limited to stocks on hand. The new Safariland handcuffs are now available. (Sic) Opinion: In a world where everything has been subjected to the “new” look and political correctness and any thought to the traditional is purely lip service we have a company name such as “Safariland” manufacturing and selling police equipment. Safariland? Really? It sounds more akin to a company that manufactures clothing for the urban Great White Hunter look, selling items that allow the weekend outdoorsman to pretend to be an adventurer, not a company that seriously manufactures police equipment. You may be thinking that, “Brian’s blood pressure must be up again and he’s on a rant”. Perhaps but check out their website. http://www.safariland.com/dutygear/restraints/chain.aspx You can actually purchase coloured handcuffs! So there you go you can now handcuff your suspect with pink handcuffs. Perhaps this is really for the “kinky crowd” but if that is the case then do you really want that associated with serious policing. This is just one man’s opinion and perhaps it is better that I work in the Conservation field now. It just seems that the whole industry has slipped from good solid tradition to the fly-by-night commercialism. Yet when you are called to duty you are expected to deliver the good old fashioned service the public expects and demands. The purpose of this post it not really to rant and rave about whether policing traditions have slipped or not as that it too subjective and the older I get the more prone I have become to be set in my ways. The purpose of this post is to discuss the different handcuffs and restrains used in the past by British and Colonial Police Forces. I will start off, with the next entry, with an example by W. Dowler rather than something from Hiatt, which will come later. Please feel free to post examples from your own collections along with stories and opinions from your own days of service. Regards Brian
  18. Pakistan Princely States - Bahawalpur

    Sorry, I've had no luck, even for my own missing ribbons. I was once told that the ribbons are often more difficult to find than the medals themselves. I can vouch for that.myself. I hope one of the other members has had more luck, good luck in your quest Yasser. Regards Brian
  19. new member here- hello!

    Welcome to the forum, good to see yet another Canuck on board. Regards Brian
  20. INDIA -- Videsh Seva Medal

    He'll Sahil, I never give out specific members names in case they consider that not my place to do so. I consider Ed a long time friend and I am confident he would not mind me taking that presumption. Good luck in you search and please keep us informed of your progress. Warmest regards Brian
  21. INDIA -- Videsh Seva Medal

    Welcome to GMIC Sahil. Mr. Haynes may be found on his website, SAGONGS. There are several members here who collect the medals of India and they may be of assistance, however, I do think you should attempt to contact Mr. Haynes at the site I have provided as there are many knowledgable members there who may be able to assist you. Regards Brian
  22. Accuracy in Movies - Does it Matter?

    Thanks for your comments Chris and Dave, It is comments such as were posted here and on other blogs I've submissed that makes the effort worth while and dare I say add greatly to my knowledge and help shape my often slanted point of view. This was so much fun it is hard to stop. Having said that and in keeping with the movie theme, watch for the next sibmission, "Accuracy in Movies: The Sequel" insert movie theme music here) Regards Brian
  23. Lately in the Books and Films section of this forum there have been discussions of the current movie, “Dieppe”, and the inaccuracies found by some of the members. My first impulse was to make a list if all of the movies that I could remember back to the days of my youth and before where accuracy was obviously not an issue. I soon realized that most would not relate to such movies as “Lives of the Bengal Lancers”, 1935 staring Gary Cooper; “Gunga Din”, 1939 staring Cary Grant; “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, 1968 with Trevor Howard (one of my favorite movies); or even “Waterloo”, 1970 with Rod Steiger. Many of these won numerous awards yet are riddled with inaccuracies. I looked to more resent movies such as “The Blue Max”, though it was in 1966 staring George Peppard. In one scene of the German trenches it shows the soldiers awaiting the order to go over the top while holding British Number 4 Rifles first produced in the 1930’s equipped with the Number 9 Mk 1 bayonet. This was the short bladed No, 5 (jungle carbine) bayonet blade welded to a socket similar to the 4 Mk 1 or 2 spike bayonet. These bayonets did not appear until after WWII, possibly around 1950. “Saving Private Ryan”, 1998 starring Tom Hanks. A movie many World War Two veterans claimed was the most accurate depiction of conditions on the beach on D-Day. If you are yet to see this film then do so if for no other reason than the landing scenes. I suspect that if someone were to put out a remake with double the gun fire the same vets would proclaim it an even more accurate portrayal. Perhaps they would be correct. I was really getting into this movie until Tom Hanks’ character disabled a German Tiger tank (if my memory serves) by firing his Thompson machine gun into the viewing port of the tank and killing the crew. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! That must have been the only German tank to be without its very thick protective glass in the viewing port. I need to research German tanks to see is they were actually using a periscope-style viewing device or not. Either way, good for you Captain John Miller (Hanks), too bad the rest of the allies didn’t know this trick; could have saved a lot of lives. “Zulu”, 1964 starring Michael Caine, is another of my all time favorite movies. My biggest complaint about this movie, aside from the medals worn by Colour Sergeant Borne, was the presence of a female in the movie. What were they trying to accomplish? Appeal to the female movie viewer? You could have marched unicorns barfing rainbows and pooping bunnies across the screen and it would have still missed the female market! “Zulu Dawn”, 1979 featuring Bob Hoskins, Peter O’Toole and Burt Lancaster. Another of my favorite movies. I listed Burt Lancaster because if this movie was not flawed enough Burt Lancaster cast as being Irish is an insult. His Irish accent is so bad it should be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. His range of emotion is slim to none and slim just left the room. In one scene there is a line of what appears to be dismounted cavalry or perhaps artillery men using the Martini Henry Carbine. The problem is that in some cases they are using what would appear to be the Martini-Metford carbine. The Martini-Metford did not appear before the 1890’s and the Battle of Isandlwana took place in 1879. Certainly bad acting has ruined many movies. Charlton Heston comes to mind in such movies as “55 Days at Peking”, 1963 and “Khartoum”, 1966. Even now I have to remind myself that Moses was at neither location or in the movie. Heston is another “one trick pony” of an actor in my opinion. If I were going to nominate resent movies on bad plot and worse acting the two top would be “Inglourious Basterds”, 2009 and “Fury”, 2014, both starring Brad Pitt; usually one of my favourite action movie actors. The first one, overlooking the misspelled title, is a romp through some sort of fantasy Nazi-like world with lots of violence. Better to go watch “Zombieland”, 2009 with Woody Harrelson. There is just as much adventure and history is not insulted. Is it true Mr. Harrelson is moving to Canada as soon as we legalize weed? Hmmm. Then there is “Fury”. One of the best movies showing tanks in action bar none, however after one gets past the great tank scenes the rest is an insult to both the American and German soldiers. The Germans are shown, in one scene, as marching down a dark road singing a song more like an army of Orks from Lord of the Rings. Then they decide to destroy a disabled M4 Sherman with mostly small arms rather than the Panzerfaust carried by several soldiers. Once the German casualty rate keeps going up it looks like the German commanding officer simply turns and walks away. Was he late for Oktoberfest or going to a BYOP party (Bring Your Own Panzerfaust) since the soldiers carrying the panzerfausts seemed to leave before or just after the officer. Yet the German privates ,poor “basterds” (that was for you, Tarantino) keep attacking the tank with small arms. So the question stands, is accuracy in movies necessary? Of course it is! People who make movies and those acting in them are awarded all sorts of acclaim, provided the movie makes a lot of money. Unless it was one of those Cannes Film Festival Best Foreign Film award things then it is hard to tell what they are trying to say or portray. I’ll just say it, if I wanted to read sub-titles I would have bought the book. Let’s look at a book and the movie about the same topic. “How Can Man Die Better, The Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed” by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Snook verses “Zulu Dawn”, original story and screen play by Cy Enfield. The book sets out the preliminary history that led up to the battle as does the movie, though less clearly. Remember the movie had only 113 min. to make its point where the book had 302 pages. Even so the movie could have been clearer. All in all after you read the book you have an excellent knowledge of what happened as compared to the movie where you saw a large battle after a long and drawn out succession of scenes that only served to display the actors talents, or lack of talent in the case of a certain American actor trying to talk with an Irish accent (you know who I mean). The impact of the movie battle was, of course, more poignant than the book due to live action and a sound tract. Before I go any further it has probably come to you as it has to me that it depends upon what you are looking for in a historical drama. It is difficult to pit action against the historical accuracy of a well written book. It is my position that movie producers need to spend more attention to accuracy in story line as well as in the accoutrements that go along with a historically based film. If all you are going to do is to produce an adventure loosely based on an historical event then you have simply churned out an adventure fantasy. Even Game of Thrones is based on the War of the Roses, or so I have read; I don’t see it but that’s what I’ve read. Rather than turn out a flawed historical farce then they should keep making films such as “Avatar”, 2009, staring...oh, who cares, it’s only a dammed fantasy movie anyway. I suppose the greatest benefit to historically based films made today with all of their flaws is to give people like us a challenge to point out all of those flaws. I’ve been told that others also viewing said move are less than accepting when we voice our disapproval. Don’t be too concerned, they just lack a need for accuracy and attention to detail. Best you drive home after the movie, we wouldn’t want them to have to concentrate too hard on the finer details of road safety. Regards Brian PS: Yes, that mention of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” earlier was a movie title reference from Tina Fey’s, 2016 movie. That title is quite appropriate as I wanted to say “WTF” after I watched this time (wasting) bomb.
  24. Accuracy in Movies - Does it Matter?

    Hi Bayern, Thank you for your comments. I often wonder if all of these inaccuracies have any lasting effects on the younger viewers or if they really don't care about such details. Even period dramas such as Downton Abbey were the interior shots are filled with what could be considered antiques today matter to some of us; but is that important to younger viewers. Perhaps I should have used the term "normal" viewers? Thanks again for your response. Regards Brian
  25. Accuracy in Movies - Does it Matter?

    Hi Simon, Yes I have seen that movie and enjoyed it. I suppose we just have to resign ourselves that movies will never reach the accuracy level we would like to see and just enjoy them for what they are. But keep looking for errors...it's a great sport. Regards Brian