Jump to content

Recommended Posts

We have all been told stories by dealers/vendors of the provenance of items, "it was taken off a dead German" "I got it from a Dead Gerry in Hitlers Bunker" "I have got Guy Gibsons 39-45 star" Etc Etc . Most collectors take these tales with a pinch of salt. Although I have a 2nd Class Iron Cross taken at Liverpool from a survivor of Bismark but that's another (Un-provable) story.

In 1966 I was working in Liverpool City Centre and it was my habit to call into a Sweet and tobacconist shop, I got to know the owner, Harry Foggo, quite well and mentioned that I dabbled in collecting Badges/Medals.

He then informed me that on the outbreak of WW1 he had answered a call by Lord Derby and joined the Liverpool Pals together with his two brothers, being in the first batch of volunteers they had been issued with a silver cap badge consisting of Lord Derby's coat of arms (Eagle and child) Later a bronze badge was issued. Harry was posted to the 17th (Pals)Battalion of the Liverpool Regiment.

He brought the badge in to show me but he also brought a version of the bronze badge, Harry told me the following tale. They had been in a particularly fierce fight and a fellow soldier complained that he had lost his silver badge, Harry was just glad to be alive and was not too bothered about his mates lost badge. A short time later a burial party was organised and Harry was delegated to join it. He said that upon wrapping a body in a blanket he saw the poor victims hat had been thrown in to the shallow grave and sported a Liverpool Pals badge albeit a bronze one. He took the badge for his Chum and, the burials complete, made his way back to his mates only to be informed that a sniper had claimed his badge-less Chum.

Harry also told me that due to his battalion being decimated he was posted to the 4th Battalion with whom he had won a Military Medal for volunteering to swim a river behind German lines and take note of strengths. He also stated that his brother Thomas had won an MM with another Battalion.

I cheekily asked Harry for the Badges and without hesitation he gave me the bronze badge but unsurprisingly he retained the Silver badge.

Many years later whilst at an Antiques fair a long way from Liverpool I noticed a single 14-15 star partially hidden under a carriage clock where it was assisting to support the said clock which was missing a foot, I examined it and was overjoyed to see it was named to my old Chum Harry. I enquired the price which was £1.50 and having listed to the dealer bemoaning the fact he would have to put the 50p piece under the clock, I left with my precious purchase.

I have no doubt that Harry spoke the truth about the manner in which he had obtained the badge but like lots of other items it cannot be attributed. I do not collect non Police items but even so I would not part with the Star or Badge for a Kings Ransom as I can see Harry now in my minds eye behind his counter modestly telling tales of life in the trenches. How I wish I had made notes.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I beleive its a real story :) There are a lot of things veterans sometimes go over the top and exagerate, there are a lot of things collectors add to a tale but behind it all is some sort of history that everyone is trying to find.

The story you told doesn't seem that un-beleivable to be true, and honestly I've seen rarer military finds that make you wonder, one of my friends has 2 Russian orders (red stars) to two brothers that he picked up randomely n different parts of the country :) while he was traveling, he researched them later and found out they belonged to the same family :D (born in same village etc)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Graham, just for information I have been supplied with the following details by a fellow Collector : -

Cpl 16809 James Foggo

Pte 16813 Harry Foggo

Pte 16814 Thomas Foggo

All served 18th Battalion of Liverpool (Pals) Regiment. All listed their Father Thomas Foggo Snr at 21 Penrhyn Avenue, Litherland as next of kin.

Harry Foggo is Gazetted with the MM on 14th May 1919 with 4th Battalion. Thomas Foggo is Gazetted with MM on 13th March 1919 with 6th Battalion.

Link to post
Share on other sites


the baseline hobby philosophy of the hobby is "buy the piece, not the story"

having said that, i have soooo many pieces that DO have a story, and it is the story that makes the piece.

I am really into the history and the men behind the pieces, so I put a lot of value on that, and I don't think I am gullible... but there are certain items I have that are rock solid with their stories.

The problem is passing them on one day.... At some stage the story gets lost forever...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Blog Comments

    • Lapsang Souchong, when i first tasted this I thought it was like stale cigarette ends...it's an acquired taste for sure.  
    • I like my tea strong enough for my spoon to stand up in. My father got me into it. When my father was at RAF Dum Dum 1943-47 most of his fellow officers drank ice cold drinks to mitigate  the heat, his Sikh batman warned him against it and said that strong hot tea would cool him down, most certainly did. So years later in the UK when everybody else was drinking iced drinks on a baking day the wood family was inbibing copious quantities of hot strong brews of Assam's finest. P
    • Hi ccj, Thanks for your comments. Funny how, for me at least, coffee has become a habit more than a conscience choice. It's the old, "Well if you having one (coffee) pour me as well". When I get together with my son-in-law, a former Brit, it's tea all the way. Thanks again. Regards Brian  
    • I live and grew up in the south (USA) and the drink of choice 7 days a week was cold sweet tea. I was unaware Lipton was British because that’s what most southern use for brewing tea. When I joined the army I learned most people in the north and western parts of the USA drank unsweetened tea and that was perplexing to my young brain. Now days I can’t stand sweet iced tea but it’s still the most common drink in the south, but, you can get unsweetened ice tea in the south. Im familiar with ho
    • I drink tea every day (Chinese tea), I used to buy Sri Lankan black tea at the fair before, it was great! I have been reluctant to drink them all. . The tea I’m talking about is just brewing water, not adding other substancesI
  • Create New...