Once again the Huddersfield second hand market has brought up some real treasures, one of which is so important I will be writing a separate blog post about it tomorrow. It always amazes me the number and quality of items still coming to light in house clearances. Sadly as the generation which lived through the war dies away, these items will continue coming on the market. Hopefully enough of my fellow collectors will be out there buying these up and acting as custodians of them for future generations. Again I would urge any young collectors to get out there and start hunting for these items, forget eBay and dealers; site, you can still build up an excellent collection for a few pounds if you know your subject and are prepared to go hunting (and haggle). Nothing I have bought today cost me more than £4, but all are interesting and worthwhile additions to my collection:
Jungle Dog Tags
This pair of dog tags is made of aluminium rather than the more usual compressed fibre of British dog tags. It was found in the hot and humid conditions of the jungle, when corpses were disinterred, the fibre dog tags had rapidly rotted and delaminated, making it impossible to identify the bodies. To get round this aluminium discs were issued, secured by rot proof cord:This pair are named to 22820082 Sapper Tully, who would have been a member of the Royal Engineers. As on the fibre examples, we can see his religion ‘CE’ for Church of England stamped in the centre of each disc.
Royal Navy Gunnery Log and Progress Book
This substantial ledger, sadly unissued, was designed to be used on board ships to record all the firing of the guns. It is a large buff book, about an inch thick and marked on the front with its title and the last date of revision, February 1939:Inside, on the title page, is a space for the ships name and the date:Over the page are instructions for completing the log:Whilst the vast majority of the book is ledger for the actual recording of firing:There are a large number of small square grease stains on some of the pages, leading me to believe the book was used as a stamp album after the war. This sort of reuse was common in the austerity hit post-war years, but does ensure that books like this survive to the present day.
Portrait of RNVR Officer
This elegant photographic portrait of a RNVR lieutenant is mounted in a green rexine-style travelling photo frame:The picture is unusually large, normally these sort of pictures are no more than postcard size. This would suggest that it was originally given to someone very important in his life, such as a wife or fiancé. The RNVR was made up predominantly of hostilities only officers and provided the vast majority of officers on escort vessels, combined operations vessels and coastal forces.
This little pamphlet dates form March 1975 and was issued to troops in Germany, facing off against the Soviet threat. On the cover can be seen the symbol of the BAOR:Inside is a brief aide de memoire of chemical warfare procedures, and interestingly details of the difference between British military sirens and German civilian ones:Once again this pamphlet is in the standard size of all British Army documents designed to be stored in a soldier’s pocket for easy access.
All the above are good little finds, however tomorrow we have something truly remarkable I picked up this morning, that hopefully you will find as interesting as I do.