Posted 3 years ago
Here’s part of an eBay lot I won that recently arrived. Perhaps all of this belonged to one doughboy, or perhaps multiple soldiers that served in the same family? It all seems to be around WWI, with a few slightly earlier and a few later. I did write the seller and ask if she had any background information on this lot, but she hasn’t written back, which does not surprise me – asking was a long shot, but cost me nothing. I wanted photograph everything that came in this lot before it got separated for display in my collection. As a grouping it’s nice and I may want to bring all the pieces together again, especially if I ever sell them. As long as I was photographing, I thought I’d share a few pictures.
Picture 1: All the items in these four pictures came from a homemade bag that seems to be made from upholstery material. The first picture is just the bag and some of the odds and ends that will just go back in the bag and not be placed on display. It includes a small brass 1-1/8” fob or planchet with a damaged enamel blue star service flag surrounded by army branch insignia, an eagle and US; American Legion medal with a patent mark on the back of Nov. 12-19; Red white and blue ribbon that may be a state or local victory medal ribbon; a pin for National Horse Tag Day, 1913; and bits and pieces I can only guess at. The sewing needles and wrapper also came in the lot.
Picture 2 includes a bullion US overseas stripe (oops, should be point down); Enlisted man’s US collar disk; collar disk for company G, 109th Infantry Regiment (a part of the 28th Division that fought in several campaigns); US Army coat button (back mark *AMERICAN BUTTON COMPANY* NEWARK, N.J.) and the crossed sabers of an enlisted man’s cavalry collar disk. Above the American items is a cap badge for the British Royal Artillery; A cast version of the Cheshire regiment badge (not sure if for collar or cap) with two holes, possibly for mounting a soldier’s souvenir; a collar insignia that I believe is for the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, with a glob of solder holding it together; and two sizes of the British General Service Buttons (large one unmarked, small one backmarked *FIRMAN & SONS Ltd* LONDON).
Picture 3 includes two Canadian shoulder titles, one for the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, and the other one marked “W.SCULLY MONTREAL” on the back; a Canadian collar insignia; Australian shoulder title and collar insignia.
Picture 4 includes a German crown button; an item featuring a German crown button that I think was intended to be sewn on a coat to keep an equipment or sword belt from sliding down; and German numeral 2 button. The flaming bomb buttons are French.
The poor condition of all these pieces makes me wonder if they were previously mounted on what was known as a “hate belt.” Soldiers would collect insignia and mount them to a belt. The term “hate belt” seems to have originated with soldiers who cut insignia off dead German soldiers and mounted them on German belts acquired the same way, but the ones I’ve seen usually have a mixture of allied and enemy insignia. I recall when I was in the Army I always liked to trade insignia with foreign soldiers, and I assume it was the same back then.