New markings on gas detection brassards

gas-brassard-jason gas-brassard-pierre

These two new markings on WW2 gas detection brassards were sent to me by different collectors on the same day. Jason Claire sent me the photo of his green brassard with the marking “5/44 1 SL/DE” and Pierre Hardouin of his dark brown brassard in new condition, with the marking “2/40 1 S LTD D“. The latter is similar to another marking in the list in my article on gas detection brassards.

I still have no explanation for the different colors, and the dark brown seems to be an early type, judging by the date (1940). So if anyone knows more about this, please comment or Send me an e-mail.

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Sante Fe B&B near Bastogne for battlefield trips

B&B Santa Fe at Lutrebois, Bastogne

B&B Santa Fe at Lutrebois, Bastogne

I was a little late planning a trip to Bastogne to visit the museums and sights there. Luckily, I stumbled upon the “Santa Fe” B&B of Marc Reyter at Lutrebois, a village just South of Bastogne. Marc is a young history teacher and also a WW2 militaria collector. He focuses on the 35th “Santa Fe” Infantry Division that liberated this village and drove away the German 5th FJ Regt.

It was a very pleasant stay. The room was really tidy and comfortable and Marc was a good host. I find this a lot more fun than staying at a hotel. You get to chat with local people and learn a whole lot more.

Marc will also provide you with a discount coupon for the 101st Airborne Museum at Bastogne and a voucher for a free apéritif at the Wagon Léo restaurant at Place Mc Auliffe. This restaurant is one of the traditional highlights of Bastogne and I really recommend it.


Airborne 44 album 6 autographed

airborne-6Last Friday, Philippe Jarbinet came all the way from Verviers to Oudenaarde to promote the release of the 6th album of Airborne 44 by signing a limited number of albums. Johan from Atlantis was so kind to ask Philippe to sign the book for me and make a beautiful drawing of a 101st Airborne paratrooper. Thank you Philippe & Johan!

Album 6 is the second album of the third cycle. Each cycle has its own storyline. The scenarios are well written and the drawings and colouring are amazing. These books are really a culmination of my two hobbies coming together.

Below you can see the drawing Philippe made:



When did the Army change to clutch back jump wings?

Field Guide to US Paratrooper BadgesThis question has ended my article about jump wings for a long time. Recently I was contacted by Joe Weingarten who was able to shed some light on this.

The US Army changed to clutch back in late 1944 for all wings, badges etc. However many manufacturers continued to make pin back until the start of the Vietnam era. The pin back badges were sold in Base and Post Exchanges as these are considered private sales and not government contract.

The Army has never stopped issuing the WWII design which is still in use today. But by 1950 they were issuing only clutch backs. During the Vietman era they moved to the plated badges and by 1974 silver filled were no longer issued.

Joe is the author of the book “Field Guide to US Paratrooper Badges“, which you can buy at Amazon. Joe also has a web site selling very nice reproduction sterling jump wings. His BB&B reproduction has already been discussed on this site, but he has them with almost all the different hallmarks you can think of.


German escape compass?

These photos of a small German compass were sent to me by Nikolaas Ottevaere. The compass is 25mm wide and 8mm tall. That’s a bit large to have been an escape compass, but I recently stumbled upon a very similar German compass at a local historical exhibit. It was attached to a WW1 German whistle. So maybe Niklaas’ compass is also of WW1 origin. Both have indicators N-0-S-W, which is German.

If you click on the picture of the whistle, you will see a photo of the explanation at the museum (in Dutch). It is the Provincial Erfgoedcentrum at Ename, Belgium that has a temporary exhibit of artefacts from WW1 and WW2 on loan from people from the area.

Unidentified German compass
WW1 German whistle with compass


In English the bottom part of the caption reads “The best story is told by a small whistle with a compass. Soldiers in WW1 used it for emergency signals and for orientation. A German soldier billeted at a farm gave it to the farmer’s son as a goodbye present. He held on to it for the rest of his life and then passed it on to his own son who still looks after it today.


10 year anniversary militaria sale

DSC_7090For the occasion of the holidays and the 10 year anniversary of my web site, I have listed many new US WW2 collectibles for sale.

This also includes rare paratrooper items:
PPN-2 Eureka beacon set, BUPS beacon, M-227 signal lamp, Airborne medic stretcher, A-4 and A-5 aerial delivery containers, a complete pigeon parachuting set, Griswold bag and much more.

View items for sale here

If you see something you like, send me an e-mail so we can work out the details.


Update on CL marked invasion armflag

In his search to find the meaning of the CL letters on the invasion armband, Brian Soper wrote to a magazine published in the States called World War II. They have a section where readers send in information concerning artifacts they need help in identifying the who -what- where about them. The curators at the National World War 2 museum help in solving the readers artifact mysteries if they can. He sent them the armband and what they came up with-sounds plausible enough:

The letters may stand for ‘Chalk Leader’. A chalk being a stick of paratroopers in a plane, which refers to their number chalked onto the hull of their assigned C-47. And the Chalk Leader being the NCO or officer responsible for loading them and their cargo on board. Click on the details of the photos to read more.

Hopefully someone who reads the magazine here will know for sure or remember the armband.


Canadian parachutist tribute

claude-villeneuve-canadian-paraCanadian army major Claude Villeneuve sent me some pictures of himself during the D-Day celebration at Siffleur Falls in the Canadian Rockies on 6 June 2015. The gentleman on his right jumped 20 minutes past Midnight on 6 June 1944 with the Pathfinders of 21 Independent Parachute Company as part of C Company, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion tasked to protect 3 Parachute Brigade DZ “V”

The four peaks of the Siffleur Mountain are named after the four battle honors of the Battalion: NORMANDY, ARDENNES, RHINE and ELBE. Below are the colors offered by the Parachute Regiment Association on 6 June 1974 to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion since the battalion never received any regimental colors because of its short existence 1943-1945.

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was the only Canadian unit that fought during the Battle of the Bulge.

Claude himself served in Afghanistan.
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