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Mervyn Mitton

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Everything posted by Mervyn Mitton

  1. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-6209-0-31469300-1405768624.jpgclick I am closing down my Bournemouth flat and intend to rent it. However, whilst it was being cleared a number of old items came to light. These included many of the items that will be in Wallis and Wallis sales over the next few months. See Pinned item at top. Some of the pieces found were my original equipment when I served in the Met. Police from 1967 to 1974 , when my Father died and I had to take over our Company. Rarely, I have my full set of official notebooks - rare, because they have to be handed-in. However, if you had Court dates coming-up they were left with you. I also had brought over my original truncheon. This will feature in further posts - however, today I thought I would cover my original whistle. Strange, that I would carry it for so many years - yet, I don't remember ever reading the front inscription. I was surprised that it turns out to be one of the very first issued. The original means to raise an Alarm for the Met. Police - was a rattle, which was carried in a pocket in the tail coat. These lasted for over 50 years, but by 1884 it was felt they were out- dated and also, they could not be heard easily with increased traffic noise. Tests were carried out between whistles and Rattles. The Rattle could be heard at approx. 400 yards - where-as the Whistle carried for approx. 800 - 900 yards. The first whistles were domed and used a pea inside. They looked rather like a Referee's whistle. The air whistle followed with-in a few years. The were always numbered for the officer they were issued to - however, common sense said that they would keep re-issuing them - even if the number was wrong. Mine has the key for the old Police Boxes - and the wording - The Metropolitan Patent METROPOLITAN POLICE Then address Details for Hudson's. Birmingham 031576 This last being the original constable it was issued to. Marched out in 1829 - progress to 1884, possible Warrant Number at that date - 031576. Whistles of this age are rare - COULD ANYONE HELP WITH TRACING THE NUMBER ?
  2. George 3rd. (he died 1820) or George 4th. (1820-1830) all brass tipstaff. Usually they had wood as a grip or, handle - so, fairly rare. The inscription is B.EVANS CONSTABLE OF SURREY. More correctly this should read 'A Constable of Surrey' - and the spelling of Surrey as Surry is not a mistake - rather the phoenetic spelling of the time. He would have been a High Constable in a biggish town, such as Guildford.The heralic Royal arms are the 1816 to 1835 pattern and show the Hanoverian Arms in the centre , with the Crown from when they became a Kingdom in 1816.
  3. I am advised that possibly the most complete Danish medal collection will appear at Morton and Eden's auction on 26th November 2014. Sale 71. To view the beautiful photographs go to www.mortonandeden.com - for the collector this is a great opportunity. Mervyn
  4. Even today you can often read, or, hear referred to in converstion, that someone was 'bludgeoned unconcious' or, ' badly bludgeoned in an attack'. The expression comes from an early club , where the head was separate from the handles but, joined by lengths of rope. This gave a greater force to the blow and they were often used to give a fatal knock. They come-in different shapes and woods - but all have the head separate from the stick.
  5. Even before weapons evolved with our ancestors, little ape like creatures probably helped to support themselves on two legs with the help of a stick. So, in all probability a stick is mans' earliest tool. This has continued to evolve over tens of thousands of years - through spears, cudgels, daggers with points - right down to the Victorian Gentleman's walking stick - so necessary for social status. Walking sticks still play an important part in 21st. Century life - for the disabled - for the elderly - and for a help up steep hills when taking the dog for a walk. There are also many Continents where a stick can be essential to guard against snakes - Africa, Australia ans South America come to mind. Very early on sticks became decorated and elaborated-on to show a person's status. The early Sumerians and their period - some 8,000 years ago - were probably the forerunners of sticks as emblems of office. Closely followed by the Egyptians. The Museums in Egypt show many styles and purposes for sticks or, wands of office. Very many were found in the Boy Pharoah Tutankhamon's tomb - and each was used for a different purpose and a different ceremonial occasion. Their purpose may have varied over the generations - but the generic styles did not. One of the reasons for a member of nobility to carry a stick, was that it showed he was just that - a nobleman who did not work with his hands. Also, it never hurt that you held a weapon in your hand at all times. By the 16th and 17th. Centuries there were a number of refined uses for sticks which represented Authority. Tipstaffs are a perfect example - the bearer of one could have people arrested and often seize property. Another example - from a later period - would be Black Rod - carried in the British Houses of Parliament. The simple fact is that in homes all over the World, there are walking sticks standing in halls and by doors. This makes it a perfect article for our member's to submit examples that they have in their families. I will be showing some pieces that I own - and will also show a number from earlier periods. ADD YOURS ?
  6. I had a small collection of model vehicles brought-in last week. I don't usually have toys of any kind - however, these all seem to be in good condition and Christmas should find a buyer. I suspect that they were a specialist collection as there are 8 different types of busses. This could make some interesting posts for this Forum - apart from vehicles, there are many other types of toys - all of which could make good threads. Have a go............... http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-6209-0-55135900-1352903626.jpgclick
  7. We have many military historians with-in our ranks - so, I am showing this photograph of Boer and British rifle ammunition in the hopes of stimulating a discussion on the merits of both rifles and their ammo.. Hart's Hill was also the scene of an important battle and a distinguished charge - also, worth a description . I think sometimes, that many of our members sit back and wait for the 'same' people to do all the work - then a quick glance and it's forgotten. PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG !
  8. I promised to send another police sword. This is the pattern for Thames River Police from 1798 and for the London Metropolitan Police from 1829. Unlike the Counties pattern, it is longer, not so curved and has bars on the guard. This is dated 1867 - when the Met. ordered new weapons for the Irish problem. (That should get some people going !!) Two following pictures. Mervyn
  9. The Germans used many different patterns for dress bayonets and this is a nice example for a 1930's Police dress bayonet. Chrome fittings and blade and with good stag horn grips. Well marked with maker's name - and , very importantly , matching numbers on cross guard and scabbard. Strangely, many examples were never fitted with attachments for a rifle - and must have been worn like a dress dagger. This one has full rifle fittings. Good examples of this bayonet are not easy to find - especially in this condition.
  10. For the Diamond Jubilee (60) of Queen Victoria in 1897 there were enormous official celebrations - including major parades through London. We see many of the Police Jubilee medals - however, this is the first time I have seen an official pass. Obviously to someone of importance - it is 9ct. gold, I can only think of a Chief Constable. However, what do these initials mean ? I am thinking along the lines of East Riding Constabulary Board - but, then why a Pass. Was the Parade in - perhaps - Leeds. Or, did East Yorks send a contingent to London - a big possibilitity ? Please put your thinking caps on and see if we can find the answer to something that has puzzled me for 30 years ?
  11. Mervyn Mitton


    For quite some years now the riots and disturbances in Countries around the World have been increasing. Partly this is due to the internet and the so-called 'Social Media' - people become involved in matters that are nothing to do with them - but boredom, and a sense of mischief lead to volumes of posts that end-up as street demonstrations. The UK experienced severe rioting a year ago - now the US has similar fighting and looting. South Africa is in it's 3rd week of Xenophobic attacks (means a hatred and fear of foreigners) against African refugees from other African countries. There have been many deaths - much looting of their property, and many fleeing back over the borders. The Govt. talks - but, this is a big country and the authorities have had to call on the Army to assist. When you start to analyse the reports you quickly realise that few countries have been spared this looting and rioting - Africa, the Far East and South America have always had problems - but, it is now common in the Middle East and Europe. Very few Countries can allow the luxury of having their Beat Officers deal with serious numbers of agitators and as a result most major cities have Response - or, Riot Squads. Some of these are very sophisticated - others, just groups trained to work together. For some time I have been wondering on how to get some statistics and pictures of these special squads - but, short of writing to every World Force it seemed an impossible task. Then - out of the Blue ! - I was looking for something related to Police and found a news type server called "Buzz Feed". Among it's thousands of refs. I found an article on the rioting in Ferguson near St. Louis and an author - by name - Marco Djurica - had brought together pictures of riot squads from Police Forces in many different countries. I give full recognition to both the Server and to Mr. Djurica. His photos show the men and their equipment - but, he does not go into great detail about the particular equipment they use.My titles will just give the town, city or, country. There are some 30 pictures - with my MD this will take time to post - so, I will pin this intro. and then over the next few days/weeks will add the pictures. For a "World Police Forum" they are exactly the ref. we need - and I hope will encourage comment, criticism , and additional photos from countries not covered. Mervyn SOUTH AFRICAN RIOT POLICE
  12. One of the British Raj's most illustrious Regiments. Skinner's Horse was also to be known as the 1st. Bengal Cavalry. They were formed in 1803 as Captain Skinner's Corps of Irregular Cavalry. He was British - but, married to an Indian Princess. This initially barred him from joining the Honourable East India Company (HEIC). He created the unique and famous yellow uniform - which gave the nickname of The Yellow Boys. After many succesful actions against breakaway Indian principalities he was commissioned into the HEIC and given the rank of Lt. Colonel - however, he was a Brigadier at local level. He died in 1841 at 63 years of age. The Indian Mutiny brought about many changes in the old HEIC army and both Police and Military were reformed in 1861. This was the date Skinner's became the 1st. Bengal Cavalry. Their last change of name was in 1921 when they became the 1st. Duke of York's Own Skinner's Horse. The Indian Army took over the Regiment after Independence in 1947 and they are now a tank Regt.. Their long - and illustrious history is still carefully preserved and honoured. I bought this beautiful porcelain hand made and handpainted figure a few weeks ago - I had planned to have it at the house, but really have no place left to show it to advantage . It is in the shop and I will envy whoever buys-it. The sword is the 1912 Officers' pattern cavalry sword - so this uniform will be for the final period 1921-1947.
  13. The early part of Queen Victoria's Reign (1837 -) was beset by many riots and disturbences. The Industrial Revolutuon was under way - enclosures acts had restricted the rights of ordinary people to graze their animals and more importantly people were leaving the land in great numbers to work in the new factories. A recipe for disaster and one which the agitators took full advantage of. The worst potential disaster was in fact the forerunner of a revolution - The Chartist Riots of the 1848 period. The new Police - from 1829 - were not in suffiecient numbers - or, well organised enough to cope. London was at greatest risk and over a million people were being mobilised to March and bring down organised society. The Duke of Wellington stepped-in and raised over 200,000 Special Constables to defend London. People came forward from many different backgrounds - including senior City people and ordinary tradesmen. There were some battles in Manchester - but, probably because of the determination of Londoners the Chartists 'fizzled' away and the conflict was kept under control. The City of London raised large numbers and their truncheons from this period are painted black - with the red cross of the City on a white background and in the left top quarter an upright dagger. As I said many S.C.'s were Gentlemen in high positions and felt it was their duty. With the truncheon I am showing here - there is more to the story. Halfway down on the reverse are the Royal Arms - post 1837. Right at the bottom is a Portcullis - or raising gate that protected castles. This represents the gate to the old Palace and had come to represent the Borough of Westminster - and, more importantly - The Houses Of Parliament. My interpretation is that after he left the City of London this man became a Member of Parliament. Tipstaffs and truncheons were often carried as marks of authority - and with the Royal Arms this would seem to be the case here. A rare truncheon and the first time I have seen a Special Constable's marked for two distinct services.
  14. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_01_2015/post-6209-0-35525100-1422270535.jpgclick This post on The Oudtshoorn Volunteer Rifles was posted on 15 January by militarybadge. Unfortunately, he posted as a Blog and although he has had 78 views there has been no answer. There is no easy way to transfer a Blog post to the standard forums - hence a photo - and you will need to enlarge.
  15. With quite a number of members having an interest in Special Constables, I thought there might be ref. material in this set. I have forgotten which town's coat of arms is on the middle one - perhaps someone will recognise it ? When the 1st.WW started in 1914, many regular police left to join-up - the result was that in haste, the authorities had to start a war reserve special police force. I mentioned , in an earlier post, that they had only basic identity badges and they carried a truncheon. When the War ended a number of Midlands towns had truncheons specially made to handout as mementoes to those men who had volunteered. The crests were transfers, and as such are liable to rubbing - so, rarely are they in this condition. From left, they are : Rochdale ; ? ; Blackburn
  16. I have friends in London who visit SA to see an elderly relative. Surprisingly, it is his wife who is the collector - she is presently researching a book on Zulu artefacts and has also started to collect old decorated truncheons. During their last visit she produced photos of recent additions for my identification and I thought members might be interested. This could take a few days, so I will 'pin' the post until finished. Please feel free to comment - and also add any interesting ones that you may have in your own collections.
  17. Amongst the collection I recently purchased was this M1898 sawback bayonet for the Mauser. There was also a plain back version of the same size. This one is dated 1899 on the spine - they were mostly issued to Machine Gunners and the Pioneers. The extra length of the blade making it even more useful for cutting down trees and shrubs to give a clear field of fire. They seem to be quite rare and very collectable - Chris ? I understand that it was known as the Mauser LONG GEWHER 98 Sawback. Please - as always, we post these items for the interest of members. Some of you will be experts on particular pieces - so, do feel free to post any info. and additional pictures.
  18. This is a rare badge these days. Northern Rhodesia had only some 200 European Officers and , I believe, about 8oo Black Constables. I am open to correction on this last total. The Territory became Zambia and was lightly populated - although of great size. They wore a similar uniform to the BSAP - cap with band - for which this is the badge , shorts and shirts and long socks. Plus of course a ceremonial uniform. Should any member have photos to enlarge this post they will be appreciated. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
  19. Mervyn Mitton


    This is a 19th century Indo/Persian belt dagger - known as a KARD - however, I expect it has other names . The areas of main use were Northern India,Pakistan, Persia and prob. into Afghanistan. This example is unusual in that the original scabbard is present - leather, with an interesting top piece which has been pierced to show the red cloth underneath. The gold at the end of the sheath is pure beaten gold and when new it must have gleamed. Obviously for a person of some importance, the brass fittings on the hilt and guard would have been gilded - now, mostly worn off. Overall it is 18.5 inches (45cm) and the blade - which is finely engraved is 11 in. (28cm) Would be nice to see some examples from other members.
  20. The Orange Free Sate was a Boer Colony that adjoined the Transvaal and the South African Republic. They did not have the numbers of the Transvaal - however, they had a proper administration under a President - and a small uniformed Army. Part of this was the Oranje Vrystaat Artillerie - numbering less then 200 men. By the end of 1900 they had expanded to approx. 400 men. Only small numbers of men actually were organised as units and wore Uniforms. The Police, the President's Guard and the Artillery. The set battles and military formations ceased to exist towards the end of 1900 when Pretoria was captured and the British had established superior Forces. The fighting was taken over by the Boer Kommando units and they continued the fight until surrendering in 1902. This is a slouch hat badge for the OVS Artillerie - and with such small numbers is a rare item. I expect Will has further examples and variations in his collection and hopefully he will be able to show them in the future. I showed in the Medal section a rare civilian QSA to an accountant. You will see from his bars that he served in Cape Colony and the Orange Free State - since these two items have been kept together over the years I suspect that he acquired the badge whilst serving-in the OFS. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_11_2013/post-6209-0-28955700-1383387399.jpgclick
  21. http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-81124300-1402318743.jpgclick http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-28248200-1402318878.jpgclick This is an 1896 United States 20 Dollar Gold Piece - or, as it is generally known a Double Eagle. The first Gold Coins were of 10 Dollar denominations and became known as Eagles. They were the largest denomination coin. However, this proved inadequate and the 20 dollar was created. They are still made today - for collectors - but, have a different design. These early Double eagles are of 22carat gold and sought after by collectors. I think this would only rate FINE for grading.
  22. With so many 'new' Countries being created - particularly in Africa - it is always a problem to have new flags, medals and awards. Usually they follow the politics of the new Govt. and commemorate some strange idealistic subjects in poorly made design. The exception to this was Rhodesia. When U.D.I. (Unilateral Declaration of Independence - the decision to have Independence with only one party agreeing) was declared in 1965, they had the same problem of creating new names, Institutions, flags and also, medals and awards. However, you must remember that the decision to 'break' links was really the fault of a very intransigent British Govt. - under Harold Wilson. The approx. 250,000 white population were mostly of British descent and had fought strongly in both World Wars. They did not want their link with Britain forgotten and so most of the changes were not 'new' ideas but, rather revisions on the old familiar ways. Medals and Awards, therefore, followed the pattern of the established order - just with changes to design. The Order of the British Empire has always been a convenient way to reward both Military and Civilians - with different grades to cover most eventualities. The Rhodesian Govt. decided to follow this tried and trusted scheme and set-up the Rhodesian Legion of Merit. They were given out with extreme caution in order to protect the esteem in which they were held. The different grades followed the British system - coming down from the very top ones to a Commander of the Legion of Merit - and an Officer of the LM - and, finally a Member. An M.L.M. (Member of the Legion of Merit) was the direct equivalent of an M.B.E. - carried the right to have the initials following the name and was worn as a breast decoration. The period of U.D.I. only lasted until 1980. Mainly economic problems and the small population were responsible - but, one cannot overlook the treachery of the British Govt. who were determined to hand the Country to political activists. The result can be clearly seen today in the state of Zimbabwe. During this 15 year period there was a continuing war against terrorism - but, only 300 MLM's to civilians were awarded and 55 to the Military. This makes the award one of the rarer and most sought after for collectors.
  23. I am hoping that some of the experts in this sub-forum, will be able to identify which model of Tranter this is, and also a date? I only bought it this morning so, it has yet to be cleaned. I think most of the bluing is under the grime and there is some fine decorative engraving. Unusually, there is an owner's name engraved along the top - JOHN HAYTON GRAHAM'S TOWN - strangely, the word Graham's Town is shown with an apostrophe and as separate words. Grahamstown is the capital of the eastern Cape and was formed by the 1820 settlers - in (wait for it !) 1820. I spoke to the museum this morning and his name isn't familiar - however, this was the centre for the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Kaffrarian Wars. I found some info. on the web - but it doesn't help date it to a model or, year. Will show a number of photos and will be most grateful for any help.
  24. Mervyn Mitton

    If you like medals;

    I just hope he never fell in his swimming pool ?
  25. Mervyn Mitton

    Goodbye Cobber or Journeys End

    For an Australian this is a very evocative scene. As with Canada and South Africa at some point in WW1 most houses flew a flag of mourning - the death toll was just so high Personally, I can think of several Aussie museums who would welcome being able to put it on show. Thankyou. Mervyn