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First World War Tank Pin

Article about: In going through a very old collection of old knick knacks of past relatives which my grandmother put together, I came across a brass pin, more like a cuff link back on it not a pin, with a

  1. #1
    tlaporte
    ?

    Default First World War Tank Pin

    In going through a very old collection of old knick knacks of past relatives which my grandmother put together, I came across a brass pin, more like a cuff link back on it not a pin, with a First World War battle tank with a gun turret mounted on the side, sort of rising up over a crest of land and with the slogan "Watch me crash through" across the bottom. On the back I can just make out "...erie Birks".

    Could anybody tell me anything about it? Is it a cuff link or for some other kind of a button hole and was it worn with a uniform, possibly by a member of a tank corp? I don't know the history of it at all but several family members were in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in the First World War.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: First World War Tank Pin

    My guess is a sweetheart piece. The method of attachment & overall size would suggest possibly a tie tack or as you mentioned, worn in a button hole. If it were a pin back, then it could be worn anywhere on a blouse,shirt,jacket, cap etc...The name you see on back would be the manufacturer.

    If you're not familiar with the term "Sweetheart Piece", it was a symbolic piece of jewelry worn by family members on the homefront to display their loved one's service 'Over There'.

  3. #3

    Default Re: First World War Tank Pin

    Quote by tlaporte View Post
    On the back I can just make out "...erie Birks".

    i wonder if the top part of the manufacturer is worn or lightly stamped? The round backing looks just like the style used by "Bailey Banks & Biddle" for their Purple Heart lapels pins from the very early 1930's. Just a thought.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  4. #4

    Default Re: First World War Tank Pin

    When the tank was first used at the Somme in 1916, it came as a massive surprise to everyone on the home front. Descriptions of it filled the newspapers, and moving images the cinemas. It was seen as a new wonder weapon that could break the stalemate of trench warfare and shorten the war.

    Thus it became an overnight sensation, gripping the nation. Songs were written about it, cartoons and books also. Furthermore, a boom in patriotic badges featuring the new 'Landships' exploded, Britain went tank crazy. As we all know with the benefit of hindsight, the war dragged on remorslessly for another 2 years.

    Your badge is a little reminder of a brief time during the Great War when a genuine feeling of hope of victory through superior technology burned incandescently, only to quickly receed in the battles to come...

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  5. #5

    Default Re: First World War Tank Pin

    BIRKS --jewelry and BADGE manufacturers. Founded in Montreal in 1879 and still in business. Canadian WWI cap and collar badges signed BIRKS are quite common.

  6. #6
    tlaporte
    ?

    Default Re: First World War Tank Pin

    Thank you very much for your comments. The idea that it would be a 'sweet-heart piece' seems likely to me and that as I am in Canada, the Birks Jewellers as a manufacturer seems most likely too. My grandmother frequented Birks almost exclusively. The optimism angle would seem to me to indicate that the family members 'over there' were not necessarily in the tank corps but that it was just symbolic of their family's hope for their ultimate success and safety. Very helpful comments. Thanks again.
    Tom

  7. #7

    Default Re: First World War Tank Pin

    Tom-
    Excellent conclusion. It seems you've got the identity of this piece well in hand.
    Glad we could help!

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