Robin van Leeuwen sent me these photos of jump wings with a skull on them. These would have belonged to a pathfinder of the 101st, although no name was provided. The wings look fine with the NS Meyer hallmark at the back, and the clasp looks good too, but what stands out to me is how smooth they are and how they seem to have been lacquered with some kind of varnish. I don’t think these are a recast though, because those are generally solid at the back, whereas these are hollow.
It’s impossible to tell when the skull device was added. I have no documentation on this type. I have found information about this practice during the Vietnam war, but I think these are WWII wings.
So any further background on this type of wings are welcome.
Curt Cheeseman kindly send me this information that I would like to share here. I also updated my article about the TL-122 flashlights with it. Curt bought some items that belonged to a doctor in the 101st Airborne. Included in the trunk of items was a chestlite and an Allbright flashlight. Since the flashlight was OD, Curt made an assumption without proof that it was a military flashlight (private purchase) and left it at that. It was an early one with only Made in USA and patent pending on the bottom. Later, trying to upgrade the flashlight he came across one still in the box, but it was made a little later as it had a patent number and pending others. On the right, you see a picture of this flashlight with some Apr 1944 dated BA-30 batteries (wow!) and also a clipping from a March 1944 magazine describing the light. That is the extent of his research and he is fairly confident that it was used during WWII. I would think so too.
The box is really neat. Original boxes always are, but this one especially so because on the sides it shows the flashlight submersed in water for 24 hours, clip for hands free use, and a switch for signaling etc., all features that would useful in a military situation. The article also leads one to believe that it is currently (1944) in use by the military and will be available to civilians shortly or after the war.
Apparently US WW2 vehicles were also painted with this stuff. The area between the circle and the star on the hood would be filled with it. I had noticed this on some vehicles, but didn’t know what this different shade of green was for.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.