I suspect I am not alone as a collector in valuing certain items not for their monetary worth, but for their family connection. Tonight’s object is no exception, being one of a small number of items I inherited from my maternal Grandfather, Harold Paradise. Harold had served in his local Home Guard until he was old enough to join the British Army in June 1944. He was in basic training during the Normandy campaign, but was shipped out to join the Somerset Light Infantry in Germany during the dying days of World War Two. He was to be made an acting Corporal and family legend has it he entered Bergen Belsen concentration camp at some point; though whether this was a liberator or merely as part of the mopping up in the last days of the war is unknown. My mother still has his paybook and paper records and I inherited his 43rd Division patch of a yellow wyvern on a blue background, one of his corporal’s stripes and this coloured Field Service cap:The cap is made of a dark rifle green, indeed it is almost black in colour now. There is a white metal Somerset Light Infantry Cap Badge affixed in the usual position:
As can be seen, the badge has been polished so much that the surface detail has been worn away in part. On the front of the cap are the usual two small general service buttons:The interior is lined with a well worn superior quality soft leather:
Coloured FS caps were a private purchase item for wear off duty, therefore the quality varies considerably. In this case the cap is of excellent quality, with fine material and lining. I am unsure how my grandfather afforded such a cap as he would have only been young with a private’s salary; however he had a reputation as being something of a loveable rogue so it is entirely possible he acquire it through a winning bet or some other less than legal channel. The cap is now well worn, with a trace of mothing, but as with any other family item its value to myself far outweighs any monetary figure that could be assigned to it.