peter monahan

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Everything posted by peter monahan

  1. Written in a lovely blend of 'Military' and 'Govspeak'! 'If you can figure out what this means, there may be a medal bar in it for you!' Thanks for posting this, Frank!
  2. Gary Welcome to the GMIC! South Africa is a closed book to me, I'm afraid and one of our oldest and most helpfull members is sadly no longer with us, but Audrey at Rhino Research [] would almost certainly be able to help and will certainly know whether or not rolls exist. Perhaps some of our SA members can be of assitance in answering the genral question: do rolls exist for SAs in WWI service? Peter
  3. Juat coming to this post, Fazakerley. [BTW, I'm in Alliston]. I don't see any 'Gurdon' listed as serving with the Cdn forces in WWI, so assume he's a Brit. Some of our members can give you better info. as to availibility of records. I did get some info. on two cdns in the RFC/RAF recently, at a fairly minimal cost, for a book I'm doing, so a look at his service records should tell you at least a little on wher he served and so on. Sorry I have nothing more helpful. Good luck with the hunt!
  4. BWM = British War Medal. The other common abreviations are VM for Victory Medal and '14 Star' or '14-'15 Star'. Sorry! Others can speak to the availability of info. on which ships a man served on, though off the top of my head I'd guess his medals would indicate that. RN types, true? As to whether you can get obe to every ship... Hmm. I think the RN had 15+ carriers, almost 20 heavy cruisers and over 200 destroyers by the war's end, never mind subs and other classes, so thst should keep you busy for a bit, certainly. I'm clearly conflating two different medals! Blast this middle-aged brain!
  5. It certainly looks like copper, which must be afirly unusual, as even in a tourist piece it is odd to have a blade which clearly cannot be used. Nice piece, though, and I'd agree it is probably Toureg. I picked up two nice ones in Tchad or Burkina Faso [Haute Volta then] but lost one in a set of luggage on an airplane ride back to Nigeria. My eldest daughter grabbed the other years ago to add to her 'blade' collectiion but it's a standard iron/steel blade with a wooden handle carved to look like an antelope horn and a lovely embossed leather scabbard.
  6. What a lovely set! Thanks for sharing it. Also, Dave, thanks for the handy info. on unscrewing the order. It would never have occurred to me to try such a thing. Not that I own any White Elephants, but one never knows!
  7. Agreed, Cazk. My very first medla was a sliver BWM, one of 40-50 in a box on their way to a smelter back in the '80s when two brothers in texas tried to corner the silver market. 'Pte R. Milner, W Yorkshire Reg't'. $10.00 Cdn, which was a dollar below its bullion value! It would probably cost me upwards of $100 today, as he was a first day of the Somme casualty, though it took me years to confirm that. Now even singles to corps are getting up there. I'd go with a unit, or a battle or campaign to narrow the field, were it me. And hold out for something special. I saw a single BWM to a Captain recently, for $100.00, I think. Turns out he was a farm boy from the UK who joied the Cdn Expeditionary Force, tried 2 or 3 times to pass exams for officer training, finally got a commission, was commended for bravery and died a month after joining his new unit. I may grab it yet!
  8. Fariz I may get my wrist slapped for this - as has happened before! - but I'm going to recommend another forum for answers to your question, as I don't have the impression that too many of our members here are kit collectors as opposed to medals, for example. The Wehrmanch Awards Forum has, despite its name, some very good sub-forums and Allied and other nations kit. there are a large group there of chaps who collect Airbourne and SAS kit and who will likely, based on things I've seen them post in response to similar questions, have the answers you need. Good luck! Peter
  9. I'm sorry to see so few replies to these queries but, sadly, not very surprised. So many of the WWII vets were closed-mouthed about their experiences, as tends to be the case with all combat soldeirs, and most of them are no longer with us now. I do know, however, that at least here in Canada there are/were strong Polish veterans groups and contacting them, in lieu of the Polish government, may be a useful approach. With the wonders of the WWW, research is far easier than it was in the days when 'Google' was a 10 metre long cabinet full of little file cards and a library of 1 or 2 million books! Rodney, thanks for posting! I hope you'll stay with us and keep sharing both information and queries. Peter
  10. Chris Any progress on identifying the recipeint and his gallantry further? A number of us would be quite interested! Peter
  11. Bernard, I hope Fate/Destiny improves your health and keeps you in the 'field' [collecting and sharing information] for many more years. As Michael says, we appreciate what you've shared over time. Bon chance et bonne sante!
  12. Well done, you lot! My only thought was that the closure was of a later pattern, so '58 makes perfect sense.
  13. Wow! I wonder what that will fetch! To expand on what Michael says, for Canadians there is a very helpful 'Canadian Virtual War Memorial' run by our veteran's affairs department, which lists all the WWI and WWII casualties, with links to the CWGC site. In a good number of cases, at least for the Great War, people have added photos of the men and/or their headstones, obituaries, and so on. Sadly, the Circumstances of Death cards only exist for surnames 'A' to 'R' as the remainder were lost at some point. The digitization of the WWI records is complete to 'Murray' as of this month and the 'complete' records include pay, medical, usually a list of units served with and the disposition of the medals, most of which were mailed out in 1920-22. I know all this beacuse I'm on the final edit of a book on 70 men from my area remembered on 3 local memorials. In one case, the medals were returned and, to my surprise, re-named and reissued, with the name of the new recitpient actually included in my man's file. [I would have thought name erasing would by more costly than using a new medal per man, but I guess not.]
  14. Chris, As a man with a number of clergymen in my family - 3 of my mother's brothers - and a sister an ex-nun, I far too often have to explain to people, including other Catholics that priests put their pants on the same way you and I do - one leg at a time! That means that the percentage of saints, ordinary chaps and complete a**holes is the same as in the general population. Sadly, I have met rather too many of the last category in the last decade and am currently taking my spiritual 'business' to another establishment! I'm sorry, but sadly unsurprised to hear that yoiu had this experience. Better lcuk next time. Peter
  15. Interesting. On another forum I frequent, a member posted to the effect that he'd gone to law to get his money back for fake Damebuster memorabilia, icnluding a log book, and then got quite shirty when several people suggested he was an idiot not to have known that the stuff would have been in the NAM! probably no connection to this swine, but clearly the attraction of the unit and its explots lead perhaps otherwise sensible people to do stupid and awful things.
  16. My only helpful advice was going to be 'Buy British Battles and Medals', even in an older edition. I have two ancient versions but both give good 'potted' histories of Britain's military exploits over the last three centuries. If you want to concentrate on the Great War - recent, currently in the news and relatively cheap, Paul Wood's advice is sound as well. But, as Chris notes, enormous variations based on the perceived value of units and service. When I began collecting medals 40 years ago, nobody would touch Indian Army issues because they were 'unresearchable' [false] and everybody wanted medals to casualties because there was a little more info. available. Today, nothing is unresearchable and value often depends on the personal bias of the seller and whether or not a given unit is seen as especially gallant or some other equally immeasurable quality. The acid test, of course, is whether, 24 hours or six months later, you still fell it was money well spent! Good luck! Peter
  17. As Hinrik says, Emma, most merchant sailors got little credit for work which was arguably at least as dangerous as that faced by the RAF Bomber Command and RN, at least if they served in the North Atlantic. Here in Canada the government only recognized MN service within the last decade and a half - long after many survivors had passed away - and issued medals to those who applied, as there ws apparently no central registry from which to draw the names. I also know that a Norweigan who served in our MN - on trawlers, I believe - is recognized as a 'kind of' veteran but has not been able to get medical care from our veteran's medical system, at least as of several months ago when his story briefly made the papers here. Sadly, I suspect that to get the infromation you need you will have to locate and apply directly to the Icelandic authorities to establish what sort of recognition they gave their citizens and how best to track your granfer's service and find out whether he is entitled to any offical recognition and or benefits. The good news is that, as far as I know, Iceland's government and civil service are very modern and, not surprisingly, used to dealing with people who don't speak Icelandic. The other good news seems to be that any query about 'Iceland' + 'merchant navy' produces numerous references to WWII, so this is not an obscure topic. I'd suggest you fire off an email to the Icelandic Ministry of Welfare - - or one of the other Ministries on this site - - and see what happens. I hope this is of some small help! Peter
  18. It sounds like the sort of thing a regimental association, or perhaps a local patriotic group in Dorsetshire, might have produced. I've never heard of it, but then I'm not a Dorsets collector/historian. OYOH, there were hundreds of scrolls, plaques and various other things produced by communities all over the Empire to present to returning vets in recognition of their service. This one, awarded in small numbers for a particularly noteworthy episode, may have been a more elaborate example of such.
  19. Gunner explained the 'X' in his first post thusly: " The 1914-15 Star card (1b above) has the name of the recipient, and ranks (if more than one rank is listed the rank on each of the medals is indicated by symbols such as an "X" or an "X" with dots between the arms next to the rank and the medal with that rank. " As Paul explains, the 'B..." is an archival reference to a medal roll and meant for use by their staff though, with luck, it might allow you to track down the actual roll. Finally, almost as many British soldiers did NOT qualify for the 1914- and 1914-15 Stars as did. Many of Kitchener's Army would not have gotten to France soon enough and none of the men recruited in 1916, '17 or '18 to replace the losses on the Somme did. Nor any soldier who served in the East, Africa and so on. In fact, there were 380, 000 1914 Stars and 2.4 million '14-'15 Stars awarded but a total of 5.6 million men and women enlisted and, in theory, eligible for WWI medals.
  20. That takes me back, Speedytop! When I was a lad going to various Catholic churches I certainly recall seeing St Christopher medals and plaques on cars in the parking lots. Not so common anymore, I fear. In fact I have an uncle, my mother's oldest brother, who actually had a sticker which read 'The driver is a Catholic. If in an accident, please call a priest.' but t is the only one I ever recall seeing. He was a very conservative Catholic, and you can guess what that means.
  21. Tim Just to start you off, the number '1839' is Carrick's 'regimental number', what is often referred to as a 'serial number' as in 'name, rank and serial number'. Yes, 'Driver' was a rank, equivalent to a Private or, in the Artillery, a 'Gunner' but presumably denoting a different set of skills. Keep in mind that what was being driven would have been teams of horses initially, not motor lorries, a skill perhaps rarer and harder to acquire than carrying shells to a field piece. The -11- mark indicates, as you say, 'same as above', so he was still in the RFA but I'm not sure about the second number. Again, it appears to be a serial number and from what Gunner says the blue ink indicates a later entry. I'm not really up on the British system - Canajun, eh? - but it may be that he was assigned a new serial on transfer to the Territorials, post-War, or - much less likely, I'd guess, on transfer to a new unit within the RFA. The Artillery organized itself by Batteries and in Canadian WWI Army, each battery was allotted a specific block of numbers, so it's possible that your man was transferred out of his original unit and that his new unit - battery, divisional train or whoever, issued him a new serial, but I'm sure Gunner can comment on that much more authoritatively than I can. I hope this is some small help. Peter
  22. An interesting article. Thank you for sharing it. I had a teacher when I was in high school who was eventually ordained as a Catholic priest and became a military chaplain then, much later, my pastor. In the Canadian Forces, as in its predecessor force, the British Army, chaplains do wear uniform and hold rank, though not of course in command positions. All chaplians, regardless of denomination - Protestant, RC, Jewish and now Skih, and Muslim I believe, are referred to and addressed as 'Padre' [Father] which I think came from the British Army in Spain in the Napoleonic period. Church services are officially 'not compulsory' but only a silly recruit would refuse to go to one while in basic training and a friend recently told me that when he trained, if one claimed to be an 'atheist' one got up, got into uniform and marched from one church to another with all the other men as each denomination fell out at their own church. Then the atheists marched back to barracks and only then were released fo the day. This fellow said when he trained in thw winter he always went to Catholic Mass because it was the shortest march!
  23. <ark, as you say, most of the AFI units are poorly chronicled. A few were mobilized in War Two for home defence and I suspect that they were robbed of their lower ranks asnd |NCOs for use as instructors in both wars - the officers would likley have been in war exempt occupations. A small group of the 'Tight Horse' actually carried out a private raid against a German ship in neutral Goa during WWII. She was a source of supplies and information for German U boats and surface raiders in the Indian Ocean and a few men crossed the border, took her over and scuttled her. "In 1978 James Leasor wrote an account of the Ehrenfels mission in the book Boarding Party: The Last Charge of the Calcutta Light Horse. The Hollywood film The Sea Wolves based on the book was made in 1980, with actors David Niven, Gregory Peck, Trevor Howard and Roger Moore."
  24. I wouldn't have thought their job - I knew what it was - militarized, but wasn't sure what that term covered. Your response makes perfect sense. Thanks! Oddly, over the last decade, what I've learned about WWI, about which I'm writing, seems to have displaced much of what I knew of WWII, which is where my interests began, some 4-5 decades ago.