Archive for United Kingdom

Another Birchall in Malaya

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on June 4, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomIt has been a good month for finding Birchalls on the intertubes. This GVI GSM is impressed to 23522812 PTE J.BIRCHALL RAOC. Because this is a GVI issue GSM, Private Birchall must have served early in the Emergency, prior to 1956. Interesting side note, it was called the Malayan Emergency because if it had been a war, then insurers would have been able to refuse claims for damage.

WW1 Ridgways Tea Souvenir Tin

Posted in Odds & Ends, Propaganda Items with tags , , , , on May 12, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomWhen war broke out in August, 1914, many companies rushed to get souvenir premium items onto the market before it was all over by Christmas. Basing their hopes on the bounty that was earned by the chocolate companies during the recent Boer War, Ridgways put out this patriotic tea tin in 1914. Obviously manufactured before the reality of war hit home, the lithographs include a fanciful cavalry charge, a nursing scene, a homage to Baden-Powells Boy Scouts, Sir John French, Admiral John Jellicoe and finally the soon to be famous and then dead Lord Kitchener.

NW Europe and Korea Group to a Birchall

Posted in 1939-1945 Service Medals, 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on April 15, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomIn my never ending quest to find and reunite medals to my family surname, usually it’s months of dross with the occasional excellent find. This group falls into the latter. This group is impressed to W.O. 2nd Class F.Birchall, 5.D.G and Lt. F Birchall, 5.D.G.

Frederick served in N.W. Europe, landing through Normandy with the Regiment in July, 1944. He fought through Belgium, the Roer and into Hamburg in 1945. After returning to the U.K., the Regiment was sent to Korea, where Frederick was awarded an MID as well as a short service commission as Lieutenant.

WW2 War Gas Detection Kit

Posted in Gas Masks with tags , , on March 24, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomNeat little item from the UK. This personal kit was issued to Army and Airforce troops and was used in conjunction with an air sampling pump. This one has a mix of dates, 1943 and 1944. Luckily for everyone involved the Germans did not use war gases on Western troops. I have another kit along the same lines, although that one is a training kit, here.

From the Imperial War Museum is the following description… “Tin, instructions, carded thread, utility pencil, yellow tube (2 parts) containing 22 plastic rods, blue tube (2 parts) containing 15 plastic rods, yellow tin (2 parts) containing 2 packets of circular paper pads, blue tin (2 parts) containing 4 packets of circular paper pads, glass tube containing granules and stoppered with cotton wool held in cardboard tube and metal ring. Rectangular tin with hinged lid and DETECTOR, VAPOUR, POCKET, MKII inscribed on the top of the lid in black, the tin is painted a dark yellow colour, inside the lid is an inscription entitled MUSTARD GAS VAPOUR, the inside of the tin is separated into four main compartments where the tin’s contents are contained including: instructions attached to tin by a length of string, carded white thread, utility pencil, yellow tube (2 parts) containing 22 yellow plastic rods, blue tube (2 parts) containing 15 clear plastic rods, yellow tin (2 parts) containing 2 packets of circular paper pink pads, blue tin (2 parts) containing 4 packets

Eisenhower Jume 6th order of the Day

Posted in Paper with tags , , , , , , on March 18, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_CanadaFlag_of_the_United_StatesFlag_of_FranceDrafted in February, 1944, this printed version of Eisenhower’s order of the Day for June 6th, 1944, was distributed to all 175,000 members of the Allied Expeditionary Force. This one came from the estate of a Birchall group I picked up. I have the President Roosevelt version here.

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German Ball Shrapnel from the Somme

Posted in Ammunition, Missiles & Projectiles, Odds & Ends with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_German_EmpireFlag_of_the_United_KingdomShrapnel and shell fragments accounted for a large proportion of those killed and wounded in WW1. Those blown into the ether by high explosive to one side, artillery accounted for around 70% of casualties. These six balls were recovered from the Thiepval Redoubt on the Somme and are German in origin. Thiepval was a slaughterhouse on the first day of the attack and, despite early success, took a savage pounding from German counter-fire.

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The Battle of Thiepval. The view looking toward Thiepval on morning of attack and showing German barrage. (IWM)

Burma Death Railway Spike

Posted in Odds & Ends with tags , , , , , , on November 18, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_ThailandFlag_of_Japan.svgFlag_of_AustraliaFlag_of_the_United_KingdomA couple of cool and evocative finds here from a contact in Thailand. These are Thai 1940 dated railway spikes from the ruined railway line that ran over 415 km from Thanbyuzayat in Burma to Ban Pong in Thailand. Many people know it only from it’s depiction in the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” where it crosses the Mae Klong river. I visited the site and Hellfire Pass in 2014 and I cannot believe the misery under which the slave laborers, both civilian and Allied POW, must have worked and died. A digger over there walked sections of the rail line that were never reused after the war and retrieved these spikes.