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Posts posted by SemperParatus

  1. Ah that sounds more like it. I may be wrong on his service dates but it's somewhere in that ballpark.

    Looks like his route from Marseille to St Julien (near the Swiss border and close to Geneva) was for a visit home.


    Let's put a face to the name:


    1898 Portrait of Légionnaire Henri Bertholet, at Diego Suarez, Madagascar.


    I'll post a newspaper article in a little bit that was published in a Montreal newspaper in the '40s with some stories from his service.

  2. Hey Folks,

    I wanted to share what I believe is a Legion discharge document. My grandfather was showing me this paper belonging to his grandfather Henri Bertholet, a Swiss (from Geneva) member of the French Foreign Legion from about 1896-1901. He served in Algeria and Madagascar.

    From what I can glean from this document he served in the 2e Régiment étranger and was discharged in August 1901 with nothing but a few francs.

    Can anyone provide a better analysis?



  3. Beautiful medals, thanks for sharing. I've always found the Medaglia Al Valore Militare to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing bravery medals.


    Here is the citation for Marconi's Silver medal, which took place during the Fourth Battle of the Isonzo:


    MARCONI Ulisse, da Magione (Perugia), soldato zappatore fanteria, n. 25771 matricola.

    Primo fra tutti, si slanciava all'assalto delle trincee nemiche, trascinando con l'esempio i compagni. Non riuscito l'assalto, si porta sotto un fuoco micidiale di mitragliatrice e fucileria avversarie, per ben sei volte, fuori delle nostre trincee, a raccogliere i compagni feriti. - Bosco Cappuccio, 10 novembre 1915.

    Which can be viewed here: http://decoratialvalormilitare.istitutonastroazzurro.org/docs/e-1915 vol_2/1915 vol_2_00000338.JPG

    and here is my attempt at the translation:

    Private Ulisse MARCONI, of Magione (province of Perugia), Pioneer Infantry, Regimental No. 25771.

    First, by launching himself forward in the assault on enemy trenches, he led others of his company forward by his example. After the assault failed, he left our trenches under deadly machine-gun and rifle fire six times to collect his wounded comrades. Bosco Cappuccio, 10 November 1915.



  4. I've recently acquired two Italian Army (Regio Esercito) shooting competitions from the Kingdom of Italy period. I can infer some knowledge from the medals alone but can anyone help me pinpoint when they were issued? Also, are the ribbons correct? Can anyone tell me more about these?



    Italian Army Shooting Competition Medal for Officers in Bronze, King Umberto I issue (1878-1900).


    Obverse: Umberto I Re d'Italia (Umberto I, King of Italy). Speranza was the firm which acted as Royal Mint from 1870-1903


    Reverse: Esercito Italiano (Italian Army) Gara di Tiro Fra Ufficiali (Shooting Competition for Officers)

    The design is a target with crossed rifles surrounded by a wreath of oak and olive and surmounted by the Savoy Eagle.



    Italian Army Shooting Competition Medal for Junior Ranks in Silver, King Vittorio Emmanuele III issue (1900-1946).


    Obverse: Vittorio Emmanuele III Re D'Italia (Vittorio Emmanuele III, King of Italy). The mark of the Zecca Regno or Royal Mint can be seen at bottom.


    Reverse: Gare fra Caporali e Soldati (Competition for Corporals and Privates)

    The design is a target with crossed rifles surrounded by a wreath of oak and olive and surmounted by the Savoy Eagle.





  5. That's because you can't argue with a good system! I've always found it to be interesting the melding of local cultures and the british military system of the different imperial and commonwealth units, be it uniforms, customs, traditions, etc. 

    I'll have to scan that La Liberté Que Nous Défendons (The Freedom which we Defend) magazine. It's an interesting look at the Empire at the time, and of course written in one of the Empire's more obscure languages - French.

  6. Peter, a great story as always.

    Frank, glad you like it. Sadly, I've only seen the Citadel from outside when I was a boy. I went back to Quebec City a few years ago for Carnaval but I spent most of the time drinking Caribou out of a hollow cane... My plan is to go back in the summer time in a couple years and take my family to the Changing of the Guard and then checking out the museum. I hope I get to see Batisse!


    P.S. does anyone know what organizations these lapel pins belong to? They were also in with Robert's things.



  7. Hah nice story Peter. 

    I can only recall 2 often repeated stories of Robert's but in minimal detail as I was a kid at the time.

    During one of the most intense artillery barrages he endured, at Cassino, he ran into a what he thought was a foxhole. He quickly found out it was a latrine, but couldn't leave it. It was funny later in life but not at the time...

    Another is that at one point in the war the boys were fed up and burnt out. So, while inside a church, they put some uniforms helmets and rifles up on statues and other debris to act as "sentries" and they all went to the basement and raided the wine cellar.

    As for the message pad excerpt - the crossed out names were men who were struck off strength for various reasons, which are noted beside the name:

    Evacué is wounded.

    Transf. short for Transferée is, of course, Transfered. 

    And we all know A.W.L

    The notations (c) and (m) beside the names are marital status:

    (c) = célibataire - Single

    (m) = marrié - Married.

    Out of that list, E/11051 Private Pierre Gosselin was killed in action during the Liberation of the Netherlands. 

    And now for my most prized possession out of the lot; this is a Catholic Virgin Mary icon Robert kept with him throughout the war.



    (Matchbook included for scale)

    There is a handmade metal case for it, and it was blessed by the Pope when he held an audience for the Van Doos in July 1944. He credited this with keeping him safe and getting through the war in one piece. When he died in 1997 it went to my grandfather, who in turned passed it on to me when I became a policeman - I carry it in my body armour... so far so good!






  8. Hey Folks,

    I thought I'd share a souvenir and medal group which belonged to my great uncle Robert Bleau, a Sergeant in the R22eR who served from the outset and fought in Italy and the Netherlands. He died when I was young but I remember him as always being the life of the party at family events. He passed down his war souvenirs to my uncle who in turn passed  them down to me - turns out my uncle had everything jammed into a ziploc bag! Everything is now appropirately stored.




    This  is how it arrived... :wacky: 




    His medals group. Sadly the Defence Medal is missing.



    Postwar cap badge for veteran events.



    ID Discs.


    The CVSM ribbon from his battledress.



    War trophy - A German Naval Artillery War Badge (Kriegsabzeichen für die Marineartillerie).


    War trophy - an Italian map.




    An excerpt Robert kept from his field message pad from the Italian Campaign.





    Army training manuals.


    A Demobilization booklet and a patriotic British empire magazine in French - Robert who was French-Canadian through and through was a staunch Canadian Federalist and hated the Seperatist movement until the day he died.



    And finally, the man himself.





  9. Since I can no longer edit my original post, here are the images again under a better hosting site (vgy.me)



    Excerpt from the 1964 book History of the Royal West African Frontier Force by Haywood & Clarke



    British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Card


    Military Medal recommendation, appears to have began as a recommendation for the British Empire Medal.


    1942 London Gazette announcement confirming award of the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished service during the East Africa Campaign.


    British Empire Medal recommendation.


    1944 King's Birthday Honours announcing the award of the British Empire Medal.


    1946 London Gazette Mention in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished service during the Burma Campaign.



    Maigumeri gazetted as an Honourary Captain, 1953



    Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Rolls, National Archives


    This 1920s-30s era photo, also from History of the Royal West African Frontier Force by Haywood & Clarke, may well contain a younger Maigumeri, the man in the middle bearing a resemblance but to the contrary appears to have a 1914-15 Star





    P.S. The 1965 book Soldier of Africa by Maurice Hennessy & Edwin Sauter Jr. contains a detailed interview with Maigumeri.


    Does anyone have a copy?

  10. While we're on the topic...





    Picked up this Victory Medal issued to 663140 Acting Corporal George Harcourt Burland Bull, Canadian Machine Gun Brigade at a Sunday Antique Market together with some unrelated items. After a bit of research I'm happy to say it's not just a run of the mill Vic - the Orangeville, Ontario man was underage and lied on his Attestation Papers when he enlisted in December 1915 - I found it suspicious that his apparent age was exactly 18 years of age. I found his birth certificate on Ancestry he was actually 16-1/2 years of age on attestation. I wonder if his superiors figured him out as he did not proceed to France until March 1918 after reaching a proper age and served with the CMG Bde for the rest of the war...