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Brian Wolfe

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Everything posted by Brian Wolfe

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Looks like Christmas arrived early at the Boonzaier house. Congratulations Chris. Regards Brian
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Hello and welcome to my blog which may start out insulting some and to that I will apologize in advance as insult is not my intention; a serendipitous plus perhaps... Four years ago (2014) the Chairman suggested that starting with August and continuing to Nov. 11, 2018 might be an excellent time to run articles and content dealing with the First World War. From what I can see there has been little effort in that area, though I will admit to two factors. First that I was away for some time fighting an ongoing medical “condition” that has, happily for me, gone into remission. Secondly, my main interest rests with the Victorian Period and just prior, that is to say from George III to the end of the Boer War in 1902. So my WWI material, other than medals, is limited. I offer this glimpse into “The Life of Brian”, the non-movie version, to suggest that perhaps there was a lot more WWI content during the past four years than I was aware. If you could have written more but just didn’t and cannot offer an acceptable excuse, such as I have, to cover your laziness, then think again. If I can dig up an alibi then so can you, you’re just not trying hard enough. Seriously, as that last statement was purely in jest, I have an artefact in my collection that I have been waiting patiently for the past four year to post. If I may digress for a moment I need to explain something else, an admission, to some small degree, of my compulsive obsessions, and that is the criteria I like to apply to as many collectables as possible. I like to collect firearms that have a manufactured date that commemorates an historical even. As an example of my criteria, I have a British percussion pistol dated 1842. During the retreat from Kabul in 1842 there occurred the Battle of Gandamak in which most of the British defenders of the position were killed. There is a famous painting showing an officer with the same pattern pistol. While the pistol in my collection was never used at that battle, or not likely any battle for that matter, it still has a date that commemorates the events as well as being an example of the type of pistol used during that time. The specimen I have so long wanted to post is a Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) Mk.III* date marked 1918. The specimen certainly has the “look” of war-time use and the date made me decide to make the purchase, nearly ten years ago. I could have purchased a better condition SMLE, that is certain, but I purchased this rifle for the significant date of 1918. Since the purchase, and just prior to 2014, I read an article that stated that many of the rifles that were in the trenches at the moment of the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918 were marked with the letter V by the soldiers who were present. I recalled what appeared to be an “odd” damaged area on the stock of my SMLE example and when I looked at it again, this time more closely, there was the letter V clearly carved into the stock. It looks to have been done a long time ago, though one can never prove it and the whole story of the carved V nothing more than urban legend, still there it is on my example. Provenance is a strange beast. Many offer word of mouth provenance and expect that to stand, others doubt even the most detailed documentation. The “experts” are only giving what should be an educated opinion and even if they document their opinion it boils down to just that, an opinion. I have no provenance to say that the V is original to the trenches on Nov. 11, 1918. I will say that there was no “story” to this rifle offered by the seller, like me I do not think he had even heard of the story. Bottom line is that I never, and I repeat, never pay a dime more for a “story” and of course neither should you. So where does this leave us? On November 11, 2018 I will pick up this rifle and think of that soldier who may very well have held this firearm in his hands, in the trenches, at the very moment the Great War ended. Is “it”, did “he”? No one can tell for a certainty but what I can tell you, for me, is that it brings to life the struggle, suffering, terror and loss of comrades that lesser men such as this humble scribe cannot even begin to fully appreciate. What was going through the mind of our hero as he sat in his trench, still half doubting that the war was finally over, with this rifle across his knees as he carved the V into the stock? That degree of relief and the pent up emotions must have been truly over-whelming. Let us all lift glasses to those who served, those who fell and those who still serve and give a moment’s reverent thought to them all. Respectfully yours, Brian Wolfe
  9. Brian Wolfe

    Present 100 Years Ago - 1918

    In apologise that I could not post an image of the whole rifle as I am still learning this new version of Photo Shop I purchased with the new PC. There is just enough differences to produce a new learning curve. It worked! . Regards Brian
  10. Brian Wolfe

    Yes, I am an Expert.

    Priceless! Thanks for that one, Michael. Regards Brian
  11. Brian Wolfe

    Yes, I am an Expert.

    Yes, yes I am an Expert! Or, Experts and other random things I rant about. For years I have ranted and railed against the proliferation of so-called “experts”, especially on the internet; these people who seem to hold onto the idea that if they write something then that which they have written suddenly holds validation as the truth. I am reminded of the old movies where the Pharaoh announces to the scribes and others in attendance, “As it is written so shall it be”. Well, it may indeed “be” such as a law but that is not necessarily true about every “so shall it be”. Writing that all pyramids from this day forward shall be built with the point down will not make it so. Besides if that were possible think of the impact it would have today on Ponzi schemes. A few weeks ago we had house guests for a week in the form of my wife’s brother and his wife. My brother-in-law is not the stereotypical brother-in-law featured in comedic performances but rather a highly educated man and to call him an extremely successful business man would be a great understatement. He related that he was once told that the definition of an expert was someone who has read one chapter ahead of you in the instruction manual. He is an engineer so “instruction manual” suits him; my point of reference would have been “history book”. But, you say potato and I say, “ Solanum tuberosum”. Put the cell phone down, no need to verify that botanical name, I already looked it up. Yes, this time I cheated. This whole “what is an expert” thing got me to thinking. My brother-in-law is correct, an expert is not necessarily someone who knows everything about a subject, but simply is required to know more than you. Did we really think that our math teacher in High School could calculate the mass of Epsilon bootis (it’s a binary star system)? Personally, the teacher who comes to mind had a bad habit of counting the number of weeks with his thumb on the fingers of the same hand to determine when the school year would end and “this insanity would stop”. It was just a habit, one I have been guilty of from time to time, and I am sure it was an un-necessary exercise...or was it? By the way, go ahead and fact check Epsilon bootis on Google I was just “winging” that one; though I think it is correct. Besides it was an astrological joke as the teacher I am thinking of would have had to use the fingers on both hands (binary system, get it; yah, you got it). Speaking, or more accurately writing, about fact checking though the use of Google on the cell phone, there was a time when students would attend a play bringing with them a copy of the piece and check to see if the actors knew their lines perfectly. A number of years ago my wife and I were attending a Shakespearian play in Stratford, Ontario. The play was the Tempest and stared William Hutt as Prospero in what was to be his final appearance on stage. The front row was filled with High School students all armed with their copies of the Tempest ready to “fact check” the actors’ ability to deliver their lines to the text book’s exacting standards. Ah, the school system, what better way to enrich these pudding headed accidents of failed birth control than to have them follow the performance word by word in a text book. I suppose it was appropriate as in their future employment they would then be equipped to pose the question, “To flip the burger or not to flip the burger; that is the question”. I will pose this question regarding the education system. When a student excels we credit their teachers, however, when a student performs poorly in school where should we lay the blame? Of course, with a malfunctioning condom! Back to the play, as the play is the thing. Mr. Hutt was the first actor to insist that he perform using the English language commonly spoken by Canadians. It was most amusing to see the students flipping pages back and forth looking for the lines spoken by Mr. Hutt. Don’t worry little ones that beeping in the back of your head, indicating that the fries are done, is simply your future calling you. Before you comment on my gibes at the burger joints I was there both on the grill and the front row at Stratford trying to follow along with the play Midsummer Night’s Dream. Man, what was Bill Shakespeare on when he wrote that play; he must have been smoking some pretty righteous weed. To close this series of rants I will reaffirm that I am indeed an expert, as long as you don’t read ahead of me in the manual. Expertise is such a fleeting and very subjective state. Regards Brian By the way, did you catch my intentional error? I used “astrological” in place of “astronomical”. One is the study of the planets and stars; the other is right up there with the study of sugar plum fairies and unicorns pooping marshmallows. In keeping with today’s political correctness and a check of the forum’s rules I realized that astronomy may in fact be held by some to the degree of a religion. With that in mind I apologize if anyone was offended by my comments. Also I am led to believe that if you consider yourself a “sugar plum fairy” that it is an acceptable life style choice and again I apologize for any offence I may have unintentionally given. It’s an age thing and I must admit to having not kept up with today’s trends. I would ask that anyone, sugar plum fairy or otherwise, please carry an empty marshmallow bag and clean up after your unicorn, their droppings tend to gum up my lawnmower. As to unicorns, I have nothing against them in the wild or domesticated, just clean up after your tame ones. See photos below for clarification.
  12. Brian Wolfe

    Yes, I am an Expert.

    Hi JustinG, I meant to respond to your Latin phrase "Qui novit omnia" then got distracted, it's a age thing. To answer your rhetorical question, that would be my ex-wife and scares the heck out of me. Regards Brian
  13. Brian Wolfe

    All of My Heroes Are Dead

    Hi Stuart, Thanks for your comment and compliment, it is appreciated (your cheque is in the mail). As a note to new members who might not know, Stuart and I have been long time friends, though from opposite sides of the earth so he really isn't expecting a cheque; yep I'm that cheap. I'm sure the distance between us has prevented him from strangling me at times, I can be annoying, or so I have been told by those who don't really matter. I think it is important not to get too distracted and thereby let those in power get away with whatever it is that they might be getting away with. How's that for a veiled non-committal political comment? Maybe I should enter politics. Thanks again, Stuart. Regards Brian
  14. Brian Wolfe

    All of My Heroes Are Dead

    All of My Heroes Are Dead All of my heroes are dead and I have, for the most part, killed them. I’ve never been one to hero worship sports figures, those over paid adolescent jocks who actually think their political, environmental and economic opinions matter. I find it strange that someone who hits a small ball with a baseball stick sending it over a fence then running around a diamond shape track stepping on pillows laying in the dirt is paid more than someone who will possibly be saving your life after a heart attack, a police officer or firefighter who protects you, your loved ones and your stuff or takes up arms to defend your way of life. I’ve seen the advertisements for the Fifa world cup which involves grown men again running around a field this time kicking a small white basketball and trying to get it into an extra large hockey net without using their hands. The ball catcher/stopper fellow never seems to stop the ball, as far as I see in the commercials, and makes a futile dive in the relative direction of the ball, missing it by yards (or meters). Then the fellow who kicked the ball last is mobbed by his team mates in jubilation. What’s with that! The net is the size of a school bus, how could you possibly miss? At least in the game of ice hockey the net minder is almost as wide as the target net. Often the net minder will fall on top of the hard rubber disk thing, which substitutes for a ball, to stop a score from being recorded against him. Then the other team members who are close by will poke the goal tender with their curved bladed hockey spears until the referee, dressed in a zebra-like black and white striped shirt blows his whistle. This is a signal that it is time for fisticuffs between the two teams. Sometimes the extra players the teams have brought along are allowed to leap over the fence, behind which they were sitting, onto the ice and join in the melee. After this some of the team members from both sides are given a “time out” and must sit on a wooden bench with the fellows they brought along to watch the game while their little friends get to continue playing. It’s all very confusing. These are great games for children but for adults, who often throw tantrums much like spoiled brats, it seems ludicrous to me. I have stated that all of my heroes are dead, true enough, but I didn’t actually kill them (figuratively) myself; the culprit was the truth. The other factor, for the most part, is that my interest lies with the Victorian era or more precisely starting with the Napoleonic Wars (pre Victorian) until the end of the Boer War (post Victorian). Therefore, of course my heroes are all truly dead in that sense. It is not always the truth that “kills” heroes, or more accurately hero worship of historical figures. A WWI Canadian hero, for me growing up, had always been Billy Bishop, the WWI leading flying ace. A number of years ago there was a book written offering the mostly unfounded theory that he could not have actually shot down the number of enemy planes that he had claimed. It was pointed out by some that it was ironic that a German had authored the book discrediting an allied pilot. I have always thought it was ironic that a country that prides itself on its diversity would point out the nationality of the author. All of this prompted the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to erect a notice with the Billy Bishop display pointing out that resent critics had doubted these accomplishments. Well done War Museum! As Canadians we seldom crap on our heroes but let someone else do it and we’ll be happy to take a stand were we don’t have to actually take a stand. We are positively and absolutely in support of taking a stand against taking a stand, unless that makes us look like we are taking a stand; then no comment. Or, “We’re totally against taking a stand against taking a stand, unless you are not upset, then we will strongly take a stand against not taking a stand”. Please fill out the questionnaire below and we will attempt to come to a consensus, as our opinions may change without prior notification. Thank you for your understanding, unless you don’t understand then we apologize for taking up your time. Have a good day, please call again. Then again if there are enough people who don’t like what the Canadian War Museum has to say with their displays, such as the bombing of civilian targets during WWII because it up sets the War Vets then they change it. To Hell with the truth if it means taking a stand and we’ll be quite clear in not taking a stand, because we are not for or against it. Facts are the facts and war is war, I would think the museum would have figured that out by now even if the public, desperate for heroes, wants to reject the truth. Your dad (and mine) didn’t go out to kill civilians! Here’s a shocking statement, neither did the German Airmen, in the beginning before Hitler decided to “punish” the British for bombing Berlin (arguments welcomed). There was no such thing as pin point bombing or taking out a target with surgical precision. You simply bombed the general area and trusted in a higher power to guide the explosives to the intended target. Heroes from the past seldom stand up to the scrutiny of time, the truth that was so carefully hidden suddenly shows these men for what they were; in most cases, human. The Duke of Wellington, Wolsey and Kitchener, all heroes of their day, or as a book I was just reading put it “Heroes in a time of heroes”, have had their darker sides. If we are to follow the Latin advice De mortuis nil nisi bonum (Of the dead, [say] nothing but good), we sacrifice the truth. If we are going to seek the truth then we must be prepared to live with what we find, no matter how distasteful. My heroes are still my heroes but now I see them as ordinary men doing extraordinary things that I would find personally impossible to accomplish. So let us lift a glass to the average man, among his kind have walked giants. Regards Brian
  15. Hi Larks, Richard Dellar's book is excellent with several photos of scabbard and sword markings. Keep in mind this book deals only with Cavalry Swords. If you are thinking of collecting infantry or other department's swords (artillery for example) these will not be covered in this excellent resource. Brian Robson as well as Harvey Whithers' books cover all aspects of the British sword, including cavalry and infantry. Both of these books are excellent with Whithers' book containing excellent photographs. Brian Robson's book contains a good number of markings but that are in the form written lists. It all depends on what style you lake best; both are exceptional resources. If you ever want to branch out into British naval swords and would like a book dealing only with these a good book is British Naval Swords & Swordsmanship by John McGrath & Mark Barton. This book is also currently available. I don't actually collect naval swords but I picked up a Pattern 1900 Naval Cutlass a while ago and knew right off that this would not be the last naval sword I would collect so I purchased the book. No regrets there. Happy collecting, and the researching of your finds. Keep us posted. Regards Brian
  16. Here is a list of books I would recommend. Listed from the personally most referred to starting at the top, but all are very good books. I could list more but these are the best in their field. All are currently available. Swords of the British Army, Brian Robson British Military Swords, Harvey Whithers also look for books by the author on specific swords such as the 1796 Light and Heavy Cavalry The British Cavalry Sword 1788 - 1912, Richard Dellar Mr. Dellar tells me there is a companion book coming out later this year. The British Pattern 1796 Cavalry Sword and Other Derivatives, Janusz Jaroslawski The British Cavalry Sword from 1600, Charles Martyn Regards Brian
  17. Never go to a pawn shop unless you want to give it away. Better a dealer than a pawn shop...I cannot believe I said that! If you must sell these two items (keep them together for the sake of Pete!) see if you can find a reputable auction house. Another thing about the way the world works as far as pawning items. Once pawned because you absolutely need the cash it is not likely you will come up with the money to purchase it back in the allotted time before the item becomes property of the pawn shop; that's just not being rational. Look to other ways to raise the cash you need and keep the dagger. Cars come and cars go, that dagger, once gone will be gone forever. Regards, and good luck. Brian
  18. Brian Wolfe

    Hobnail trench club and bayo

    People get the strangest ideas about how to "improve" an antique arm and probably the only thing worse than spraying the scabbard with silver or aluminium paint would have been to have used gold paint. Either way this can be removed and the original look restored with a little work. I think the club has upholstery nails which is not to say this is not original. At the time soldiers used what was at hand to make such items. I would not hesitate to purchase such an item that looks like this, if I were looking to add one to the collection, as it has the "look" of authenticity. I could more than likely turn out such an item in my shop but to get the look of the ages would be just about impossible. And why one anyone want to fake such an item in the first place. My opinion is that this is an original. Also remember that any specimen one might find on "Images" on the internet may not match this one as they were, at times, ad hoc, that is to say made individually or in small runs as needed. Nice find. Regards Brian
  19. 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
  20. Brian Wolfe

    Let's Talk British Swords

    British Swords Spoken Here. For some time now it has been my intention to write several posts regarding the British sword, keeping them as brief as possible, I think shorter posts are best. Please feel free to leave comments as well as your opinions; this is intended to be a learning exercise, for me as much as I intend it to be for you. It should be stated straight away that I am not an expert on swords, their identification, history or their use; just an obsessive enthusiast. My background is in martial arts which includes the proper use of the Japanese Katana in the style of the 1650’s which involves, for lack of a better term, the “quick draw”. This involves drawing your weapon and making an upward strike, left to right, or horizontal cut again left to right. After which you are going to block your opponent’s sword strike provided either you or your antagonist are still “alive”. Of course no one is actually “fighting” or sparing in this form of practise. This form is called Iaito. The other form I studied is called Toyama Ryu and is sparing with dull steel blades, actually we used wooden swords called a Bokken. You can check out a good video on YouTube under Toyama Ryu. It is a lot harder than it looks when you are on the Dojo floor in front of your Sensi and the class. Yes the white belts always seem to back up a lot; really makes you work hard to “kill” the little buggers. The other sword form I studied was European fencing with an Epee. The word epee basically means “sword” and is the heaviest of the three swords used in the sport; the three swords are, foil, epee and sabre. The foil and the epee are thrusting weapons only and only a hit with the tip counts. The sabre scores with either the point or the edge of the weapon just like the real sabres of old. A word of warning; I started fencing far too late in life (mid 30s) and today my right knee (forward knee if you are right handed) gives me a lot of trouble. My point for giving my credentials is that I do know something about swords and their use, not just some of the history that I have read in books. From Japanese sword use I learned the cut or slash and from Western style fencing I learned how to “give point” or the thrust. I chose the epee as it was the closest thing to using a British small sword of the mid to late 1700’s. Both systems taught me how to block or parry an opponent’s sword. My intended range of my posts will be from around 1796 to 1912, which takes in the Battle of Waterloo up to the last Pattern developed, the 1912 Officer’s Cavalry Sabre. Anything older such as medieval broad swords is just too expensive to own and I like to own what I study. If you like the older sword reproductions then two thumbs up from me but they are just not within my interest range. I may also talk about other swords from different parts of the world in giving examples of parallel sword development, evolution if you will, in different countries at approximately the same time period. In these cases I may have to use pictures from books as well as photos from books of swords I have yet to acquire. I’ll always give credit to the book and the author. So If I have not frightened you off or bored you to tears let’s talk British swords. Regards Brian Part of my collection is pictured below.
  21. Brian Wolfe

    Let's Talk British Swords

    Hi Simon, Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying, my computer passed away after a long illness and it took a week to get a new one. If I am to be honest, it took four days to actually get a new computer and three more days to figure out all of the updated software. It would indeed make an rather less expensive collection to put together a nice grouping of short swords from different countries. The LTC sword would be one of the easier specimens to get in mint conditions for the reasons given in the article. The British had several saw backed pioneer swords as well as drummer and bandsmen swords; though there seems to be little evidence of their use as true weapons. At the moment Indian swords are a very good purchase for the money, at least here in Canada. Like many collectables I am sure the prices will go up as soon as people realise that they are priced well below other swords of similar quality. A post on the "best bang for the dollar, or pound" as it relates to the sword market might be interesting. Regards Brian
  22. Brian Wolfe

    Yes, I am an Expert.

    Good one. Regards Brian
  23. Brian Wolfe

    Let's Talk British Swords

    The Land Transport Corps Sword Land Transport Corps Sword Perhaps one of the most interesting swords of the British military was the Land Transport Corps sword, not because of the campaigns in which it was used but for the fact that it was never officially issued to any troops. Historical background: One of the problems throughout the history of warfare has been that of supplying the troops with food, material, weapons, shelter and clothing to name a few of these necessities. When the campaign is at or near home the supply is much easier, however, during the Victorian period starting in 1837 the Wars of Empire were far afield. During this time the task of provisioning the troops fell under the Commissariat Department, a civilian body with no formal establishment of supervision. Earlier attempts at supply were undertaken by the Royal Wagoners, and during the Napoleonic Wars the Royal Wagon Train which were comprised of civilian personnel. These attempts were largely inadequate and any attempt to train a specialized corps was undone by the government as these corps were disbanded during times of peace. The use of civilian drivers was also quite common in India, used by both the East India Company and the Queen’s Indian Army. Again, during times of peace these civilian employees were disbanded, thereby saving on costs, which was an important objective. However, when once again the need for the civilian drivers was required there was never any guarantee that either drivers or wagons would necessarily be found in sufficient quantity. This lack of sufficient transport was particularly felt during the Crimean War of 1854 – 56. When the British expeditionary force landed at Calamita Bay in 1854 there were no pack animals or wagons available due to the lack of proper forage for the animals. The only horses landed belonged to the artillery, cavalry and officers. The first transport that was available to the British was in the form of captured Russian wagons. The capture of Balaclava finally offered a proper landing site; however there were still no means of moving the much needed supplies the eight miles to the front line at Sebastopol. This left tons of supplies to rot “on the docks” at Balaclava. Conditions worsened with the winter of 1854 and what supplies that reached the troops was on the backs of Regimental Officer’s horses and men on foot. With this the Commissariat Department collapsed in late 1854 followed by a Royal Warrant in January 1855 creating the Land Transport Corps (LTC). Unfortunately the attempt to reorganize the former Commissariat Department with the new LTC, which consisted of 8,000 men plus several thousand civilians, was a limited success. The same lack of discipline coupled with lack of experience with horses and an unfamiliarity with outdoor life resulted in one of the highest mortality rates from disease and exposure recorded for any other corps during the war. The LTC never overcame these shortcomings during the war and in 1856 they were reorganized to form the Military Train. The Land Transport Corps Sword: It would appear that someone held great expectations of the Land Transport Corps as a sword was commissioned for their use. This is particularly interesting as there is no evidence that any sergeants or other ranks of the former Royal Wagoniers, The Royal Wagon Corps or the Royal Wagon Train ever carried swords; probably due to their non-combatant role and were essentially civilians in uniform. Possibly it was thought that since the 8,000 making up the LTC were members of the military they should be appropriately armed, however this is pure speculation. The Land Transport Corps sword seems to have been patterned after the French infantry sword Model 1831, called the “cabbage chopper” by the French troops. Blade length and width: 22½ inches by 1 ½ inches (specimen shown is 1 3/8 inches wide) Blade type: Single edged (Robson records this as double edged, however the specimen shown in his book as in this specimen shown below, is plainly single edged) Guard: Brass Scabbard: Black leather, brass locket with frog stud and chape. Sword weight: 2 lb. 1 oz. Made by Kirschbaum, Solingen. Bibliography: Knight, Ian, “Go to your God like a Soldier” Robson, Brian, “Swords of the British Army, Revised Edition”, pg.240 Article submitted by Brian Wolfe Specimen shown below from author’s collection.
  24. Brian Wolfe

    All of My Heroes Are Dead

    Hello Boris, Good to here from you and thanks you for your accurate comment. In researching for articles I write elsewhere I have found that many times our heroes are best left as they are, without too close an examination. It's not that they are especially bad just human. Thanks again. Regards Brian
  25. Brian Wolfe

    Yes, I am an Expert.

    Hi IrishGunner, Thanks for you comment. Now we (Canada) is on the verge of legalizing Mary Jane who knows what will happen to my blogs, maybe I’ll start to see unicorns. I wonder if they are any good on the barbecue.? Regards Brian
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