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peter monahan

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Posts posted by peter monahan

  1. On 12/05/2019 at 20:43, Matthew Macleod said:

    What is illegal is: buying, attempting to buy, soliciting for purchase, mailing, shipping, importing, exporting, manufacturing, selling, attempting to sell, advertising for sale, trading, bartering, exchanging for anything of value or producing blank certificates of receipt for it.

    As for wearing it if you did not earn it- you are allowed to do so. Same with claiming you were awarded it- also perfectly legal.

    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.


    But I'm not sure I'd want to try it!  Likely to get a significant negative reaction from those who are entitled.

  2. 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.  

  3. 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.  

  4. 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!

  5. 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.  

  6. 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!


  7. 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. :(

  8. 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!


  9. Welcome to the GMIC, Boomer!

    I assume you've tried the War office records here: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/collections/19/the-south-africa-medal-1877-roll.

    I did a quick search but just 'W' for the first name is a stumbling block.  Similar records are available through Ancestry.com'.  Unfortunately, I only have access to North American records, but one fact of note, I think is this:  his birthplace is probably 'Killymard', Donegal, NOT 'Killyman'.

  10. Great sleuthing, Noor!  That makes an already interesting group even more intriguing! 

    I wonder whether an investigation of the genealogy web sites might yield information on her relations/descendants.  A very common name, sadly, but using her birthplace as a distinguishing fact, and her 'residence' in Dublin and the East might winkle out a few references.  Obviously, a surviving descendant, even in a collateral branch, with some information on Sister Evans, would be the ideal outcome.


  11. Here is some general information to, perhaps, steer you in the right direction: http://www.greatwar.co.uk/medals/british-ww1-medal-records.htm

    The War Office/National Archives records, however, are organized  individually, by name, serial number and unit.  I'm not sure about UK records but the Canadian equivalent are not  listed by regiment, nor is there a handy index of numbers to units.  Any such work I am aware of [in Canada] is the result of years of painstaking work by individual collectors and researchers, usually done by combing through ALL of the London Gazette entries for the relevant decorations and periods.  :(

    But perhaps the situation is better 'over 'ome'.

    Just found this on a British site:


    Naval & Military Press have sent me the following:

    "Citations of the Distinguished Conduct Medal 1914-1920 - This much-needed series lists the full citations of the Distinguished Conduct Medal (and second and third award bars) in the Great War. The DCM may not have the cachet of the VC, but the deeds told in the citations for the award are just as heroic and inspiring.

    The citations for DCMs are hard to find - unit histories often have no space for more than a brief mention, or just the bare fact of the award tucked away in an appendix. Others are lost in the labyrinth of small print in the official "London Gazette". But, thanks to the research of Rob Walker, who compiled the citations, and the tireless work of Chris Buckland who oversaw the mammoth task of typing of all 25,000+ citations, the brave deeds which won the medals are here for all to see.

    It is, for my budget anyway, quite pricey at (RRP £225), but their current "Offer" price is £125.

    I hope this information is of interest."

    I would imagine such a mammoth work would include some indecises which might include what you seek.  Good luck!

  12. I'm afraid the only information I can add is negative in nature.  Several decades ago, when I still collected medals, I was told that collectors would write the appropriate office in London - The Chancellery, I assume - asking about 'the [fill in order here] numbered XXX' and in due course someone would respond that the decoration /order had been awarded to '' [Mr/Mrs/Lord A___________'  in year 'ZZZZ'.   All very helpful.

    Then, as the story goes, there a new chap took over as head of the office, and the next such request was met with "We don't divulge that information and, byt the way, that award should have been returned to us on the death of the recipient.  Please return it to us now!'  And that rather put a lid of further enquiries.  :(

  13. Perhaps oddly, given the north of England knife trade, many of the British Army's swords and bayonets were made on contract in Germany.  In fact, there was a considerable scandal during the 1880s expedition against the 'Mad Mahdi' when it turned out that case hardened, as opposed to tempered, bayonets were actually bending when used as intended because they were of inferior manufacture.

    The word on the tang is 'Solingen', though apparently misspelled.  Perhaps deliberately, if this was a cheap knock-off and trading on that almost legendary source of good German steel.  The rest of the markings strike this non-expert as odd as well: the blade is hilted as a trooper's sword but I would not have thought such blades would have had any decorative etching, unlike those meant for officers.  

    Combined with the different blade length, I'm going to suggest that these points add up to: a copy, possibly of some age, rather than a genuine 1796 trooper's sabre.  But there are others in the group - I'm thinking of Brian  Wolfe in particular- who certainly have more knowledge than I and may have other ideas. 

  14. The conversion is important, as it implies a lengthy period of service.  On later firearms - late 19th, 20th century, it is not uncommon to find anywhere up to a half dozen marks or sets of marks, resulting from the same weapon having been issued to multiple owners in multiple units.  So, for example, a Victorian era carbine might have multiple marks and rack numbers indicating the times it had been issued to and inspected for a line regiment, plus  marks showing service with militia or cadet units.

    A long answer to a short question!  Yes, the marks may have been put on the piece at different times.  :)


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