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Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

Article about: I recently picked up a small lot of items with a 1914 Princess Mary Christmas tin. The tin was something I've been after for a while & the badges etc will make nice additions to my growi

  1. #1

    Default Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    I recently picked up a small lot of items with a 1914 Princess Mary Christmas tin. The tin was something I've been after for a while & the badges etc will make nice additions to my growing collection

    Unfortunately none of the tin's original contents remain (the .303 case is from a 1942 dated ball round & not from a 'bullet pencil') & I'm not convinced everything that came with it actually 'belongs' - they are quite disparate items. But there are examples where the tins became storage for various keepsakes of the veteran or their family so its possible that is what this collection represents; although they span through to WW2, or possibly later, & even though they don't all fit inside tin!

    Some nice pieces though - here's a view of the entire lot (please see my insignia thread if you can help on a couple of the buttons) along with a couple of larger GS buttons & a .455 Webley cartridge case I also got recently at a car boot sale:

    Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    Closer in on the equipment items - which may not necessarily have seen military use (but I can imagine them being carried by a soldier), that span in age from well before the Great War to, possibly, after WW2:
    Attachment 1333260

    The whistle is an interesting one. If I've got this right, my research tells me "Acme" is also "J Hudson & Co" & the 'City' is very similar but its actually an earlier model than the 'Metropolitan'; the basis of the British "Trench" & later service whistles... could this 'Acme City' therefore be pre-1900?

    Here are the 'most likely to be military' of my recent acquisitions alongside my other World War miscellaneous / souvenir / keepsake items ... plus a brass "button stick" (albeit this is quite a late NSN-marked one) - just because I like them for some reason... including my 1943-dated British issue whistle:
    Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    The 'lighter' nicely complements my Poperinghe trench art matchbox cover (given to me by grandparents when clearing the home of a deceased family member). It has no striker & so seems to be some sort of hybrid between a "Trench" & a "Rope" lighter:
    Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    Can anyone date it or tell me more / show me similar examples?

    Also, can anyone familiar with 'fonts' of the time tell me what the second initial on the matchbox cover is more likely to be? An "F" or maybe an "S"?
    Last edited by brickie501; 08-22-2019 at 10:58 PM.

  2. #2


    Thought I would copy these posts over from the insignia thread (OK its a penknife but that doesn't really fit the 'Edged Weapons' criteria )…

    Quote by Rick W View Post
    Nice mixed lot mate , doesn't really matter if they were add ins.
    I want that name plate , if you want to sell it .
    Its of interest to me as they were a local Melbourne engineering co from the late 1800's
    Famous for building water pumps & meters , but they did build stuff under contract during WW1 & WW2

    Water Meter - Davies, Shephard & Co., Melbourne, Inferential Class, Reaction Turbine Type, circa 1880

    Amazing really how odds and ends turn up on the other end of the world , i find that really cool
    Cheers Rick
    It is cool isn't it!

    Its a penknife BTW. I could see the Davies, Shephard Pty Ltd script in the (online) auction pictures & similarly wondered how it ended up here. Maybe the serviceman (if he were young during the Great War) or a descendent fought in the Far East in WW2 (I think its that sort of era?) & spent some time in Aus? … but as shown below, perhaps it should be "how did it end up back here?" … or "why didn't it leave?"

    Now I've got my hands on it... the other, ruled side panel is marked "Chesterman Sheffield England" & the (remaining ) blade "Joseph Westey {?} Sheffield":

    Attachment 1333367

    Still fascinating to think about though!
    Last edited by brickie501; 08-23-2019 at 07:48 AM.

  3. #3


    Initials on the matchbox cover look like W.F to me.

  4. #4


    That's what I've been thinking (having ruled out "P" based on style used in Poperinghe - although that side is more like 'block caps') … but I'm no calligraphist

  5. #5


    I would go with W. S. myself.
    Nice group.

  6. #6


    At least its not just me that finds it difficult Trouble is neither really works in the context of surnames in my family ... at least as far as I know right now. There's no 'story' for it so it's possible it didn't actually belong to a relative... Looks like I need to do some more advanced genealogy & see if there's a name that would make sense!
    Last edited by brickie501; 08-24-2019 at 07:40 AM.

  7. #7

    Default 'Rope' Lighter & Trench Art Matchbox Cover

    Quote by brickie501 View Post
    Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    ... can anyone familiar with 'fonts' of the time tell me what the second initial on the matchbox cover is more likely to be? An "F" or maybe an "S"?
    Quote by BlackCat1982 View Post
    Initials on the matchbox cover look like W.F to me.
    Quote by Ubique View Post
    I would go with W. S. myself.
    Nice group.
    So if (& it is an if) my trench art matchbox cover actually was made by / did belong to a distant family member, I may have found the connection in some family history notes from my cousin

    The chap whose house it came from (when I was helping my grandparents clear it after his death) was my Nan's cousin. His step father (which was why I didn't immediately get the surname beginning with F or S) was a Joseph William Simms (born May 1875); known as William or Bill Simms... so that might support it being made by/for him as "W S"!

    While not William's natural son, as Nan's cousin was an only child, its logical enough the matchbox cover could have ended up with him. Sadly that is as much as I am ever going to discover now but its a nice possibility...

    Now my recently acquired 'rope' lighter is definitely not an original pairing but does complement the matchbox cover well I think. Still not found anything else quite like it though... don't think its handmade in this case? So does anyone recognise it? Is it actually of a contemporary age do you think?
    Last edited by brickie501; 08-30-2019 at 10:41 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Hudson / Acme Whistle

    As with the lighter, I'm still trying to research my recently acquired "Acme City" whistle:

    Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    The internet tells me the mouthpiece & lanyard shape, along with Acme branding & style of Patent info date this to between 1908 & 1920. But most detail out there refers to 'The Metropolitan' (the model of my 1943 service whistle shown for comparison) rather than the 'Acme City'. I think this one is most likely to actually be a scouting or similar whistle, however there is a slight chance it was a private purchase WW1 item. Can anyone help/point me towards other info?
    Last edited by brickie501; 08-30-2019 at 10:42 PM.

  9. #9


    I've added a few more items to my equipment collection

    Miscellaneous British Servicemans' Items

    I've posted how I came by them, & more, over in Flea Market Finds

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