Archive for WW1

A Birchall in the Cheshire Regiment

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 22, 2022 by The Dude

This medal group belonged to a Peter Birchall. The group is impressed to 51660 PTE. P.BIRCHALL CHES. REG. Peter was enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in 1915 and demob’d at the end of the year. He was redrafted into the Labour Corps and served the rest of the war there.

A Birchall in the South Wales Borderers

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 22, 2022 by The Dude

This lonely orphan BWM is all I have to commemorate James Burchall. The medal is impressed to 683648 PTE J.BURCHALL S.W.B. James was initially mobilized into the South Wales Borderers (15116) in 1914 and served there until he was released to the Labour Corps in 1917. He was 29 and a labourer from Barrow in Lancashire. He was entitled to the Victory medal and the 1914-1915 Star, both lost to time. From his records he served in Salonika in Greece as well as in France, as a farrier. He was pensioned due to illness from malaria and dysentary.

A Royal Navy Birchall Stoker in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on March 11, 2022 by The Dude

This pair of WW1 service medals appeared off EBay. They are impressed for K46500 R. BURCHALL STO.1 R.N. Richard was born on 30th September 1892 in Wigan in Lancashire. He was a bricklayer by trade. His K prefix on his number shows that he was transferred from the Army upon enlistment to the Royal Navy on the 19th of October 1917. His first ship was HMS Vivid on the 31st of December 1917. His final posting was on HMS Dido, a cruiser, before being discharged on the 19th of February 1919.

A Birchall, Too Old for the Trenches

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on January 15, 2022 by The Dude

This is a lonely little orphan Victory Medal for Pioneer James Burchell of the Royal Engineers. The medal is engraved 110501 PNR.J.BURCHELL R.E. James enlisted voluntarily on August 14th 1915 at the age of 46. While this seems old for the time he did indicate 5 years prior service with the Royal Sussex Regiment. James was retired sick and no longer fit for service on the 31st of July 1916. He was entitled to the SWB #236,996.

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.

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 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 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.