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peter monahan

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Everything posted by peter monahan

  1. It is definitely brass and not overpainted white metal or an anodized one with the silver stripped off? Very curious indeed.
  2. That is interesting. I know that any number of the Canadian battalions sent to England in 1914-16 had badges made privately there, either with or without official permission, and that many of them were stamped with makers names on the reverse. I believe that this was done because there was a shortage of the badges to units who were raised hurriedly in Canada and sent overseas straightway - perhaps as few as one per man, which wouldn't accommodate several sets of headgear. I also suspect that many units had 'smart looking' versions of the badges made by private purchase after the Canadian made ones were deemed too crude for walking out and such. Nice find!
  3. It is a fairly obvious symbol to connect with soldiering - and pirates, I suppose - as death is part of the whole package. The Elizabethans were fond of including skulls in artwork too, as a reminder of Man's mortality.
  4. Yes, the Police section of the GMIC is now named in his honour, as that was his first love. He lived in SA for many many years and ran a militaria shop - in Jo'burg, I believe - but was an inveterate contributor to a number of the pages on this site and very willing to assist others with research and with his knowledge. He is much missed.
  5. Well done, Loski. Sadly, Mervyn is no longer with us and is sadly missed - an expert on things South African and a true gentleman.
  6. My first thoughts were 'Directorate [of] ???' and 'Chief of Staff', so not too far off what Gensui has said. Well done on finishing that mammoth task!
  7. I do WWI living history and many of the men who portray French soldiers wear a wrist chain with very similar information: unit, name and rank, as I recall. So, not unlikely that the Belgians died as well. And, while 'Evens' doesn't sound very Belgian, my sisters went to school with a whole family of Poles surnamed 'MacDonald', so... ?
  8. I agree that this must be a rare occurrence, particularly to an already rare group - civilians assisting the forces in an unofficial capacity. 'Unique' is a rare bird indeed, but perhaps in this case, within those parameters, deserved. Congratulations on doing so well with this research, Owain! Please do post a photo of the reconstructed group if/when that is completed. Thanks. Peter
  9. All I can say is that Voluntary Aid Detachment members were eligible for the BWM and VM, according to the statutes. Perhaps some of our British or SA members will have leads for further research.
  10. Bayern Both those awards and perhaps a few others were made, I suspect, in the post-War euphoria after 'The War to End Wars'. And perhaps deserved, who knows. Sixpence a day added to one's pension, plus ten pounds, for winning the VC, or L15 if you did it twice sounds more typical of the shall we say 'thrifty' British.
  11. OTOH, I think you'll find that Haig's very generous pension was not typical. Just found this! "Honours and Decoration For Which the RN and Royal Marines are Eligible June 1957 THE VICTORIA CROSS 1. The Victoria Cross may be awarded to officers and Men of the Royal Navy, or of the Royal Marines, for " most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy on land or at sea." Chief Petty Officers, Petty Officers and Men of the Royal Navy, and Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Royal Marines are awarded concurrently with the award of the decoration, an annuity of £10 a year. plus *6d. a day (£9 2s. a year) addition to pension. For each bar, an additional annuity of £5 is awarded. This annuity (together with any other pension from public funds) may be increased to £75 a year in all cases of need due to age or infirmity. Petty Officers and Men of the Royal Navy and Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Royal Marines who have been awarded [the Distinguished Service Medal] are eligible for the award of 6d a day (£9 2s a year) addition to pension, or a gratuity of £20 on discharge without pension, transfer to Reserve, or appointment to a Commission. For each Bar an additional gratuity of £20. The monetary grants to those Naval Ratings and Royal Marine other Ranks who may be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the Military Medal or the Distinguished Flying Medal are the same as for the Distinguished Service Medal
  12. Yes, apparently wearing unearned medals as a way of 'communicating' something about the conflict or uniform or award itself is a form of free expression and so, it has been argued, the SVA is unconstitutional in its ban on such wearing. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/us/ex-marine-can-wear-medals-he-didnt-earn-a-court-calls-it-free-speech.html But I'm not sure I'd want to try it! Likely to get a significant negative reaction from those who are entitled.
  13. This is the US version. And, as Captain Boddington says, 'unofficial'. That is, a commercial venture.
  14. Many other soldiers, units and groups have used the skull unofficially. It's a fairly obvious symbol for a soldier, I think, as it allegedly was for pirates: death, merciless, etc etc. However, the number of units who use it officially is fairly small, I think, because the optics aren't good in this day and age. I recall a public fuss when a member of the French Foreign Legion on patrol in Africa was photographed wearing a skull mask which covered most of his face. Wearing the masks against dust is common in the theatre, but this one was deemed 'intimidating' and 'inappropriate' as, I believe, his unit was on 'peacekeeping' duty.
  15. Almost certainly. In 1930, when the film was made, WWI equipment would have been dirt cheap, probably even in use by various militia / territorial / colonial forces around the world. Making it would be pointless. I do WWI living history and all our weapons are originals, a few guys have original webbing/belts and until not too long ago even some of the uniforms were originals. Now, everything except the rifles is being reproduced, but that's a very recent thing - last two decades tops.
  16. Criteria to obtain it appears to be payment of the purchase fee. Sadly, I believe this is accurate. Most will have gone to men and women who did fit the criteria, whatever those were determined to be, but others certainly wind up with various dreamers, scammers and Wallies.
  17. Thanks for the information, McConrad. Being of that turn of mind, I just assumed that they would all be military awards for something associated with the the Russian Army. Silly assumption. Good pastoral work sounds a logical reason too. Great citations!
  18. During the war, burial detail would be one of the punishments awarded to ambulatory patients in hospitals as a result of Gonorrhea or Syphilis. Presumably that 'supply' dried up as the hospitals closed after the war and dedicated units were created to handle the exhumations and reburials. I wonder if any were volunteers.
  19. Any information on how these men earned the medals? I would assume as military chaplains.
  20. These unofficial medals have become quite popular in the last couple decades among veterans and their supporters who feel that these men and women deserve more recognition than was given by the official medals and clasps. However, as they are not official and are sold as a commercial venture, albeit with the support of veterans groups, there is no official register and I can see no evidence at the sales site that they are keeping track, except perhaps to prevent one person buying two medals, though I suspect even that is possible.
  21. My only direct knowledge of these questions is my recollections of, as a teenager, handling the 'cosh' issued to an Ontario Provincial Policeman, the elder brother of my best friend. It was, as Brian says, short - 6-8 inches sounds right - and consisted of a leather tube filled with lead shot. Said OPP officer was eventually transferred to a popular beach resort which at the time was rather notorious for dust-ups between bikers and others. The friend and I were working in an Air force mess with pool tables and the PC asked if we could find him a broken pool cue to saw off and carry in his cruiser, as the cosh was too short to use effectively against bats and bike chains. I don't recall whether or not we found one, but the memory is vivid to this day. Nor do I believe that pool cues were ever authorized equipment for any police force in Canada [or the UK]. With all due respect to Dellibob, the notion that the use if unauthorized weapons or tactics is " this idea is stuff of nonsense and an insult to the professional Police officer of the past." is itself naive in the extreme. I know and respect many police officers. I also read daily and often believe current accounts of POs breaking the law in their use of force, including the use of illegal and unauthorized equipment, and actually 'fitting up' people for crimes they didn't commit, based on racial prejudice, previous encounters with the citizen or the 'citizen's 'bad attitude.' Sadly, I also know a number of serving police officers who fit the classic definition of what some forces refer to as 'street monsters': Pos who police by intimidation and violence. I am not a police historian but I find it unlikely in the extreme that such men did not exist, and on some forces thrive, in the past. Did UK police use weighted batons? No idea. But to dismiss the notion as an insult to policemen is itself an insult to good history. Keep looking. No one will be happier than I, except perhaps Delibob, if you find no examples, but keep looking!
  22. I can't comment on the award criteria and/or frequency of awards, though I suspect that Paul is correct. OTOH, I have been involved in the fringes of several projects aimed at producing commemorative medals and awards and I can testify that Paul is right about the cost: 90% plus is in the original dies, etc and it might very well be the case that having 50 run off would be far cheaper than doing 10 now and 10 in a decade or two. And, unawarded pieces do seem to trickle or leak onto the market, presumably from unofficial sources who take the view that 'Nobody will notice.' or 'Why waste them?' Not sure what that does to values.
  23. Welcome to the GMIC, Kvetch! I am an aspiring author as well, though not anything to do with policing, and am confident that you'll find some useful contacts and information here. Sadly, Mervyn Mitton, one of the most helpful and knowledgeable of our 'police friends' is no longer with us, but there are several others, I know, who will likely chime in. Good luck with the research! Peter
  24. Fraternal or cultural organization perhaps?
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