Archive for United Kingdom

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.

Eisenhower June 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.

rsz_d-day-eisenhower1.png

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.

rsz_1shrapnel

thiepval

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.

A Career Navy Birchall in WW1 & WW2

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis orphaned British War Medal is impressed to K6690 F.BURCHELL L.STO R.N. Luckily today is Remembrance Day, so the Ancestry military records are free. He was hard to track down because the naming of the medal is in error. It belonged to George Victor Burchell, born in Preston in 1896. He joined the Royal Navy as a boy of 12. He served in both WW1 and WW2, however, all of his service post WW1 was on shore stations like HMS Defiance and HMS Vivid. He had postings on HMS Eagle both in 1918 as well as the next Eagle in the mid 30’s. His trade was listed as jeweller/watchmaker and since most of his berths were at torpedo training establishments, I think he most likely serviced the mechanisms in torpedoes. His rank on the medal was Leading Stoker, his final rank in 1942 was Leading Petty Officer.

A Reunited Orphan Birchall

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on September 19, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis single is a WW1 Victory Medal belonging to William Birchall. It is impressed to 20177 Pte. W. Birchall Essex R. William deployed to the Balkans on the 19th of September 1915. He was discharged on the 30th of March 1917 under category 16, “No longer fit for war service”, in this case because of wounds. William was also entitled to the Silver Wound Badge 152379.

What is fantastic about this humble medal is that I already had his 1914-15 Star from back in 2013 so getting these back together is very satisfying. I am still missing the BWM but my search goes on.

WW1 Canadian Hate Belt

Posted in For Sale with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_AustraliaFlag_of_New_ZealandFlag_of_CanadaFlag_of_the_United_StatesFlag_of_FranceFlag_of_the_German_EmpireNice simple pickup last weekend at the local antique fair. This is a souvenir belt put together from a Prussian infantry belt and the tunic buttons from a wide range of Allied and German units. This example has a predominance of Canadian buttons so I am guessing that it was Canadian in origin. The rest are French, Australian, New Zealand, German and one single U.S. General Service button. You see these in all sorts of configurations, some on Allied belts, some with cap badges and other oddments. The legend is that these were put together from souvenirs taken from dead bodies but that sounds overly complex to me and likely nonsense. More likely most of the buttons were swapped at rear area camps between bored soldiers making up a souvenir. The U.S. button suggests a late war job, 1917-19. The Empire buttons make sense as often these units found themselves together in the line. The Canadian Regiments are from different divisions so that’s why I think this is a rear area put together. Still, a great belt, in fine condition and worth it just for the buttons and belt IMHO.

A Birchall Driver in the ASC

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 4, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis lonely little Victory medal was awarded to Thomas Birchall, 2529, a Driver in the Army Service Corps in WW1. I can’t find much on him but I can see by his entitlement card that he was awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal in 1920. Both this and his British War medal are lost to time unfortunately.

A Self-Award For A Victorian Birchall

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on July 19, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere’s an odd one. We have our share of military imposters today, slipping into a uniform and slapping on a bunch of undeserved medals in order to gain the eye of the ladies. They call them “Walts”, after the deluded central character in the 1939 book, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.

Now it appears I have one from the 19th Century. This medal, a Crimean Medal with Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaklava bars is inscribed to Captain Basil Herne Harper Birchill 1854-5-6. Researching Basil tells me that he was a member of the minor gentry from Middlesex. His surname was Diprose at birth but he was able to change his name to Birchall upon the death of Lt Col. Herne Harper Burchell in 1858 (probably due to either a remarriage of his mother or an illegitimate issue). He did indeed serve in one of the County militia, the Royal Bucks. However as far as I can see he never made it to the Crimea. I see a record of him  connected to the British Italian Legion which replaced British troops in garrison on Malta during the Crimean War. And he seemed to be busy in organisations like the Cinque Ports Corps (basically a bunch of rifle clubs) and the Royal Geographical Society. However I sincerely doubt that he left Britain and this medal is a self award. Pompous little classist pommie prick. I would say I’d plant my boot into his nuts if I met him today.

 

Nuremberg IMT Trials Visitors Ticket

Posted in Paper with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_NSDAP_(1920–1945).svgFlag_of_the_United_StatesFlag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_FranceFlag_of_the_Soviet_Union.svgInteresting bit of shyte here. This is a ticket for the visitors gallery for the 379th session of the Nuremburg Military Tribunal (NMT). This session falls within the 7th trial, the Hostages Trial, which ran from 8th July 1947 until 19th February 1948. The defendants were mostly higher commanders of the Wehrmacht accused of atrocities against civilians in the Balkans and Greece.

The ticket holder was a man named Constantine Brown who served in B-24’s in the USAAF until the end of the war when he was seconded to provide Greek-English language translation. He later served in the CIA and upon his return to the US became a policeman.

From his obituary… “BROWN–Constantine. 1927-2014. Constantine Brown passed away on October 22, 2014. His friends and family will miss his enthusiasm and active life style. In 1923, his parents and sister escaped from the forced exchange of Greek and Turkish populations, and came to New York City. He was born in Manhattan’s “Hell’s Kitchen” where his mother struggled to bring up her fatherless children while working at the Greek Orthodox church nearby. He enlisted in the New York State Guard when a teen-ager. During World War II, he joined the Air Force Cadet Program to become a flight engineer on B-24 bombers. His fluency with the Greek language was used by the C.I.A. When the war ended, he completed high school and earned a B.A. from Columbia University while working full-time with the New York City Housing Authority Police. From 1954, he rose through the ranks of the Housing Authority Police which merged with the New York City Police Department. He married Olga Boondas, a professor of social work at Columbia University. His beloved wife and daughter, Themis, pre-deceased him. Constantine was an active member of several organizations, including the Captains’ Endowment Association–NYPD, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Fraternal Order of Police, and St. Paul’s Society, NYPD. Olga and Constantine inaugurated the Themis Anastasia Brown Endowment Fund at the Morgan Library and Museum 21 years ago. He was in the process of instituting a chair for Classical and Byzantine Studies at Queens College in NYC, and provide support for the Orphanage under the aegis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.”

Western Front Group to a Birchall

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on May 13, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA pretty common trio to a English soldier on the Western Front. The group is named variously to PTE. or L/CPL J.BURCHELL 3553 R.LANC.R. John Burchell entered France on the 6th of October 1915 and is therefore entitled to the 1914-15 Star. He doesn’t show up on the CWGC website so it appears he made it through alive.

A Birchall In Victorian Egypt

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on April 15, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA nice tidy Anglo-Egyptian War group belonging to one of the Birchall/Burchell/Birchell’s out there. This one is impressed to H.T.BURCHELL PTE. R.M.L.I. Harry Thomas Burchell (No 2473) enlisted in the Chatham Division of the Royal Marines on June 11th 1883. He served until discharged on 6th November, 1894. The Egypt medal has bars for Suakin (1st March to 14th May, 1885) and Tofrek (22nd March 1885). I have another Birchall from the same campaign here.

A Birchall in the Malaya Campaign

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on April 14, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomIn my never-ending quest to find all the Birchall or similar named groups and singles on the internets, there is this example in the post this week. Named to 23416889 SIGMN.J.I.BIRCHELL R.SIGS., it is a EIIR General Service Medal with a bar for the Malayan campaign against the communist insurgency. This post-colonial bush war ran from 1948 to 1960 and was one of the few successful attempts to keep the communists out of S.E.Asia.

Canadian Made Sten Gun Magazine

Posted in Magazines with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_CanadaThe MP28/II that I have is missing its magazine and until I find one, well the Sten magazine fits just fine as the mag wells are identical. I had another one in the gun but it was a parkerized version and just too tidy considering how tired the MP was. Here was a cheap buy from the weekend, a tired KC marked (Kelvinator of Canada) example.

Enfield 303 British Stripper Clips & Battlepack

Posted in Ammunition with tags , , , , on November 24, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_CanadaI have a Canadian made Enfield No4 MkI* rifle here. These are the stripper clips and ammunition for this rifle. Additionally you can see a battle pack of 48 rounds produced by the Dominion Industries Company, part of Canadian Industries Ltd. The ammunition in the battlepack is all VIIz ball, made in 1943. The clips show both brass rounds and steel, made in 1944 and 1945 by the same company.

A Birchall with Talent in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on October 16, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomInteresting partial group here. These two medals are part of a group belonging to Arthur H. Birchall, 2596. He was enlisted in 1915 as a Lance Corporal in the Durham Light Infantry and ended the war as a Lieutenant Colonel in the same regiment. His BWM and MC are lost to time. Something that is also interesting here is that another partial group of his, sans MC, recently went through the DNW auction house before being snapped up and relisted on EBay at an exorbitant markup.

British WW1 Trench Whistle

Posted in Field Gear, Musical Instruments with tags , , on July 20, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA simple, yet evocative item. This is a 1916 dated British officer’s trench whistle. I deliberately looked for a 1916 date because the centenary of the Battle of the Somme passed this month. The whistle was manufactured by D’Courcy & Co from Birmingham.

rsz_trenchwhistleoverthetop

Lancashire Fusiliers go “over the top”, first day of the Somme, July 1st 1916.

Sten 32 Round Magazine

Posted in Magazines with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomFlag_of_the_NSDAP_(1920–1945).svgA fairly common find, a 32 round stick magazine for the Sten machine pistol. I don’t collect British weapons however I bought the MP28/II below a little while back and the MP came without a magazine. The MP28 mags are hard to track down so in the meantime I will use this mag for display.

The Sten was designed to take a common magazine with the Lanchester SMG. And since the Lanchester was a direct copy of the MP28/II by default, these Sten mags will fit the MP28. Of course the MP28 ones were 20 round but I don’t want to go chopping this down until I give up on finding an original MP28 Mag.

This magazine is marked K.C. This represents the manufacturer, Kelvinator Canada. This makes sense since I found it in Canada.

Japanese Surrender Documents

Posted in Paper with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_Japan.svgThis booklet, dating from 1946, is a facsimile of the surrender documents signed on the USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, on the 2nd September 1945. These were produced by the National Archives in the US for distribution to institutions and individuals in education. I have the German ones here.


image

A Birchall Valour Group from the Hundred Days Offensive

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, 1939-1945 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles, Rare Medals, Valour Medals with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere’s a great group coming from my never-ending search for medals impressed to my surname. In this case its a WW1 Military Medal group combined with a WW2 service medal group, named to J.E.Birchall 91004, The Kings (Liverpool) Regt.

It came with a little certificate from his commanding General commending his “…skilful use of his Lewis Gun section during operations against Evillers and Mory Copse on the 23rd and 24th of August 1918”.

The village of Evillers was completely destroyed during this offensive. John Eric Birchall later served in WW2, as evidenced by his Defence Medal and War Medal. This service was as a Lieutenant in the Home Guard. Given his age, it was probably his MM that got him that rank.

Nachrichten Für Die Truppe Propaganda Newspaper

Posted in Paper, Propaganda Items with tags , , on September 5, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_StatesThis is the 12th of April 1945 edition of “Nachrichten Für Die Truppe”. This was a German language newspaper craeted by the Allies and dropped by bomber over the troop lines. It combined real news about Allied successes with unverifiable gossip about the Nazi leadership. Classed as grey propaganda since the Allies never owned up to producing it and the German soldier was under no doubts about who did write it. It was very popular with German soldiers. The newspaper was produced from April 1944 until the end of the war. Interestingly enough the Germans themselves printed their versions of this in order to combat it.