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Army officers note/sketch book c.1890s

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Wartime Letters7 of 53Claim of Exemption From Servicea certificate for acting service
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Posted 11 months ago


(190 items)

Hi All,
This has to be one of my more interesting sale finds i think.
A note/sketch book, approx 4" by 2" with, what i thought at the time, was shopping lists with some nice sketches in the back, it wasn't until i got it home that i found that it belonged to a British army officer.
The sketches are field sketches, dating from 1894-97, and the shopping lists army notes, which are undated unfortunately.
I've since found out its made of Moroccan leather with gold edged paper and wouldn't have been cheap in its day.
Unfortunately the owner didn't write his name in it.
I've tried researching who it could've belonged to by the dated sketches, a few things about it, the sketches (a lot from South Africa), and the book being in a sale in Norfolk UK) suggest it could've belonged to a William Bodle, though I'm sure they're plenty of others it could also have belonged to. But, he served with the Norfolk and Suffolk regiment during WW1 ( at the grand old age of 60! ), served in the late Boar War and was a founding member of the South Africa police & was back and forth to South Africa a few times,. Also W.Bodle was born and is buried at Alfriston, mentioned in the army notes.
If anyone has any info on William Bodle, I'd appreciate it. Any examples of his handwriting or dates when he travelled and was in South Africa, which might be able to confirm or rule him out.
Unfortunately it may never be known who owned it.
Thank you.

Mystery Solved


  1. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 months ago it's a lot to read, or skip ahead to:
    If this is real, it is a historic treasure as another viewpoint of the battle. Great, great piece you have there, thank you so much for sharing!

    T A
  2. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 11 months ago
    What a fantastic find. I love it.
  3. scottvez scottvez, 11 months ago
    GREAT item!

  4. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 11 months ago
    Thank you people's, i love it too.
    Its genuine alright, I'm sure of it.
    The material used to line the inside is like nothing ive seen before. That alone is interesting, how notebooks were made over 100 years ago.
    I'm not sure it holds much historical value, most the books empty and the battlefield sketches were all done years after the battles, most, from what ive managed to discover, are from the Franco Prussian war and one from a Napolean battle. There could be some interest in army exercises in East Sussex maybe. Its fascinating stuff none the less. Whoever he was he travelled a lot in the 3 years he had the book, with sketches of Madeira from a porthole window, Port Elizabeth in South Africa, plus a few from places in the UK.
  5. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 11 months ago
    I love the little boats, some of the sketches are no bigger than a 1cm.
    Another nice touch, there's a tiny nude figure, again only about 1 cm in the middle of the book among blank pages, like she was a secret:).
  6. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 11 months ago
    Thanks for the links tubeAmp.
    Very interesting.
    i love to research antiques.
    I'll probably sell it eventually to a collector, still its given me hours of pleasure & taught me a lot about the Franco Prussian war i never knew.
    I notice in the Spicheren sketch you can see a memorial cross in the distance. The great cross of French memory, i think it could be.
  7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 months ago
    Really interesting Fran!
  8. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 11 months ago
    Thanks Vetraio,
    Its been really interesting researching it:)

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