Archive for WW1

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 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 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.

New Zealand 1905 Pattern Mounted Rifles Bandolier

Posted in Ammo & Magazine Pouches with tags , , , on November 10, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_New_ZealandThis item, produced in 1942, is the 1905 pattern 50 round ammunition bandolier, issued to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles regiments. Unique to New Zealand, it was intended to provide additional ammunition in case of extended reconnaissance patrols and was popular because of the ability to sling these over the necks of the horses.

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NZMR hero 13/129 Corporal Sinclair Chapman Reid – North Auckland Mounted Rifles. Wearing the lightweight desert uniform. First known rank corporal rose to Lieutenant by wars end. During WWII held the rank of Major. Recipient of the Military Cross. Sinclair Reid had the distinction of being a combatant at both the attack on Chunuk Bair on the 8th August 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign and the attack at Ayun Kara on the 14th November 1917 in Turkish Palestine. These actions were the most deadly engagements experienced by the NZMR during WWI.

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)

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.

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 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.

Ottoman Turkish Enlisted Man’s Buckle

Posted in Belts & Belt Buckles with tags , , , on September 3, 2016 by The Dude

Ottoman_flagBeing a Kiwi I have an attachment to the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. When I visited Turkey in 2012 I made sure that I got to Anzac Cove and Chunik Bair. I scooped a little bit of soil from there into a container and dragged that home. Elsewhere here I have an Ottoman award and have been looking for an Ottoman era belt buckle for a while. This one has the toghra (personal cypher) of Mehmet V, the penultimate Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, under the national emblem. Notice how similar this buckle is in design to the Jerry ones. The Germans had both feet in the Turkish Army prior to the Great War, providing technical advice and equipment designs.

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Turkish soldiers at Sedd el Barr in 1915, prior to the invasion

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.

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

MP-18 Trommel Adapter

Posted in Magazines, Parts & Accessories with tags , , , , , , on February 24, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_NSDAP_(1920–1945).svgThis little item is terrifically tough to find. It’s the adapter for the MP-18/I designed to allow the 32 round drum magazine (snail drums) to fit. Not quite WW2 but since I have a trommel drum and I am looking for an MP-18, it’s a case of hook it when you see it. The MP18 was originally designed with a  20 round box magazine however the Army procurement organization insisted that the weapon be made compatible with the TM08 trommels which were common due to their issue for the LP08 pistol. This required this spacer adapter to be slid onto the snail drum to prevent it being pushed to far into the receiver of the MP18.

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.

Mauser Red-9 Shoulder Stock

Posted in Holsters with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_German_EmpireA little while back I picked up a Red-9 Mauser C96 (see below). I only got it because I liked the quirkiness of the setup for the wooden shoulder stock. So I immediately started looking for a wooden holster to match. Doing my research I discovered a few tell tales that would be useful for someone else looking for the same thing. In this case, the original stocks always had the tensioning screw end up at an angle 20 or 30 degrees off true. The Red-9 stocks had the squared off grain on the thumb release and this is always perpendicular to the edge of the lid. And finally these stocks were supplied without the metal loop at the hinge. If your stock has a loop then it is likely a bolo stock and post-war. It’s important to get the right holster as the wood that was removed from inside the cap was different to conform with the cocking lever setup. In the Red-9 series these were always the small ring style thumb grip.

A Birchall Sapper in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on September 5, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis small group is impressed to 8518 SPR W.T. BIRCHALL RE. William Birchall served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. This means he spent a lot of time on trench improvements and likely served close to or at the front. He doesn’t appear on the CWGC website so he survived. The group came with the owners miniatures which is a nice touch since I often find these things as lonely orphans.

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A Birchall in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 24, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA modest medal, unfortunately an orphan. This medal is impressed to 8846 PVT A. BURCHELL R.W.FUS. Albert Burchell served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and later in The Welsh Regiment. I haven’t been able to find any more information about this man. No attestation papers. But since he doesn’t appear on the CWGC site, it appears he survived the Great War.

Update: From a friend on another site a little more about Albert
Albert Burchell
Rank: Private
Medal Awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal
Regiment or Corps: Welsh Regiment Regimental Number: 267026 Sub Unit: 1/6th Battalion
Previous Units: 8846. R.W. Fus. Pte. Infantry Base Depot., Att. 6th Welch R., 15632. 6th Welch R., 267026. 6th Welch R., Welch R. Infantry Base Depot., 8th Welch R., Att. 37th Div Cyclists, 8th Welch R.

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WW1 Anti-German Toilet Paper

Posted in Paper, Propaganda Items with tags , , on July 30, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_StatesThe arrival of the US in the First World War was accompanied by a rash of the usual cheesy propaganda items. This one, a sheet of toilet paper with Kaiser Wilhelm’s face printed on it, was typical of the tone many of these items adopted. Bloody funny still and Bill’s been dead for 90 years.

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Prussian 1916 Contract Red 9 Mauser C96

Posted in Firearms with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_German_EmpireHere is my “Red 9” Mauser C96. Mauser manufactured this pistol from 1896 until 1937. In 1916 the Imperial German Army placed an order for 150,000 of these to be chambered in 9mm Parabellum rather than the original 7.63mm. The reason for this was that the Luger production was heavily delayed and this was seen as a stop-gap. The 9 was marked into the handle by local armourers and filled with red paint, hence its name. This was done so that users did not accidentally load it with the original 7.63 ammunition.

This particular example has the shortened 140mm barrel indicating that it was reworked for police use post-war. It doesn’t have the 1920 date however. The leather holster is the as-issued variety. The adjustable sights were removed at the time of the barrel shortening and a fixed sight applied in its place.

 

Another WW1 Birchall in the Merchant Navy

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on May 3, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis is a pretty humble medal that has had a hard life. This is the WW1 British War Medal, impressed to Frederick W. Birchall. Because of the lack of a unit or service number I suspected this was a merchant seaman award. 10 minutes on the British Archives and here he is. Frederick was born in 1871 in Liverpool and would therefore have been 43 when war broke out. His medals were forwarded to the Merchant Marine Office in Canning Place, Liverpool. He was also awarded the Merchantile War Medal, since lost to time. The War Medal here has the neck of its suspender broken as well as bad edge knocking and bruising. It probably sat in someones junk drawer for a few decades.

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Austrian Steyr-Mannlicher M95 Bayonet

Posted in Bayonets with tags , , , , on June 6, 2014 by The Dude

Flag_of_AustriaThis Austrian bayonet was originally made to fit the M1895 Steyr-Mannlicher infantry rifle. I am not a bayonet guy by any ways or means although I have a handful. I got it because it fits the MP34ö submachinegun that I own. The MP34ö was issued to Austrian forces and made its way in Wehrmacht use after the Anschluss. Most of the production was sold in a Portuguese contract and those MP’s were issued with a Simson & Co Söhn MP34 bayonet. The examples that stayed in Austrian service were fitted with an M95 bayonet like this one.

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Infantry Pickelhaube Field Cover

Posted in Headwear with tags , , , on June 6, 2014 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_German_EmpireI have had my Prussian Infantry Pickelhaube for about 10 years and in all that time have only see two of the cloth field covers for them. This one was just last week and I snapped it up now that I know how rare they are. In the photos you can see it still has its fastenings intact. You can also see that I had it on backwards. Ha.

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