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Gentleman's Military Interest Club


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Everything posted by William1

  1. Those ebay tank masks are as fake as ffff.....ake can be and a lot of people are being badly stung. Several real ones just went through Bosleys and C&T Auctions and didn't make as much as some of the fakes! The flood of fakes is devaluing real ones as most buyers don't seem able to tell the difference. There's what I'm pretty sure is a real one coming up in Woolley and Wallis on 21st November if anybody's interested.
  2. William1

    Somme related items

    Colin I saw your post and blog on your Great Uncle. A fine job of work there. Also I am very impressed with the detail on your model and it looks indeed like you got the helmet paint spot on! Peter The liner in the helmet I posted is the first pattern of British helmet liner, produced from late 1915 to sometime around (I think) May 1916. All front line troops had helmets by then and presumably stocks had been built up so the next type of liner didn't start making an appearance on the battlefield until around autumn 1916. Best, W.
  3. William1

    Somme related items

    Hi Tony I'll have to see if I can find those two items. I have rather more stuff than I ought to (!) and it sometimes takes me a while to locate things. The Brodie has the pronged buckle, it's just not showing as you correctly surmise. Another Somme-related piece. This 16th Londons jacket was issued to Private Rowley in August 1916 - you can just about make out 8 16 going across his service number on the pocket. He joined his unit on 7 July 1916, just missing the 56th Division's disastrous Gommecourt attack, and was invalided home in April 1917. The Division remained on the Somme until the autumn and took part in several more battles. I'm guessing my man was a HQ clerk or something like that, as I can see no other way for the jacket to survive. Cheers, W.
  4. William1

    Somme related items

    I've just noticed that I never answered your question, Chris. The bayonet is marked to the 4th Regiment, the scabbard to the 19th. I have a couple of other Somme-related items - a Vigilant pocket periscope named to a private in the 2nd A&SH dow Sept 1916, and a pocket diary to a stretcher bearer in the Sheffield Pals who was KIA on 1st July 1916 at Serre. Both packed away and no photos handy. Also this 1st pattern British steel helmet which isn't provenanced but is the type worn during the Somme battle with the typical green paint finish.
  5. The word Inspected followed by a date is a typical Royal Marine stamping. From the buttons this is Royal Marine Artillery. The letter C is for Chatham.
  6. I don't usually like being proved wrong but if it happens this time I will be more than happy. I am certainly not out to deliberately rain on anyone's parade and I very much hope this cap turns out to be bona fide.
  7. I have seen just one real one and it was in a pretty poor state. Of course things survive in different condition but this one looks too good to be true and even from these low-res pictures it seems to lack the appearance of any great age. Does that leather band, or the fur, really look old? Can you really trust that plate, knowing that extremely accurate copies have been made? Even after nearly four decades of collecting British kit from the Crimea to WW1, I may be totally wrong about this. If you "buy" the seller, fine, but it is perfectly possible to be an expert in one field and fooled in another, especially when you want something to be right. If it's real then of course it's a very fine piece, and if not it's an expensive mistake. Personally I have always have to feel very sure indeed about high-end purchases, but it's not my call here. I don't know the seller and I haven't handled the cap. All I can do is offer an honest, unbiased opinion based on what I see here.
  8. William1

    Somme related items

    Tony, thanks for posting that wonderful series of battlefield photos. I have a few "Somme souvenirs". One I have a photo of handy is this German bayonet. The bayonet and scabbard are both marked to Bavarian regiments although with different numbers. Note the inscription scratched into the back of the scabbard. I have had this for quite a number of years.
  9. As I've said on the thread with the other cap, I am no expert on these and can only offer an intelligent (I hope) opinion. I do know for a fact that these helmet plates have been very well copied, also that about ten or fifteen years ago there was one of these in one of the more respectable military auction houses which was mysteriously withdrawn, the word "on the street" being that it was a complete fake. The fur on this one looks oddly new and in extremely good condition. If I had to venture an opinion, I'd say I don't have confidence in it.
  10. Nobody replied at first because there aren't any real experts! These things just don't turn up, and outside museums nobody ever gets the chance to see or handle them. This seems to have undergone a fairly drastic restoration and I just wonder the cork stiffening was not an original part of it and if it was really necessary to dismantle it to the extent shown, but whatever, it's done now. Has the cork sheeting and what remains of the original thread been preserved? Obviously if it is an original it is just about the most fantastic piece of British militaria you could ever expect to find, but without actually radio-carbon dating the cloth and stitching it's only ever going to be an opinion. It certainly looks credible and if the whole thing is hand-stitched, it would be a colossal undertaking to fake one and get it looking so right. My experience doesn't go back beyond the 19th century but if it's worth anything, I'm cautiously in its favour. It'd be much harder to repro than the other one you've posted, which I'm a lot less sure of and will comment on in a moment. And if these two are coming from the same source, that would cause me to think long and hard about who is selling them and why.
  11. William1

    In Memoriam Mervyn Mitton

    I have just returned after a considerable absence and seen this. I am very sorry to learn that Mervyn is no longer with us.
  12. This is a prewar jacket with the "half moon" upper pocket reinforcing pieces, I forget the exact date but perhaps 1910-ish? The cap also looks like an early TA one with the cotton crown lining instead of the regular army's American cloth. It is a good match date-wise for the jacket and probably a more apt display companion than the helmet, if you don't mind me pointing that out.
  13. I am just wondering about the significance of WF rather than RWF. Agree with PD, what an absolute blinder of a tunic!
  14. I thought fellow members would like to see one of these, as they seldom turn up. This pattern was approved for use in South Africa in 1899, and by mid-1900 most of the regular army was using it, though the khaki drill continued in service in a minor way on LOCs, blockhouse garrisons etc. It is in effect a copy in khaki of the red undress frock. Note the two inner skirt pockets, one for the field dressing and one for the description card, forerunner of the ID disc. This belonged to a private in the 5th (militia) Bn Manchester Regt. Unfortunately the number stamped inside the button closure is not fully readable - it is 4**8. 5 Man is visible above the number. This unit was stationed in and around Winburg and Smaldeel in the Free State from 1901-1902, and whilst seeing no major actions, it was evidently involved in the occasional smallscale local engagement, with casualties in action of 1 killed and 3 wounded. Other than a Boer War helmet cover, this is the last remaining piece from my Boer War collection. I particularly like the fading and the heavy wear. It looks as if he has had cartridges in his pockets! There is a photo of men from this unit in After Pretoria - the Guerilla War, showing them with slouch hats and web bandoliers.
  15. Army boots of this period are an interest of mine (how sad is that?!), and I have a 1918 dated pair of this pattern. Research (mine and others') indicates that they probably only got to the Western Front in very limited numbers in the final few weeks of the war, and I doubt very much that any got to Mespot before the Armistice. The pattern was declared obsolete sometime in the 1920s and is thus unlikely to have been in use in 1937. So I think this photo can safely be pinned down to India in the early 1920s.
  16. Hello Jef The bottle is not an official pattern. Bottles of this type were purchased in quantity by the British authorities from Canada to make up shortfalls in the production of the standard pattern. They were made by the Aluminium Goods Company and the few I have seen are dated 1914 or 1915 under the felt. This one is 1914. They are often seen in photographs, particularly during the first half of the war. Regards, William
  17. Inside: (The pack should be further down but the set won't lie flat that way. This is the second pattern of large pack, with the rear attachment tabs in web for extra strength.)
  18. Hello Jef Here's what the complete Pattern 1914 leather equipment looks like assembled. Sorry I don't have a better picture - this set is currently disassembled and packed away in a box. Regards, William
  19. Hi TS Based on your description I wouldn't have any qualms about this being a bona fide Boer War jacket. A great many patterns were tried out during that war, both for regular and other units. In "A military history of Perthshire" there are photos of Black Watch men wearing no less, as I recall, than 12 different variants! I look forward to seeing the jacket once you've got some pictures handy. Regards, W.
  20. A very interesting topic. Can anyone give an opinion on the two tallies pictured below? HMS Nile was sold off in 1912 so I presume this tally is no later than that. It appears to be in silk thread and is more elaborate than usual. Would this have been worn onboard, produced for some special occasion, or might it be just a ship's souvenir? HMS Warspite served through both world wars. This tally seems to have narrow letters and dots but is not wire woven. It appears to be silk thread. Is this credible? Or is it a modern copy? Thanks, William.
  21. 1921 seems spot on. I'm almost sure he is wearing the boot with crescent-shaped toecase that was introduced in 1918 and out of use by the mid-20s.
  22. These are marked "ankle length". Fox were still making this exact model in WW2 and they are most likely to be from that period.
  23. That is a terrific collection. As a one-time Boer War collector I still have an interest, and could happily spend an entire day browsing at your place! There is so little surviving from the Boer side. Just great to see what you have amassed.
  24. The final price says it all. Real ones have suddenly become extremely sought after and within the past few months have been making not less than £300, and sometimes a good deal more. Amazing, considering that they were a £150 item just a couple of years ago. There's currently another copy, not even as good as this (it doesn't even have eyelets) on a dealer's website for £460. The same dealer has a "Corblimey" for £1250 which apparently is "on hold". There are a number of features about this that don't match the pattern. Oh dear....