Archive for United Kingdom

Enfield Rifle Breech Action Cover

Posted in Parts & Accessories with tags , , on November 28, 2021 by The Dude

A fairly simple bit of kit this, it’s a canvas action cover for the Enfield No4 Rifle. This particular example was manufactured in Canada by The Dominion Regalia Company of Toronto.

A Birchall MID in the RAFVR

Posted in 1939-1945 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on November 21, 2021 by The Dude

An almost lost group here to Leading Aircraftsman R.Birchall (1155198) in the RAFVR. The group came with a Welsh Regiment cap badge so I assume he was originally enrolled in that unit before transferring to the RAFVR. He was awarded an MID oakleaf in June 1945.

A Birchall in the Royal Fusiliers in France

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on October 6, 2021 by The Dude

This group is the usual suspects for a mid war soldier in France. These three were awarded to Alfred Charles Burchell. They are impressed to K-1445 PTE A Burchell, R.Fus. Alfred disembarked into France on 17th November 1915. On the 8th of July 1919 he was released into Z Pool, basically a civilian again.

Another Birchall in the Liverpool Regiment

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on October 6, 2021 by The Dude

This lonely little Orphan is the BWM, or British War Medal for Private Harold Birchall. The medal is impressed to 330057 PTE. H. BIRCHALL . L’POOL R. At some point Harold was transferred to the Labour Corps and issued a second number, 325057.

An Old Contemptible In The Sussex Regiment

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on October 6, 2021 by The Dude

Here’s a nice WW1 group to an early arriver in France. Impressed to 9095 L.Cpl H.W.BURCHELL 2/R SUSS:R. & L-9095 T.SGT H.W.BURCHELL R.SUSS.R. This man landed in France on the 12th of August 1914 and has the November Bar on his 1914 Star to show it.

An ISM to a Birchall in the Post Office

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on April 3, 2021 by The Dude

In my never ending quest for medals named to my surname I inevitably roll past non-military items. Like Masonic medals or in this case an Imperial Service Medal. This one is named to Evelyn Gertrude Maud Burchell, a telephonist in the GPO. She was gazetted in February 1946.

A Postcard from France

Posted in Paper with tags , , on January 21, 2021 by The Dude

When the British soldiers reached France in 1914 & 15 many of them sent these embroidered postcards home to their family and friends. Usually pretty bland in content they are a very period specific bit of tourist kitsch.

This one is from a Henry Birchall to his sister “E” in Southport in Lancashire. It reads…

Dear Sister
I am pleased to hear that your Father Mother is keeping in good health. they will think I have forgot them because I have not wrote to them for a long time. I will … them a line just to let them no that I have not forgot them. So good by, till we meet again.

An Orphan for a Birchall MM Winner

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on January 14, 2021 by The Dude

When I find a Birchall impressed medal out there on the Intertubes I am always pretty stoked. Sometimes it’s an orphan, a medal that has been split from its group. This one is particularly poignant as it belonged to a Military Medal winner, 685885 GNR J.Birchall, RA. James Birchall was gazetted for the Military Medal on the 4th of February 1918. I also found him listed as wounded on the War office casualty lists for July 9th 1918.

A Birchall with a career in the Postwar BAOR

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on October 18, 2020 by The Dude

This QEII Long Service/Good Conduct medal was awarded in 1962 to Staff Sergeant J.R. Burchell, 22221209 of the 3rd Battalion, East Anglian Regiment. Looking for him on the intertubes I find him listed as C/Sgt in 3/East Anglian in 1965 and assigned to the Regimental Depot.

A Birchall killed on the 1st Day of the Somme

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 5, 2020 by The Dude

A sad little orphan 1914-15 Star. Impressed to Private William Burchell, 17691, of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. William entered France on the 15th of October 1915 and was killed in action on the 1st of July at Thiepval on the Somme. I have some German ball shrapnel from the same area. Thiepval was an abattoir on that day although the Berkshires reached their objectives on schedule. William was 33 on the day he was killed. He is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial. Coincidentally a Sergeant in the Lancashire Regt named identically was also killed at Thiepval on the same day.

An Embroidered Postcard from France

Posted in Paper with tags , , on February 23, 2020 by The Dude

These postcards were very popular, especially with the British troops, during WW1. This particular one has a personal connection being sent by a soldier with the surname of Birchall.

“With my best wishes to you and all in Garston. Yours with kind regards, L. Cpl J. Birchall.”

It is sent to a Nellie Tomas in Garston. Likely one I found in Garston on Ancestry, born in 1900. No sign of a marriage tho so Romeo was unsuccessful.

A Birchall Masonic Medal

Posted in 1919-1938 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on February 23, 2020 by The Dude

Along with the military medals, occasionally drifts a Masonic medal. This one is the 1930 Royal Masonic Hospital Charity Jewel from 1930. It was awarded to Worshipful Brother J. Birchall of the Robinson Lodge (2046) in Maidstone, Kent.

A Birchall in the Liverpool Regiment

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on February 22, 2020 by The Dude

Another ordinary pair of Squeak and Wilfred, the two most common ww1 service medals. These belonged to Private 202702 John Birchall of the Liverpool Regiment.

A Birchall, Died a POW in Germany

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on December 24, 2019 by The Dude

This Death Penny belonged to Sidney Burchell, a Private in the 7th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Regiment. Sydney died from illness while a prisoner in Germany on the 26th of June 1918. This is likely not his actual death date as the POW rolls have him dying on the 20th of June. Sidney enlisted in Chichester, initially as TR/10/6344 in a Training Reserve Battalion, probably the 23rd based in Shoreham, although Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 probably erroneously states the 2nd. Later he became Rifleman A/205284 in the 7th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps, part of the Army’s 14th Division.

Sidney was taken prisoner on 21 March 1918 and held at Camp Stendal, Prussia. He died of kidney infection while in captivity on 20 June 1918 aged 19. [Some current records state he died on 26 June which is likely to be the date of his burial.]

He was buried in grave V.A.11 at the Hautmont Communal Cemetery. Hautmont had been captured by the Germans in the early days of World War 1. The communal cemetery was used by the German troops for the burial of their dead. The Allied prisoners who died in the local German hospitals were buried there too by the authorities of the town.

Sidney is also commemorated on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Another WW1 Birchall Orphan

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on December 7, 2019 by The Dude

This lonely little WW1 Victory Medal orphan belonged to M2-033111 Private A.J. BURCHELL of the Army Service Corps. Arthur James Burchell entered France on the 18th of July 1915 and was therefore entitled to the 1914-1915 Star in addition to the BWM and Victory Medal. His M2 prefix on his service number indicates that he was an electrician.

A Birchall Killed In Norway

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on December 7, 2019 by The Dude

This modest little group belonged to John James Burchall-Ward, 997361, 114 Squadron. John was a Sergeant-Observer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was killed in action on the 27th December 1941 when the Blenheim he was helping to crew was shot down into the sea at the island of Vaagso in Norway during Operation Archery. He is buried in the Møllendal Church Cemetery in Bergen.

A Birchall who didn’t deploy

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on September 21, 2019 by The Dude

Surprising this week, after a drought of a few months, a plain old garden-variety British General Service Medal (1962). The recipient is Gunner R. Birchall 23381785, Royal Artillery. The lack of any of the 14 possible theatre bars means he didn’t deploy from the UK during his service.

British SMLE Enfield No1 Mk3*

Posted in Firearms with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2019 by The Dude

I have always had a wee hard-on for the Enfield No1 Mk3. It was the first rifle I owned as a child and I have always wanted to own one again. A friend of mine is a nut for Enfields and owns far too many. I asked him to sell me a no-issues wartime rifle to go with the No4 & No5 I already had. He came up with this one. Battle issued, made in 1941/42 by Lithgow in Australia. Sighted for high velocity MkVII ammun ition, this rifle went into New Guinea with the Australian Forces. It was returned to Lithgow in June 1945.

Australian Pattern 1907 Enfield Bayonet

Posted in Bayonets with tags , , , , on July 20, 2019 by The Dude

Two things are driving me nuts lately. One, the lack of German guns falling into my lap. Two, my need to complete sets. I had a No4 Mk 1* Enfield and a No5 Mk 1. So since no Jerry guns were showing up I decided to get a No1 Mk3 SMLE Enfield. I like to put bayonet with rifle so here is a Lithgow made P1907 Enfield bayonet. MA stamped for Lithgow Small Arms Factory. The broad arrow for military acceptance. An X for a hardness test mark and a couple of inspector stamps.

A Birchall Electrician in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on January 9, 2019 by The Dude

This trio are a 1915 Star, Allied Victory Medal and British War Medal awarded to Private C. Burchell (M2-048414). I haven’t found his first name yet but his army number indicates that he served as an electrician in the Army Service Corps. His record shows he entered France on the 16th of March 1915 and that he was released into the Class Z reserve on the 21st of April 1919. I hope he had a decent war.

Enfield Number 5 Mk 1 Bayonet

Posted in Bayonets with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThe Number 5 infantry carbine had a very short production run and basically came in too late to be taken into large-scale production. The impact on the number of bayonets produced for it was mirrored by this. There were four UK wartime manufacturers, one being Wilkinson Sword. The bayonet is marked on one side by the broad arrow and an x. The x is a bending proof mark. The other side of the blade is marked W.S.C. and with their dispersal code S294. Wilkinson made 188,354 of these bayonets.

A Birchall, dead at Cawnpore

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis group epitomises why I collect medals to both my surname and its variants. In the 19th Century, surnames were still quite fluid. With many people still being illiterate in the mid-century (~40% of men), the spelling of the surname often depended on the hearing of the recorder. In this group we have a Crimea Medal with Sebastopol Bar and an Indian Mutiny Meda, the latter impressed to SERGT TIMY BIRCHELL, 82 REGT. On the medal roll for Crimea he is recorded as Birchill. On the Regimental roll for India he is spelled Birchile. Either way, Timothy Birchell, 2232, Sergeant in the 82nd (Prince of Wales Volunteers) Regiment of Foot, served and died at Cawnpore, India on the 16th of December, 1857. The Mutiny medal is typical of many casualty medals, never worn and in almost mint condition.

Enfield No5 Mk 1 Jungle Carbine

Posted in Firearms with tags , , , on August 12, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomAlthough I try to stick to Axis firearms, sometimes the pickings get slim. So when I slide off the true path I have to be careful because there’s a world of pain in store for my bank account if I go full retard. I have always had a sweet spot for Enfield rifles though, my first long arm centerfire was a Number 1 Mk 3. The Number 5 always held a fascination for me. Partly because of it’s late war nature and partly because when it was issued, the vast majority of them went to the Far East, a theatre I have read a lot on. This example is one of 81,329 produced by BSA. It’s fully matching, unmucked with and never got the Ishapore redo post-war.

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.

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.