Tag Archives: Great War

Blood, toil, sweat and sweetheart brooches

Today started well when I had just a short wait to have my arm stabbed. The blood flowed well and I was able to et out and get Julia to work in plenty of time. I’m hoping the free flow of blood indicates that it is going to give me another five or six weeks before the re-test. Tomorrow’s post will tell.

We will spool forward to my recent telephone conversation with the doctor. It seems that while testing for the arthritis consultation they took it upon themselves to test for liver function using a new test they can now do.

So, I had a test done for something we hadn’t discussed, for a condition I’m showing no symptoms of, to get a result that isn’t germane to the current issue so that I can be investigated for a result that isn’t any cause for concern and that isn’t going to cause any problems.

Meanwhile, I still have trouble dressing myself because of the arthritis in my fingers and would like to get that sorted before winter sets in.

But that doesn’t matter because they have a new test they can do for something that’s more interesting. I’ve agreed to have a scan because I was so tightly wound up by this point that I was on the point of being rude, and I’ve been brought up to be polite. I also don’t believe in being rude to people who may have to check my prostate at some time in the future.

But I am not happy.

On  a brighter note, Number One son will be home tonight. He’s having two nights in Nottingham then going up to Leeds to look for a job. This is good as we get to see him and discuss his trip, then we get rid of him. This, despite what Julia may think, is the natural cycle of life. You are born, you grow, you get a job, you leave home and pay your own bills. Then it starts over again. You settle down, you have kids, you moan about their effect on your finances…

The grandparents turn up and get them excited, give them fizzy drinks then go home and leave the consequences. I’m looking forward to that bit.

In the middle of all this, I had a delivery in the shop.

My military sweetheart collection is progressing in a shaky and uncertain manner. Like all my collections it is under-financed, under-researched and badly neglected. I’ve decided to put a bit more structure into my collecting. With the sweethearts I’m going to start looking at eBay a couple of times a month and buying something that seems  reasonably priced. If I don’t find anything it doesn’t matter. If I do, it will be a bonus. If I buy one item a month for the next ten years that will be 120 extra brooches for the collection.

Last week I bought a lot of brooches from eBay consisting of six pieces. I therefore stuck to my principles (just about) but managed to add five to the collection – one, I think, is destined for the swaps box. They have a definite Scottish theme to them with four out of the six being Scottish Regiments.

They are a sort you don’t often see – made to look like a hanging banner by folding celluloid over a pin. I suspect they were cheap at the time and , because they don’t look like jewellery, they didn’t survive in such numbers as the more durable and attractive metal ones.

At 600 words that’s more of a memoir than a post, so I’ll let you go now. Thanks for sticking with it so long.

Another Sweetheart Brooch

Great War Sweetheart Brooch

Great War Sweetheart Brooch

In real life it’s only about an inch high. It’s the badge of the Royal Artillery inside a good luck horseshoe.

The top scroll translates as “Everywhere” and is the battle honour of the RA, which has been engaged everywhere the army has been.

Very short post as I have to get on.

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Stories

It was lighter when I left work tonight, which made me feel better.  I was also feeling happy because two of yesterday’s medallions (Sir  Francis Drake and Grace Kelly) sold overnight. They are now on their way to the customer.

I then started entering more items on eBay. We set ourselves the target of having 1,000 items of stock when I started in the shop, which looked like a big jump from the 600 we then had listed. When you consider the number we’ve sold, we must have entered around 2,000 items to get to this figure.

Here are some of the bits that went on today.

Masonic Past Master's Jewel - Heaton Lodge, Bolton, Lancashire

Masonic Past Master’s Jewel – Heaton Lodge, Bolton, Lancashire

RAOB Jewels Lord Balcarres Lodge, Chorley, Lancashire

RAOB Jewels Lord Balcarres Lodge, Chorley, Lancashire

People collect Freemasons regalia keenly, and though there are collectors for Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (otherwise known as RAOB or Buffs) it isn’t collected quite as keenly. They are both mysteries to me, though they are popular with many people. There are other friendly societies such as the Oddfellows, Druids and Foresters, but their regalia is not so common. Many of them were set up to provide health and insurance benefits for members in the days before the welfare state.

The last bit is a locket with pictures of two Great War soldiers in it – probably brothers, or maybe father and son. It’s had quite a lot of wear and I suspect there is quite a story behind it.  We bought it with a Green Howards cap badge but the vendor didn’t know anything about the history. It’s frightening how quickly families forget.

As a man who is interested in the past, it can be an interesting job.

We’re closed until the 2nd January now, but as that is my day off I have four days of leisure stretching ahead of me. I wonder what I should do to fill the time…

Horse Blog Link

Here’s the link to the horse blog I mentioned on Sunday – Sense and Sentimentality.

Sorry it took me so long to find, I’m not very organised.

I have a number of horse-based stories from the Great War, which all confirm in my mind that it’s better to be shot at than be anywhere near a horse. However, it’s still an interesting subject, despite my misgivings.

Have a look – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Nottingham Badges of the Great War

I’ve been taking pictures of Nottingham-related badges recently. You probably guessed that from the photographs of Nottingham-related badges in this post.

The “Comforts for Troops” badge in the header picture opens up some interesting sites on the net, including this one, with the story of Beatrice Whitby, who seems to have been an exceptional woman, even from the age of eleven. Interestingly, given the times in which she grew up, she did all that work without even having the right to vote.

There is an archive preserved in the Imperial War Museum, which includes many personal papers, and 209 postcards from soldiers who received parcels from the fund whilst prisoners of war. I will let you read the link if you want more detail, for now I will just say that they sent 40,000 parcels to prisoners of war, which was a huge effort.

My Dad and his two brothers raised money for comforts, with a penny a week fund and various other events during the Second World War,  so this is an area that I’m quite interested in.  Dad never mentioned it, I found out by accident when researching  family history in newspapers a few months ago.

This is an Australian article on knitted comforts as I can’t find anything on knitted comforts from Nottinghamshire. It’s interesting, though it does seem a bit ungrateful in places when discussing the quality of socks.

I can’t find anything on the Relatives Association badge so far, or the Hospital badge, though I can tell you that I bought the badge in a mixed lot at the J. Tanenbaum Collection at Neales Auction (Nottingham) on 28 February 1991. It was incidental to the things I actually wanted and it was the badge that set me off collecting badges, so it has a lot to answer for.

A Hundred Years Ago…

Sorry, this is a bit of a downbeat post, but it relates to events 100 years ago today, and it seems appropriate. This is from the Clitheroe Advertiser on 21st December 1917.

Obituary notice - Wm H Wilson

Obituary notice – W H Wilson

It’s not quite accurate, as he’d originally volunteered in 1914 but been turned down (my grandfather went with him to volunteer that day but claimed to be less than nine months younger than him – this was hailed as a medical miracle by the recruiting sergeant, who also rejected my grandfather.) The fact that he wasn’t called up until  a year after conscription could indicate that he was needed on the farm as part of the war effort, but there is no indication on his card.

He joined the battalion in July 1917 and was wounded in action on 22nd October, a slight gunshot wound to the head according to his medical records. Slight? They were obviously tougher in those days.

He rejoined the battalion on 5th December, and was, as reported in the paper, fatally wounded whilst in trenches in the Ypres salient on 12th December.

He is buried in Lijsssenthoek Militart Cemetery and is unusual amongst the three members of the family killed in the war in having a marked grave.

 

This is the lisy of personal effects sent home to his mother – photos, wallet, cigarette case, cards, 2 cap badges, 2 numerals (probably shoulder titles), 9 carat gold ring (WHW), 1 farthing, bag.. They would later send a tin case containing a safety razor and blades. Shaving was a complicated subject in the trenches.

WHW Effects

He was, according to one of my great-grandmother’s letters, walking out with a local woman, before being sent to France. At that point he had only five months to live and was to be wounded twice and mentioned in despatches in that time.

    

The war memorial in Slaidburn (currently being restored) features his name, as does my great-grandmother’s gravestone (which also mentions my great-grandfather). If you compared the war memorial  figures at Clitheroe and Slaidburn you will see that they are the same, something I learned whilst pteparing the previous post on Clitheroe. She never recovered from Billy’s death (he was Billy to the family – William to record-keepers) and threw out anything that reminded her of the war. That, we are told, is why there is no existing photo of him.

Great-grandmother is buried in Chatburn, the village where my mother was bombed, and where I later went to school less than 100 yards from the gravestone, which I never knew about until a few years ago.

This closes the circle as her son-in-law is commemorated on Chatburn war memorial – something else I never knew when I went to Chatburn school – the school is the building in the background of this photograph.

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Low Cunning and Bidding on ebay

Last week I bid £120 on a medallion. I’ve already had a discussion on thrift, common sense and my sanity with Julia, so we’ll gloss over that. My defence is that collecting is a mental condition rather than a hobby.

It’s like the one in the header picture but the reverse has the coat of arms of Skegness. The one in the picture is the commoner one with the coat of arms of Lincoln on the reverse.

There is a picture of the Skegness medal and much other material here.

I didn’t get it, and was annoyed to be the underbidder to a winning bid of £122. I was a bit shocked to be honest, as I really thought it should only be £80 – £90. The extra was the safety net to ensure I got it.

Ah well, some you win and some you lose.

Then it immediately reappeared for sale, using the same photographs, but this time with a reserve. Curiouser and curiouser as they say. Well, Alice said it in Wonderland, and there’s a lot in ebay that reminds me of life through the Looking Glass.

I watched it. I considered writing to ask what was happening. I thought of reporting it to ebay, because it looked like someone had bid it up and bought it back themselves by accident. Such things have been known, though I can’t say for sure. I can only say that I was suspicious, and that there were certain indications that this was the case.

Anyway, I didn’t bid. I watched, I compared the bidders with the bidders on the previous “sale” and I waited. Eventually I decided what to do and put a bid on it. Someone outbid me. It was the same bidder that had outbid me last time.

This was where my low cunning came in.

I bid again, just another £2.

They bid again and outbid me again.

But, I think they got the message – that there would be no big bid this time – and they didn’t bid again when I added an extra couple of quid. After all, how many times do you want to buy your own stuff back? It gets expensive when you have commission to pay.

Nobody else bid either and I closed the sale at £87. It’s enough, but it’s £33 cheaper than I bid on the previous one. Assuming my earlier suspicions were justified I’d like to think of it as both a result (better price) and a lesson (greed doesn’t pay).