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Brian Wolfe

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Everything posted by Brian Wolfe

  1. Thank you very much for this most interesting response Paul; I'll admit to a touch of envy as I read it. I think we need a lot more such personal collecting stories here on the forum. Regards Brian
  2. Hi Muckaroon1960, Your point is very well made. Many thanks for your comment. Regards Brian
  3. Reading the comment about the placement of the conclusion, or summary, of my blog above reminded me of a story from my past that I would like to share with you. As Irish Gunner has alluded, some think my writing is pedantic so this one is on them; I accept no blame. I am retired from a 30 year career working in government here in Ontario with 20 years with municipally government and a decade with the oldest and largest conservation authority in the province. The last position, managing the lands and holdings of the conservation authority can only be described as a dream job. While at one municipality the department heads were required to attend council meetings every Monday evening, this is common throughout Ontario and most likely the rest of the country; though some hold council during the day. My reports were almost entirely composed of statistics such as permits issued, projects completed, and number of charges, prosecutions and revenues. Pretty mundane and consisting of one page; two if it was the yearend report. The Planning Department on the other hand presented reports that weighed in at around twenty pages. The council packages were hand delivered on Friday so that they could be reviewed by the council members on the weekend in order to be ready for the Monday evening meeting. For the most part they would show up at the meeting and only then rip open their council packages. It should be noted that in those days council meetings could run as late as 2 PM. The Planning Department Director and I were, and are, good friends [he is my neighbour as well] and we would each write down the name of one of the older council members that we thought would fall asleep first as the meeting wore on. The bet was for morning coffee the following day. He knew that the council never read his reports as long as he wrote the longest most drawn out reports imaginable. Since his department’s job was to support or object to a development proposal he would “hide” certain facts within the body of the report then write a summary at the end that may or may not contain all of the pertinent facts; depending on how he wanted the decision to go. In a sick way it was brilliant. One day all of the department heads received an inter office memo stating that the required format of the council reports were to change. I couldn’t help but smile at the thoughts that his scheme was over. Imagine if you will the look that must have been on my face, at the next council meeting, when the only proposed change to the summary was now it was now to appear at the beginning of the report! I was dump struck, looked over at the planner who looked at me, smiled and winked. The reason for the change was that there had been a complaint from a member of the public that when they were presenting their petition it was difficult to be heard due to the rustling of pages by the council members who had left their microphones on. They were rifling through the planner’s long report to get to the summary and, of course, ignoring the speaker. With the new change in format there was even less chance of finding something hidden in the body of the report as now the summary was right there on top. Ah, local government; sharp as bread pudding; when they’re awake. Regards Brian
  4. Hi Irish Gunner, Thanks for your comments and no I didn't forget "verbose" I just ignore that concept. I am, after all, paid by the word.😉 Regards Brian
  5. In this essay I would like to talk about writing in general as well as blogs themselves. It seems odd to me how we say that we are going to “talk” about something when it is actually in print. I suppose I should have written, “I would like to write about...”, it would have been more accurate. The other issue that comes to mind is audio books. You don’t read an audio book, you listen to them; this being the case should they even be called books, since you read a book and listen to a recording. I can’t help but wonder how anyone can be so busy that they need to be read to, like a child at bed time; or is it a matter of limited reading skills or out and out laziness. The books I like to read are historical and scientific [particularly earth science] and I confess to watching lectures on You Tube far more often than I like admitting. If you are looking for a couple of good presenters on You Tube, pertaining to history, I suggest you try, Lindybeige or Matt Easton scholagladiatoria [just type matt easton into your browser and go to the choice that includes scholagladiatoria, this saves typing in a long Latinized name]. He talks mostly about swords and HEMA [Historical European Martial Arts] where Lindybeige talks on history as well as some quite philosophical topics. As to blogs, at least the one I attempt to pound out here, there are inherent problems. For example it is difficult to stay away from politics and religion when they play such an intrinsic part of the story of military history. It is also difficult not to unintentionally draw comparisons between the past and present state of what is going on in the world today. It’s not as if this is anything new, for example, a writer in the 1850s [an era in which my children are convinced I was born] could as easily have made a connection between the past and their particular time period. The difference is that he or she is not taken to task today about what they wrote “yesterday”; a current writer on the other hand is quite open to verbal attack for such comparisons, intentional or otherwise. No one likes to constantly apologize for the misinterpretation of his work by others. When it comes to religion I could say that I don’t care what your religious beliefs or lack thereof may be. However, that’s not completely accurate as it is not a matter that I don’t care it is a matter that I do not believe it is any of my business. Then there is the matter of what words to use and how to use them. Most people do not write the same way they speak. The reason is simple, in my mind, as when we converse we don’t have the time to pick what we might think to be a more appropriate word. I will be honest here and say that I do at times stop in the middle of spoken sentence and say, “what is that word...let me think...oh yes”, then include it and carry on with the thought. I know it drives people crazy; unlike religion, this is a case where I really don’t care. I also occasionally do use Latin terms when I talk with others, not a lot, but I use them. My family has gotten used to it and friends pretty much ignore their use, and at times me no doubt. I do struggle with what words to use; should I go for the word I have in mind or try to find a monosyllabic word to assure all of the readers will understand and thereby avoid being seen as pretentious. I think that it’s better to be seen as pretentious rather than to feel like I am being condescending toward the reader, I’d rather be seen as being more pompous rather than risk insulting fellow members. Yes, I see the irony in using “monosyllabic” over “single syllable” when I claimed that I wanted my writing to be clear to the reader. My thought on this point is and has always been that if you don’t understand a particular word then look it up; that’s what I did and still do; it’s basic vocabulary building. My last point on viewing people as being pretentious is to pose the question, ‘Did you think the writer opened the dictionary, picked out some very long words then wrote the article around those words. Certainly he or she had foreknowledge of those words in order to have used them in the first place. The fact that some of the potential readers may not have English as their first language is not lost on me. I come from a bilingual country [Canada] and stand as a proponent of bilingualism. Having said that my grasp of the French language is less than minimal; this is the very definition of hypocrisy. I can imagine how I would feel attempting to read an article in another language other than English and I regret that I am unable to accommodate them...c’est la vie. I treat learning a second language much like living a healthy life style and getting plenty of exercise. I fully support those so inclined and enthusiastically cheer them on while they run by as I sit in my lawn chair, Pepsi in one hand and a bag of potato chips close by giving the participants a hardy thumbs up. Just remember that in 100 years we all be in the same condition, at least for me it will be no surprise. In conclusion, I will attempt to be more mindful of the need for clarity in my writing while not drifting too far away from what I term as a writing style. After all it has taken me decades to get to be this annoying and pretentious. Regards Brian
  6. Trooper_D Regular Member Silver Membership 412 posts Location:London Report post #4 Posted 5 hours ago (edited) Radarone The Royal Armouries hold a number of examples of this sword. You (and Brian, if you haven't already seen it) will, I think, be interested in the discussion about the type in the Notes section at the end of this page, https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-7796.html Edited 5 hours ago by Trooper_D Quote Edit Options I wasn't sure how to post the above from Trooper_D but I seem to have done it successfully. Thanks to Trooper_D for this very interesting article, I hope the readers will check it out. REgards Brian
  7. Many thanks Trooper_D, a very interesting read. I personally doubt that any such sword found with a leaf shape blade was made for the British. I've seen a few examples over the years and they are usually simply identified as "European". How's that for a safe and quite broad identification; just put everything in one of two categories, British and non-British.😄 Thanks again, Regards Brian I have posted the link above to the "Lets Talk British Swords" area for future readers of that section. I believe it is well worthwhile. Regards Brian
  8. Hi radarone, Yes you indeed have a Land Transport Sword, c.1856. The number under the crown is an inspector's mark and I can't make out the other marking to be sure of what it is. If it is a knight's head then it would denote that the blade was made in Germany, which was common at that time. I don't recognise what the markings on the cross guard stand for but perhaps another member with more knowledge will be able to help. You are probably aware that this particular model of sword was probably never actually issued; at least from what I have read on the topic there are no supporting documentation to show issuance. The one I have in my collection has markings on the scabbard but none on the sword. I have been trying to find out information for years on these markings with no luck. Personally I think these are one of the more unique swords in the British sword history and even though they are often found in excellent condition they don't seem to demand a very high price, yet very well worth a place in any sword collection. If I find out any further information regarding the markings I will be sure to share it here. Regards Brian I forgot to mention that I have a post dealing with the Land Transport Sword under "Military Hardware" subsection "Edged Weapons". Look for my general post "Lets Talk British Swords" and scroll down to my article for more information. The sword from my collection is pictured there as well. Regards Brian
  9. Thank you for your comment. So far, here in Canada, we are not under such attacks. However, as is said about many other issues, it is only a matter of time. As to that designation I must say that I am a nasty, hateful and racist individual as are most people to some degree or another (seriously I don't really see myself in those terms but isn't our own opinion of ourselves quite sterile). I would put the question to those with high PC ideals as to whether their lives could stand the scrutiny they apply to others. Whatever happened to that worn out statement, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it". A good slogan for racist groups should be, "Forget about us, please forget". Regards Brian
  10. Fair enough. Seems that I share that same fate as well, thanks for your comments.👍 Regards Brian
  11. Hmmm, that's strange as it is in print and every knows that if it is on the television or in print it has to be correct and 100% believable. Have I been wrong all of these years and if so how can I face the upcoming year knowing this? Happy New Year Regards Brian
  12. You might not have much of a life if you are working on compiling material for a book titled, My Most Memorable Games of Solitaire, or writing a blog titled. Why Collect? – The Best Answer In my ongoing quest to ascertain why things are they way they are and why people do what they do, I offer the following blog. A question often asked on forums and by people we meet who are aware that we collect is “why do you collect”. For the sake of this discussion I will stay within military collecting but the answer to that question is generic to all forms of collecting; Beanie Babies to bayonets. The classic answers to this question are quite varied and I have no doubt that some are actually truthful, or at least believed so by the orator. I should digress for a moment, which I am wont to do with more frequency than my readers would prefer. There is a tendency among us sceptics to treat many answers to this common and more or less personal question with a strong dose of cautious doubt. The Internet makes it very easy for those who may not be on speaking terms with the truth to say just about anything. There is no chance to apply lessons learned in the field such as changes in facial features or body posture to ascertain probable truthfulness or attempts at deceit. As an example, many years ago I was assisting a Sergeant in an investigation and we were interviewing a street person who had been known as a storehouse of useful information. This was a chance encounter and, in retrospect, interviewing her on the street was very poor procedure, the repercussions of this lapse of protocol is a subject for a story another day. The young lady was known by the name of “Cigarette Mary”; and she had intimate knowledge of many of the local characters. After we had written down her information the Sergeant said, “That was a very interesting story, Mary; now tell me something I can believe”. Interestingly enough she did just that which eventually led to several arrests. I will admit that I was a bit naive and didn’t pick up on Mary’s body language; however the experienced officer “had her number” as soon as she began speaking. This would have been impossible through emails and holds true not only for deceit but in cases where the truth is being related. I tell you this as many of the reasons given for collecting may sound a bit contrived yet can still be one hundred percent genuine. To paraphrase Mr. Ed Haynes, “Anything is possible and can happen; and probably has; twice in India”. People also tend to tell you what they think you want to hear. A collector’s spouse says, out of frustration, “You really think you need another old gun”, all the while thinking that funds are stretched far enough and that the collector’s an idiot. The collector in a vain attempt at transferral says, “It’s an investment for the future dear, it’s for the kids’ college fund”, even though the kids are as dumb as a bag of hammers and have no hope of attending college unless it is in a custodial capacity. He is actually saying, “Get off my back!” To which she says, “If you say so” at the same time rolling her eyes. This is “woman-speak” for “Jackass”. Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t know this as it has taken me two marriages and seven decades to decipher “woman-speak” and I still get it wrong most of the time. On the other hand it seems that womankind is born with the ability to recognize male smokescreens for what they are. By this I am saying that any reason for collecting has the potential for truthfulness or at the least the answer to the question is believed by the person delivering the response. I think it is a given that at times we all tend to give answers to questions from others in the form of what we believe they want to hear. “Oh, sorry officer, I didn’t see that stop sign”, certainly comes to mind. In truth I saw the stop sign and I am anything but sorry yet I will not hesitate to insult your intelligence with this lame excuse. Other answers such as having a keen interest in history, or an urge to preserve history, a way to honour those who serve, a great need to research and investigate are all possible valid and truthful answers. While I don’t usually buy into these statements they are still better than, “Because I am a latent psychopathic homicidal maniac”. Though that might be a quite humorous response in certain venues, not involving an official police investigation in the sudden disappearance of your business partner. The answer to the question as to why someone collects that I find hardest to accept with any degree of validity is as an investment. True some may have found that magic formula to turn “war junk” into gold, however it smacks of alchemy to my ears. Over all it is a very poor investment considering the return on your money over even a lengthy amount of time and certainly if you need to get your hands on the cash quickly...see how fast the dealer/sharks start to circle. Even the ridiculous idea of 50% on the dollar or pound would be a terrible return on investment; let alone the 20% or lower most dealers are willing to offer. Either way it’s a loss. So what is the answer to the question of why we collect, barring any of the usual fantasy answers that may actually be true in a few cases? I think the best and shortest answer in almost any case is, “I like collecting and it makes me happy”. At the end of the day isn’t that what should really matter? Happy New Year Everyone. Regards Brian
  13. That's a tricky question as prices vary greatly from country to country and even from dealer to dealer; auction prices realised are all over the board so I won't even try to guess about those "houses of craziness". Here in Canada I would expect to pay in the range of $800. to $1,000. (maybe as high as $1,200) from the dealers from whom I purchase my swords. Your sword has some "issues" especially concerning the missing wire wrap on the grip but I would not see that as affecting what I would expect this to sell for here. The scabbard having only one ring is still acceptable, in my opinion. From what I have seen on the Internet British prices might well be higher. I hope that helps. Regards Brian
  14. The spikes are called "langets" and I believe it helped to keep water rain out of the scabbard. I have read that they may have been used to break the opponents blade but I think that very doubtful. German made blades are not all that rare on British swords as many of the better quality blades came from Germany at this time. The British Royal family was German during this period and some German states were allied with Britain and the Dutch during the Napoleonic Wars. I would not presume to rule out a Saxon or other German state connection, all of my books dealing with the Light Cavalry Sabre of this era covers only the 1796 and variations. No mention of the 1788, which this definitely is. If I find out anything further I be sure to let you know, though at this time my "money" is on it being British. I hope other members will wade in on this question. Regards Brian
  15. Hello Dansson, I believe you indeed have a Pattern 1788 British Light Cavalry Sabre, so basically the Pattern just before the 1796 Light Cavalry, as you probably already know. The P. 1788 has a scabbard with two scabbard suspension rings which is the same scabbard as the 1796. That is not to say that this is the wrong scabbard but it is not the typical design as far as the rings are concerned however the scabbard shoe, also called the drag, differs from the typical 1788 and 1796. My guess is that this cold either be the wrong scabbard or the sword and scabbard were used by a different country other than British. Any marker's marks visible? An excellent find, congratulations. Regards Brian
  16. I would like to set the record straight regarding the 1908 (and 1912 Officer’s) Cavalry Sword being too long and unwieldy. The sayings, “Get off your high horse” and “Keep your feet solidly on the ground”, do not apply when talking about the 1908. These swords were designed to be used from horseback and for “giving point” or thrusting and never as a cutting or slashing weapon. They replaced the lance for all intents and purposes. For this use they may very well have been the best sword ever produced anywhere and at anytime. Unfortunately warfare changed drastically shortly after 1914 and the true worth of the 1908 will always remain unknown. Use in the colonies such as North West Frontier of India continued after the Great War and there were some successes in 1918 after trench warfare broken. I intend to run several posts in the Weapons area of the forum under my post title, “Let’s Talk British Swords”, dealing with the 1908/1912 after the New Year. I wrote an article on the topic for a publication earlier this year but need to reformat it in order to post it on the GMIC, so a little manipulation will be required. If anyone is interested in the 1908 or other British swords then, as they say, stay tuned. Regards Brian
  17. Thank you all for your comments. For some reason your comments were not related to me through the email process we use here otherwise I would have responded sooner. Before I slam the system, I might have accidentally deleted the notices as this new computer came with updated programs and I am still getting used to them. Thanks again for your comments, it is always good to know my musings are being read. Regards Brian
  18. It’s that time of the year when being a cynic and more than slightly sarcastic becomes just too easy. With the in mind I decided that I would leave the stating of the obvious hypocrisies of the season to younger cynics just starting out in their careers and make this blog more of a public service to the members. It seems that all the yearlong we answer question after question solving problem after problem as they arise then that annual question that seems to have no answer is thrown at us. “What do you want for Christmas?” The mind goes blank and all that we seems able to offer in the way of response is, “Oh, I don’t know, don’t worry about it; I’ve got everything I need.” Well, my friend, if you have everything you need you just aren’t trying had enough. I think books are one of the best gifts one can receive, if not books themselves then a gift card from a book store. With this in mind I would like to suggest four books that I believe to be most useful for the collector and history buff. I have not included prices as they fluctuate greatly from country to country and a search of the Internet will fill in any details I have forgotten. The first two are for those interested in swords. The British Cavalry Sword 1788 – 1912, Some New Perspectives, by Richard Dellar Is perhaps the best book on the market today that specializes in the British Cavalry Sword. This is one of the newer books available and at 326 pages and with lots of photos it is a wealth of information on the British Cavalry Sword. I spend a good deal of time researching British swords and cavalry swords in particular and would not want to be without this book in my library; to call it the definitive work on the subject would be a gross understatement. I have recently been in contact with Mr. Dellar and he informs me that a companion volume to this book will be ready for sale in the early part of 2019. If interested in this book you can email the author directly at http://thebritishcavalrysword.com. You will not regret this purchase and I dare say the companion volume as well when it hits the market. British Military Swords, 1786 – 1912, the Regulation Patterns, by Harvey J. S. Withers is a very good resource for the identification and study of British swords in general. The 176 page book is crammed with photos of each sword and the details of those weapons in full colour and covers all British swords including cavalry, infantry and department swords. This is perhaps the best book for any collector and especially for those who want a general and quick reference. I find myself thumbing through this book over and over when I start to research a new sword for the collection. The author also includes a price guide but I would caution the reader in using this guide for anything except museum quality specimens. The swords you will encounter at shows or on websites are worth well below the figures stated. I would whole heartedly recommend this book to any collector at any level of sword collecting or for those who occasionally encounter a British sword and would like a quick reference book. The next two books, both by D. A. Kinsley, deal with British history and may easily be found for sale on the Internet. Swordsmen of the British Empire, by D. A. Kinsley is a collection of letters and memoirs of British officers, soldiers troopers and naval personal from time periods dating from before the Indian sepoy mutiny to the Boer War. These are personal accounts of swordsmen who were there and in the thick of battle. The 630 page book, with the last 230 containing period artwork of battles is one you will find hard to put down. Mr. Kinsley’s narrative between the sections only serves to heighten ones interest and adds greatly to this fascinating volume. I would call this book an eye opener as to the effect of the sword in battle, a subject all but lost to the modern student of British conflicts. They Fight Like Devils, Stories From Lucknow During the great Indian Mutiny, 1857 – 58, by D. A. Kinsley is again a collection of letters and firsthand accounts of the taking of Lucknow from the hands of the mutineers. At 224 pages it is another book that is hard to put down once you start reading. Since these two books are firsthand accounts of the ferocity of the fighting, on both sides, there is no exaggeration through literary licence. Some of the actions are covered by two or even three different writers giving the most accurate portrayal of the fighting during this horrific struggle. This is a very easy read and like the other book noted above the narrative written by Mr. Kinsley acts to set up the next section very well and makes for a smooth almost story-like book. If you are interested in any of these books but have further questions please feel free to send me a PM and I will try to answer them as best as I can. Regards Brian
  19. Hello David, I like the side by side images of the different obverses of the SCLS medals. Thanks for posting this photo. I am reminded of a very good friend of mine from also from Australia with whom I correspond frequently. Once in a while we will send an image that is upside down as a joke as I live in Canada. I know it is an old and quite tired joke but we still think it's funny. Thanks again. Regards Brian
  20. It has been a week since Remembrance Day and I still see people wearing their poppy, the symbol of remembrance, on their jackets, coats, hats and even toques. The poppy is to be worn from November 1st until 11:00 o’clock November 11th at which time it is to be left at the cenotaph or at least removed from your apparel. To be without a poppy from Nov. 1 to Nov. 11, for me, would be the same as being out of uniform for a service person. Of course no RSM will ream you out and I’m not allowed to do so, such is the pity of that, still there is a protocol that should be followed. One could use the excuse that you honour the fallen or those who served and are still serving all year long and that is why you are wearing the poppy long after the 11th. To that I will call “BS”. If you mean to say that every morning that you get out of bed, or not, you remember those who served then, unless yours is a recent loss of a loved one, you really need to get a life. Seeing a poppy worn weeks or months after Remembrance Day, at times even on the right lapel of a coat, makes me think that person is either the laziest person around or just completely insensitive. Following protocol honours those who served and serve as much as actually wearing the flower in the first place. I’ve seen some old farmers wearing the poppy on the side of what can only be called their “barn hat” due to the layers of filth that has accumulated there over the years. The red poppy is no longer even a shade of true red, more of a reddish brown. Oh, that certainly honours the service people; perhaps you could have some poppy patterned facial tissues or bathroom tissues made up so you can honour them all the day long, everywhere you go. True, I may have crossed the line with that last sentence however in my mind no more than continuing to wear a symbol of remembrance at the incorrect time of the year. I often wonder if extended wearing of the poppy is more a matter of a display sanctimonious self-rightness than one of respect; “Oh look at me aren’t I the pious one”. In my time I have known veterans from the Boer War, WWI, WWII and the Korean War and I never got the impression from any of them that they expected or wanted to be made a fuss over all year long. Ass kissing was never an agenda of theirs and never expected from others. Each year my wife and I attend the local cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremonies, even though neither of us still lives in our respective home towns. After the ceremony we leave our poppies on the cenotaph, returning home, usually in complete silence, deeply moved by the reverence shown by our fellow attendees and the thoughts of the sacrifice made by others, and perhaps magnified by the lone piper playing Amazing Grace. In closing, if this blog has hit a nerve, made you angry, made you think or just made me look like the pompous ass that I am, and then it was purpose served. I will not apologise for your failure to follow protocol and will sign off with this note; Get With the Program People! Regards Brian
  21. Thanks for your comment. Certainly not many pieces in mint condition. if any, in my collection; veterans all. Regards Brian
  22. In apologise that I could not post an image of the whole rifle as I am still learning this new version of Photo Shop I purchased with the new PC. There is just enough differences to produce a new learning curve. It worked! . Regards Brian
  23. Priceless! Thanks for that one, Michael. Regards Brian
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