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Mystery mementos.

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.

z-medalOne 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 !   😮


5 Responses to “Mystery mementos.”

  1. Darlene said

    It’s a shame that our ancestors didn’t treasure the medals given to their relatives. I have a few from my grandmother and they were just jumbled up in a small box. I intend to have them restored and framed.

  2. Maria said

    My husband received a number of medals from his time in the Marine Corp. I gave them to our son shortly after his father passed away. It was heartwarming to see the medals in a beautiful mahogany frame on the wall of my son’s home office.
    It makes me so happy to know he honors his father in this manner.

  3. Terri said

    That is so neat to discover old family “treasures.” The metals are especially nice. My dad had given all of his from WWII to my oldest son when he was in his late teens. I think it’s nice to hold on to things like this and keep them in the family.

  4. Keith said

    It is just a matter of interest but would you be interested in selling the 58th foot medal if it is not related to your family. I only ask the question because the 58th foot was called the Rutlandshire Regiment and i collect items related to the County of Rutland where i live.

  5. Big John said

    Keith – Please see my e mail.

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