Can you help me identify the origin of this trench art shell casing?
I am hoping you can help me identify an item left to me by my grandfather. It's a shell casing made into trench art by a soldier in either WW1 or WW2. I've done a bit of research over the last few days, but haven't made much headway -- in fact, I'm just confusing myself more. I haven't been able to find out what the headstamp marks represent, and the artwork itself is slightly mysterious (at least to a novice such as myself).
I'm sorry if this is the wrong forum, but it was the closest match I could find. Please let me know if I need to post elsewhere.
I have attached pictures below. For high-definition images, see this imgur album.
Here's what I know so far:
- The internal diameter of the casing is approx. 3 inches, or 75-76mm (not sure exactly)
- My grandfather was an Army chaplain stationed in North Africa in WW2, but I can't verify if that's where he got it
- The theme of the artwork seems to be a tropical locale. It has a peacock (?) holding a small square in its beak, a heart, a flower, and ocean waves along the bottom. I believe my grandfather was in the Ivory Coast, so perhaps this matches.
I'm intrigued by the headstamps, which aren't listed in any reference materials I could find in 4 hours on Google (at least none from WW1 or WW2 era). I'm particularly stumped by the "791X 6" mark, which for years I thought was a botched attempt by the artist at rendering "1916". This made me think it was WW1, which of course made the tropical theme all the more confusing.
I'll stop yammering and get to the photos. I apologize in advance for the lighting - it's hard to see some marks, especially with the rust and patina. It looks like the bottom got wet at some point.
Here is an image of the bottom of the casing, with labels:
Here is the same image with no labels:
Thank you so much for any information you can give me, and for your patience if this is the wrong forum.
03-31-2016 06:47 AM
Hi Derek, welcome to the forum!
I would say the date done in the artwork is 1946.
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by Adrian Stevenson
That would make one of the headstamps make more sense (I found one reference that indicated NATO-era Sweden). But even though he wasn't a terribly accomplished artist, that is one janky-looking "4". If you zoom in, the bits don't even connect.
It looks like this individual was kind of learning as he went. The "9" was pretty crudely done, but he had the knack of the curve (or someone helped him?) by the time he got to "6".
Maybe it's not a date, but some other reference?
Does anyone have any knowledge of the headstamps?
Edit - found out from mom that it was Tunisia, not Ivory Coast.