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ralstona

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Everything posted by ralstona

  1. Interesting points! I have always liked these Medaille d'Honneur. Especially the large ones for marine and colonies. I've always wanted one with an Africa connection (the search continues). I've managed to find a nice early ribbon for it. Sadly I don't imagine St.PetM was high on anyone's priority list so if it got sent out without a name it probably didn't bother anyone. They probably figured it would be so uncommon in the colony that no one would know the difference.
  2. Recent pick up. Medaille d"Honneur 1st class in Silver, Ministry of Marine and Colonies Embossed on Reverse "Incendie du 15-16 Aout 1879" (Fire of 15-16 August 1879) When I bought it I had no information on the details and neither did the seller. Still I sort of knew there was a decent chance of narrowing this one down. My research started with what I knew. A fire in 1879. I reasoned that a "Marine and Colonies" medal for a Fire was likely for a colony and not a marine issue. Even a fire on a ship would not be called an "Incendie". Then the question was ... how many fires in French colonies could have occurred on August 15-16, 1879? Not many, right? Well I was right. I found just one. The New York Times reported a ... "Violent fire that devoured 24 houses along with the ministry of the Interior, the Navy and the Post Office which were totally destroyed." Location: St. Pierre et Miquelon (France's last remaining North American colony. A tiny outpost near Newfoundland, home to the France's Cod fishing interests). Then I found this in the "Annuaire de Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon" published in 1900... https://books.google.com/books?id=kdE-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq="incendie+du+15-16+Aout+1879"&source=bl&ots=8LYfQA_WIl&sig=_a8ZaMhEQkKGGlZVXokC9sCH-WY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi9_pKS_5XdAhWKt1kKHdujCaAQ6AEwAHoECAAQAQ#v=onepage&q="incendie du 15-16 Aout 1879"&f=false "Recompenses Honorifiques" "Medaille de 1re Classe En Argent" "A l'occasion de l'incendie du 15-16 Aout 1879" Hacala, Sergent-Major du Pompiers Marsoliau, calfat (caulker) Bingo! I suppose I'll never know which of these two men earned this medal or why it was embossed with only the incident and not the name too. (Or why the "Annuaire" only printed their last names). Hacalas and Marsoliaus still live on St. Pierre et Miquelon today. Hacala is a common name there, of Basque origin (as many names are on St. Pierre).
  3. Norvege, Afrique, France, Liberation? Not exactly sure. His Levant has "Levant" and "Levant 1925-26" Art
  4. Just heard back from Jim Kern at the Vallejo Naval Museum. "Please excuse my delay in responding to your email about your very interesting Mare Island flag. Beginning soon after the Civil War, a flag loft was established at Mare Island, purportedly to provide employment for Civil War widows. The flag loft eventually grew to make flags for the entire US Pacific fleet and (with the sail loft) also made sails, canvas boat covers, signal flags, banners, and anything else made of cloth. They also made flags for ships of foreign navies that often came to Mare Island for repairs. There were two British ships that came to Mare Island for repairs during the war, HMS Liverpool and HMS Orion. As near as I can tell, Liverpool departed Mare Island in November 1941 and Orion departed in March of 1942, so your flag could not have been from either of these ships. However, US Navy ships were constantly arriving and departing from Mare Island throughout the war, so they may have brought flags to British ships that were stationed elsewhere in the Pacific. Interestingly, before the war Mare Island even made flags for visiting German ships, as evidenced by the attached photos of a German swastika flag made at Mare island in 1936." This flag is the same large #2 size as mine.
  5. Just picked this up. Royal Navy Ensign marked "Great Britain No. 2" and "Mare Island Feb 1943" on the hoist. Flag is big (Hoist = 7.5 feet, Fly = 15 feet) A bit tattered. It is covered with old repairs. Mare Island Naval Shipyard is in Vallejo, California. The first shipyard on the west coast it was opened until 1996. There was a flag makers shop that produced ensigns for the US navy (and some Allied navies during WWII). The flag shop was staffed by 400 people and included 300 female seamstresses. They produced, among many others, the two flags that flew at Iwo Jima in 1945. I have an email in with the Vallejo Naval Museum to see if they have any more information. I believe the "No. 2" refers to the size. They made sizes 1 - 12, #1 being the biggest and 12 being the smallest. Among the Royal Navy ships repaired at Mare Island during the war were HMS Liverpool and HMS Orion. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  6. DanEMS, yes I think that is the full entitlement. Chris, thanks. Yes I'd love to get this shown more widely. Any ideas how to do tbis?
  7. Thank you Elmer. I just got these books. Pacchiotti is confirmed as being with the 26th Regiment (they have the AVM entries for all army units in the Italo-Turkish War).
  8. Pacchiotti seems to be listed under the 26th Regiment but his rank is Zappatore. Did infantry regiments have this rank or was it only Engineers (Genio)? Maybe he was attached to the 26th Regiment? The only other 26th regiment MBVM for 27 Dec 1911 are two zappatore (including Pacchiotti), two medics, and a Lieutenant Colonel. Also the two Zappatore awarded MBVMs are from different cities (Rome and Turin) which would imply they were not in the same unit.
  9. Mustapha Kemal, Derna, Libya 1911. He was wounded in Libya in early 1912 in one of the first aerial bombardments in world history. "During the Battle of Derna on 16–17 January 1912, while Mustafa Kemal was assaulting the Italian-controlled fortress of Kasr-ı Harun, two Italian planes dropped bombs on the Ottoman forces and a piece of limestone from a damaged building's rubble entered Mustafa Kemal's left eye; which caused a permanent damage on his left eye's tissue, but not a total loss of sight. After receiving medical treatment for nearly a month (he attempted to leave the Red Crescent's health facilities early after only two weeks, but when his eye's situation worsened, he had to return and resume the treatment) on 6 March 1912 Mustafa Kemal became the Commander of the Ottoman forces in Derna. He managed to defend and retain the city and its surrounding region until the end of the Italo-Turkish War on 18 October 1912." (from the website - http://www.liquisearch.com/mustafa_kemal_atatürk/military_career/italo-turkish_war_1911–1912
  10. Thanks Paul, I must admit, I have a weakness for these when they have an Africa connection. Here's a picture of one of the 10 officer casualties from the battle at Derna on Dec. 27, 1911. Lt. Barberis served with the 7th Regiment of Infantry and earned a Silver AVM for the battle. And a postcard from the 26th Regiment's time in Derna, Libya.
  11. Just picked this up. A nice Bronze AVM for Italo-Turkish War in Libia. Named on Back: Derna 27-XII-1911 Pacchiotti, Mario The action at Derna in December 1911, saw an Italian force of 3,500 repel an attack by Turkish and Libyan forces. Ten officers were killed or wounded and 108 other ranks were killed or wounded. Turkish forces at the battle were led by Mustapha Kemal (later Ataturk). Pacchiotti's citation reads: During the combat he was always the first to rush where most serious was the danger, and fights bravely and tenaciously urging his comrades by word and example. – Derna, 27 December 1911. Pacchiotti served with the 26th Infantry Regiment as a Zappatore. Lt. Giovanni Esposito of the 5th Alpini Regiment won the GOLD AVM for this action.
  12. I am also awaiting a copy of "Legion Etrangere a Narvik". It is coming from France and was originally published in 1945. I am hoping it may contain some specific details about my GGF. I am desperately looking for the citation for his LOH for Norway 1940. I do believe it was a combat citation. If anyone has any leads, it would be most appreciated. This is sadly one of the few pieces of paperwork that is missing from his archive. Doty's book is a great read. It is quoted extensively in Porch's history of the Legion.
  13. Haven't posted in awhile. I have been working on the article about him recently. I just picked up a 2nd Edition of Bennett Doty's excellent memoir of his time with the Legion in Syria in 1925-26. He was a legionnaire in the 29th Company of the 5th Battalion of the 4 REI. My great-grandfather was a Sjt.Maj. with the 5th (Machine Gun) Company of the same unit (V/IV REI). The V/IV REI became the 8/1 REI in 1926). Doty's book recounts the actions at Messefrie, Ressaz and Souieda. My GGF was present for all of these. Both Doty and my GGF won the right to wear the fouragerre (CdG -TOE) "a titre personal". They both earned CdG TOEs personally as well (2 of the 110 awards of the CdG for action in Syria in 1925). Doty's was for Ressaz. My GGF's was for Messifre. The book contains a picture of Doty "just after a skirmish" in Syria wearing a dirty khaki jacket with "4" collar patches and a Casque Coloniale (Pain de Sucre). I have a picture of my GGF in Syria wearing the same collar patches and the same helmet. See pics.
  14. Thanks for the response. I had already contacted the researcher at the Malaya Volunteers Group. He is doing some investigating. He had never seen one either. I had thought about a car badge too.
  15. I picked up the badge today. A little mystery emerged. Turns out the badge has had a nicely made silver palm and lion applied over the same design underneath. It is attached with a pair of screws. I have no idea why this was done. I also don't think it is a helmet plate. It is totally flat. It may be a cross belt plate.
  16. Hello, I just bought this in an auction. Didn't pay much and was intrigued. It was advertised as Helmet Plate. It could be I suppose but I am not convinced. Its size is: Height 5 1/2", Width: 3 3/4. Questions: Is it authentic? Is it a Helmet Plate? Is it something else for a uniform? (cross belt plate, cartridge box plate) Is it not for a uniform at all? Any thoughts would be helpful. Art
  17. Contacted a book seller in Australia that had a copy of "Downside and the War". They gratuitously agreed to scan the pages on Major Sweetman for me. Now I have a picture of my man. The write up on him includes some new information including: 1. Gruesome details of his mortal wound. He was shot in the groin leading his men at Ctesiphon. Despite his injury he stayed with them. He was evacuated after the battle on a hospital ship on the Tigris but died before they reached Kut. 2. He was put up for the D.S.O. three times. All were downgraded to M.I.D.
  18. Yes, I am hoping so. Would be a QSA/KSA (Captain, Worcesters) and a 14 star/bar and victory medal with M.I.D. Also, if anyone has a copy of "Downside in the War 1914-1918" I would love to know. There is an entry on Major Sweetman which includes a picture. I may buy the book but if I can secure some scans instead that would probably do. Not sure how the medal ended up in New Jersey. It is missing its suspension bar which has been replaced by simple ring that must have been used to wear it on a chain. But I can't imagine who would have done this as he was unmarried and had no children. One of his sister's perhaps? He did have family in the USA. His cousin (the Sinn Fein founder's son) lived in Currie, Minnesota and worked with the Minnesota Irish Immigration Association. Any other info anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. Art
  19. Just bought this here in the states. Paid $60. Quite a story. Medal - British War MedalNaming - Major M.J.J. SweetmanInformation - DOB - 1864Name - Michael James Joseph SweetmanReligion - CatholicDate of Death - 27/11/1915Age - 51Rank - MajorUnit - 2/Worcestershire Regiment attd. 2/Dorsetshire Regiment.Cemetery - Kut War CemeteryAwards- 3x M.I.D. (WWI)Son of - Michael James Sweetman / Margaret PowellFrom - Lamberton Park, Queens Co., IrelandPrior Service - South African War (m.i.d.) (entitled QSA, bars Wittebergen, Cape Colony,Transvaal and KSA, two bars)D.O.W. - 27/11/15 from wounds sustained several days earlier at Battle of Ctesiphon (22-24, Nov)M.I.D. - L/G - 5.4.1916, 13.7.1916Educated - Downside, London University, SandhurstRetired - prior to WWI 1914 - Returned to the colors (Worcestershire Regt.)1914 - Wounded and M.I.D. in Flanders at Polygon Wood in October (entitled 1914 Star and Bar, Victory Medal)Attached - 2/Dorset Regt for Persian Gulf Expedition (2ND in command)Became Commanding Officer of 2/Dorsetshire when Major, Acting Lt.Col. Radcliffe was woundedLed successful attacks on Turkish Redoubts during Battle of Ctesiphon.2/Dorset was one of only 3 British Line Regiments at Ctesiphon.Mortally wounded during Battle.Died 3 days later.2nd Oldest person buried at Kut War Cemetary.16th Earliest Date of Death in Kut War Cemetary. Major Sweetman had three sisters ... all published authors (2 novelists and a Poet). His brother-in-law was Egerton Castle... author, swordsmen, captain of the epee and saber team at the 1908 Olympics His uncle was John Sweetman ... one of the founders of and 2nd President of Sinn Fein. The Sweetman family were brewers but sold their brewery to Guinness in 1893.
  20. May 9... first day of the 2nd Battle of Artois ... French attempt to take Hill 140 (later to be known to others as Vimy Ridge). My great grandfather, Ernest Hauser, was wounded in the initial assault. He was 17, Swiss, and served with French Foreign Legion. Beginning of a long career in the Legion. Check out the French page (French Foreign Legion Medal group - thread) for lots more info on him. I only met him once in 1982. He showed me the bullet hole in his leg form the battle. As a 7 year old it made a big impression.
  21. 10,000 views... wow, thank you all for looking. It is neat to think others have been able to share in this family story and help out with so much great info! Art
  22. Thanks IrishGunner, your right of course...even if I have always wanted to be Indiana Jones It is ironic the other gun may now be at Fort Lee, Va as I now live in Fort Lee, NJ ( of bridge-gate fame). The museum at West Point is an interesting place really. I have never been in a military museum that feels more like a "trophy room". Not in how it is displayed but in what they display. Quite a bit of it (especially from the Mexican War, S-A War, WWI and WWII) are prizes taken by officers and sent back to WP. Clearly they loved the place and wanted a piece there with their name on it.) Some of acquisition methods today would be "questionable" at best. The Roman legionary's tomb stone sent back from the Italian campaign in WWII comes to mind.
  23. Here is a link to a website that specifically says the two guns are different. I originally claimed this was from Aderdeen's website, but it isn't. It does I believe confirm the guns are different.
  24. The WP gun is not Bridget, that is a different gun at a different museum. Bridget was at Aberdeen and now has been moved to another museum in VA. The gun at WP has been there since 1918. I sent WP a email this morning asking for more information. As IrishGunner mentioned earlier. I think this is as simple as this: 2 museums both claiming to have the same artifact, i.e. the gun that fired the first shot of the war. You can imagine why that would be a popular claim and also why it is difficult to prove. It could be that one museum has the real deal and the other has a spurious piece. Or maybe both are spurious pieces. Or maybe both are right and fired together. Would they really have dragged just one gun up? I think we have the possibility to solve a bit of a mystery. Which could be fun. But Hoss... I don't understand why you are so adamant that the WP gun couldn't be right? Why the insistence on a conspiracy theory? Are reputable museums like the West Point Museum really in the business of perpetuating lies? You seem to refuse to admit some established facts here. 1. The French did paint their guns this way (you implied earlier that someone was doing drugs when they painted this one, which is silly). 2. The Americans drew this gun from French stock, so it would have been painted in the French manner. 3. The US had a 1917 spec that our guns were to be painted in the French style which breaks up the silhouette of the gun. 4. The gun you keep mentioning, Bridget, is not the gun at WP. 5. The WP gun comes with a seemingly plausible story. Sent back to the WP for display. This definitely fits a pattern. The campus is littered with artillery pieces sent back to WP by grads as trophies. There must be 200 of them all over campus. 6. The gun would never have been sent back in 1917 to have it reverse engineered. We were already making them here. 7. There is a pic of the WP from no later than the 1930s, on campus, with the exact paint job it has today. How could the gun now on display be Bridget which is grey today when there is visual evidence of a painted gun at WP? What happened to the original painted one? WP lost it and brought Bridget to WP and repainted it? Why? I looked very closely at that WP gun, that paint has been their for a VERY long time, I'd bet my life on it. There I've said my piece. Art P.S. I attach a picture of some of the other artillery pieces on campus at WP.
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