Margraten American Cemetery with photos of GIs

Last week, around the celebration of the Dutch liberation day, the US military cemetery at Margraten was adorned with photos of GIs, putting a face to the names on the crosses.

This was an occasion for me to visit and search for the grave that my grandmother had adopted as a young woman. (See my earlier article Jack Beatty’s Purple Heart). I didn’t find it though. Might this be because he was repatriated? I did find the grave of PFC John Beaty (with one T). John was also with the 69th division. The photograph doesn’t look like our Jack, but I’m still confused and curious now to find out more.

The kind volunteers at the cemetery gave me a booklet with plenty of information about their association, so I will get in touch with them to find out more. This is the website of the event called “The Faces of Margraten”.

To be continued…


My daily WW2 collectible item on Facebook

It’s been more quite on my website, but I have been doing regular, almost daily posts on Instagram and Facebook of US WW2 collectible items.

I thought it would be a fun and easy way of sharing interesting items.

So far, I’ve focused on personal items, each with a short description.

So go on and follow me on Instagram or Facebook for your daily bite of militaria.


Airborne 7 new album

I bought this album a month ago, but only got around to reading it now over Easter. It is the first album of a new cycle, so we’ll have to wait until the next album to find out how it ends. But the drawings and coloring are amazing, as always.

The style of the opening pages reminds me a bit of Hermann. Maybe the water coloring.


Gas detection brassard with unusual marking

Paul Smith sent me photos of a gas detection brassard he has had for almost 20 years and that has an unusual marking: 8/42 1 SL. It seems the usual “& R” is missing at the end of the code.
It looks genuine though, so I have added it to the list in the article.

Meanwhile I still have no idea what these letters stand for. All insights are welcome.

Read the full article on gas detection brassards


France asks Unesco to list Normandy landing beaches as World Heritage site

Jeep at Utah Beach

France has put in a request for the D-Day landing beaches at Normandy to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. This was announced by the ministry of Culture this week. The candidacy will be evaluated by Unesco in July 2019.

The area would cover the entire seaboard of about 80 kilometers from Ravenoville at the West to Ouistreham at the East.

As readers of this website will agree, this sacred ground and beautiful landscape fully deserves to be listed as world heritages site. When this happens, we can expect to see an extra impulse of tourism for Normandy. This will come at a welcome moment. Tourism will continue or grow up until the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and probably again at its centennial, but besides that attention is likely to wane, as we are already seeing in the West of Belgium with the commemorations of WWI nearing their conclusion this year. This recognition by Unesco, along with several new and improved museums in the area will make it ready for the future.

According to the region, every year nearly 2 million tourists visit the landing beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno Beach.

In the coming weeks, I will be doing some posts of my Normandy trip last fall, which I haven’t had the time to do yet.


Paratrooper sweetheart pillow covers

Camp Toccoa pillow cover

Pillow shams, or ‘sweetheart pillow covers’, were souvenirs from Army camps sent to parents, wives or sweethearts. This was an old tradition that continued during and after WW2. There are many designs, but in this new article I focus on those related to paratroops and gliders.

Usually, these items were not dated, so to be able to confirm them as WW2 and not post-war, we need to look at the names of camps and units that are used. A clue can be the existence of the camps after the war. For example, Camp Mackall was created out of nothing during the war and decommissioned before the end of the war. Camp Toccoa was open before the war, but paratroops were of course only trained there during the war, and it closed again at the end of the war.

Read the complete article


Canadian made luminous disk from Heavy Water War

Photo from The Heavy Water War

Remember the Canadian made pin-on type disk I wrote about? That was back in 2015.
Now I get a mail from Aaron who is also a collector of these disks and he bought this one. He says its very rare (it is) and the RLI pin-on badges were only used by the Norwegian paratroopers who went in to destroy the heavy water facility the Germans held so dear. Remember the TV series “The Heavy Water War“? Here you find more information about the actual history of the operation.

These badges were an order of magnitude brighter the other badges we have. This was because they ditched in the snow on skies and had to ski quite a distance, you could make out the glow from approximately 100 meters away easily! They are so hot that the Geiger counter maxes out before even getting close to it. I’m not sure you’d want to have this at home in your collection.

Read the full article about luminous disks


List of US jump wing and glider badge makers

I came across this list on a site called World War II Paratroopers where the author lists all known makers of US jump wings and glider qualification badges. The list includes a lot of manufacturers of which I do not yet have any photos in my article, so I would be grateful for any missing photos that people could send me!

I reworked this list into this table:

Read the full article on jump wings


British made TL-122 flashlight inspection set

New variations of the TL-122 keep turning up, but this one is extra special. This one was also sent to me by Tony Fitzgibbon. It’s an English Shimwell Alexander torch with small inspection mirrors and fiber optic cable. It’s ex Ministry of Defence. Not sure what it was used for, but it looks very professional in its carrying case! The fiber optic cable is plugged into the adaptor mounted into the lense ring.

Keep sending me any new variations you might come across!

Check out the full article on TL-122 flashlights.


1945 Superior Magneto wrist compass in box

Wrist compass in box © Chris Öhm-Kühnle

Chris, a fellow collector from Germany sent me these photos a Superior Magneto wrist compass, new in the original box. The box is marked Compass Instrument and Optical Co. N.Y. and it comes with the sales receipt of a sporting goods store. So it looks like it was sold post-war for boating or other outdoor activities. But the compass itself is dated 4-45. A very rare and interesting find!

See updated wrist compasses article