Posted by Big John on November 4, 2008
On Sunday I visited my re-discovered cousin at her country cottage home. We enjoyed a traditional ‘Sunday Roast’ lunch and settled down to examine a number of recently discovered boxes of old family documents, photographs and assorted ‘junk’.
Some of the items discovered are shown below …
Amongst the small collection of old coins I spotted an American 1925 ’Buffalo Nickel’, but to my great disappointment I have since discovered that it is probably only worth two or three quid ($5), so I won’t be buying that yacht anytime soon.
It was nice to find the medals awarded to one of my uncles during WW2 and I shall see to it that they are restored to their original condition, but there are two damaged military decorations among the collection which are a bit of a mystery.
They are interesting in that they come from two very different wars in two different centuries.
One is a ’Zulu War’ medal (left) which was awarded to the survivors of British regular troops who had served in South Africa between 1877 and 1879 (Remember the movie ‘Zulu’ with Michael Caine ?). This medal bears on the obverse a beautiful portrayal of Victoria as the young queen, wearing a coronet. The reverse shows a lion, half-crouching watchfully, behind a protea bush and a military trophy consisting of a Zulu ox-hide shield and four crossed assegais. The edge engraving on this medal bears the inscription … 29/2077 PTE. W. SIMMONDS. 58th FOOT. Regrettably I have no idea how Private Simmonds could be connected to my family.
The other decoration (right) is in two pieces and is a blackened silver WW2 German ’Panzer Badge’ or ‘Tank Combat Badge’. This decoration appears to have been broken by a bullet striking the ‘Nazi’ eagle emblem in the right wing. I assume that this item was a war souvenir belonging to one of my soldier uncles, and who may have used it for target practice. I just hope that the poor bloody ‘Jerry’ to whom it had been awarded …
… wasn’t wearing it at the time !