WW1 / WW2 / 20th Century

355 items found
'Australian' WW2 Despatch or Para Helmet In Excellent Condition

'Australian' WW2 Despatch or Para Helmet In Excellent Condition

A British deluxe quality pattern but bears an Australian kangaroo symbol, maybe of an Australian that volunteered and fought in the British Armed forces.

A simply superb quality helmet with a fibre skull, quilted leather interior and exterior head and neck support with air deflectors over the ear section, and a single buckled strap

Over 557,000 Australian men and women volunteered to fight overseas in WW2

Picture in the gallery of the Corps of Military Police motorcyclists demonstrate how a metal rod fitted to a motorcycle can prevent the rider from being killed by a wire stretched across the road, 25 October 1944  read more

Code: 25252

695.00 GBP

A Fabulous And Incredibly Rare Museum Piece. An Original WW2 SOE {Special Operations Executive} Secret Espionage Agent's Suitcase Radio Transmitter & Reciever of an Agent of the Secret Army 1942/3 Issue

A Fabulous And Incredibly Rare Museum Piece. An Original WW2 SOE {Special Operations Executive} Secret Espionage Agent's Suitcase Radio Transmitter & Reciever of an Agent of the Secret Army 1942/3 Issue

SOE Special forces
Role; Espionage Irregular warfare (especially sabotage and raiding operations) Special reconnaissance
Nickname "The Baker Street Irregulars" "Churchill's Secret Army" "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"

A phenomenally rare, complete mid war WW2 SOE spy radio set, transceiver, with Morse key, earphone headset and various and numerous components, including five crystal units and four frequency ranges, L1B, L2A, L3A and L4A. in it's original case with the early central lock and two catches. {later models changed to just two catches}. Handle detached. Parts with some damage, overall, completely untouched condition since the 1940's. An iconic and most rarest of so-called ‘barn finds’. It may indeed be one of the rarest in the world, and as such an incredible and unique piece of original spy-craft history.
Developer of the transceiver was Captain John Brown (SOE).

The type used by SOE and OSS agent Virginia Hall. Dubbed by the Gestapo as the Limping Lady, as she had a wooden leg! { that she called Cuthbert}.
She had all the makings of a diplomat. Impeccably educated, fluent in multiple languages, and worldly from her years spent abroad from her native Baltimore, Virginia’s dream of a life in the foreign service was shattered when a hunting accident led to the amputation of her left leg. Attitudes toward disabilities were different in the 1930s, and even fitted with a prosthetic leg (which she named “Cuthbert”) Virginia was deemed unfit for the life of a diplomat.

The outbreak of WWII changed that attitude. Virginia, by then living in France, was well-placed to act as a forward agent for the Allies. Volunteering first for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), Virginia worked agents, ran safehouses, and reported intelligence from Vichy France. Later, she volunteered with the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner to the CIA. Her efforts earned her a place on the Gestapo’s “Most Wanted” list as “The Limping Lady”. She and Cuthbert continued to work against the Nazis right up through the Normandy invasion and liberation and earned a Distinguished Service Cross for her efforts – a rare honour for a civilian, and rarer still for a woman.

This is the first we have ever seen, in 80 years since WW2, to be complete, original, and untouched, outside of the Imperial War Museum or the very few dedicated spy and espionage museums. In the world of the most valuable vintage car collecting, this would be an iconic ‘barn find’ of the very rarest kind. In that most exclusive of worlds ‘barn finds’ are now achieving prices equal to fully restored and now mint equivalent motor cars. Millions of pounds can now change hands for an abandoned rarely seen car newly discovered as a total wreck in, say, a barn, garage or field, that has lain untouched, rotting and unloved for many decades.

After France signed an armistice with Germany in June 1940, Great Britain feared the shadow of Nazism would continue to fall over Europe. Dedicated to keeping the French people fighting, Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledged the United Kingdom’s support to the resistance movement. Charged with “set(ting) Europe ablaze,” the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, was born.

Used by the most dedicated and bravest of people, men and women, who have ever served their country. Agents, such as Violette Szabo and Noor Inayat Khan, code name Madeleine, who only too well knew their chances of surviving without capture, torture and execution were slim at best. For them, and many, many others, survival was not to be.

Headquartered at 64 Baker Street in London, the SOE’s official purpose was to put British special agents on the ground to “coordinate, inspire, control and assist the nationals of the oppressed countries.” Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton borrowed irregular warfare tactics used by the Irish Republican Army two decades before. The “Baker Street Irregulars,” as they came to be known, were trained in sabotage, small arms, radio and telegraph communication and unarmed combat. SOE agents were also required to be fluent in the language of the nation in which they would be inserted so they could fit into the society seamlessly. If their presence aroused undue suspicion, their missions could well be over before they even began.

Portable communication devices were of utmost importance as radio and telegraph communication ensured the French resistance (and SOE agents) were not cut off from the outside world. Radio operators had to stay mobile, often carrying their radio equipment on their backs as they moved from safe house to safe house. Their survival depended on their ability to transmit messages rapidly and move quickly.
Along with irregular tactics and unusual materiel, the British government knew an irregular war required irregular warriors. Women proved to be invaluable as couriers, spies, saboteurs and radio operators in the field. Though female agents received the same training as the men, some balked at the idea of sending women behind enemy lines. They grudgingly agreed female spies would have distinct advantages over the men on the ground. Women could travel freely because they were not expected to work during the day. Gender stereotypes also helped keep the women above suspicion. After all, who could possibly imagine a woman could be a viable combatant in war?
Women were more than viable, however: they were critical to SOE mission success. Though they would later be honored for their “conspicuous courage,” the female spies of the SOE were successful because they learned to be inconspicuous. They took on secret identities, went on secret missions and were trusted with their nation’s greatest secrets. Thirty-nine of the 470 SOE agents in France were women, with an additional sixteen deployed to other areas.
The Gestapo gave Nancy Grace August Wake the nickname “the white mouse” because of her uncanny ability to evade capture. When she learned one of the resistance groups no longer had a radio for communication, she rode almost 300 kilometers on a bicycle to make radio contact with the SOE headquarters and arrange for an equipment drop. Despite many close calls, Wake survived the war. First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) member Odette Hallowes also cheated death. Embedded with the resistance in Cannes, Hallowes was captured and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She survived two years in prison, often in solitary confinement, before the camp was liberated by the Allied forces.
Other women were not so fortunate. Noor Inayat Khan, code name Madeleine, was a radio operator in France. After her entire team was ambushed and arrested, she was betrayed to the Gestapo by a French national hoping for a large reward. Khan did not break during interrogation and attempted escape from her captors several times. Sent to Dachau in September 1944, she was executed upon arrival. Violette Szabo, an agent inserted into Limoges, faced a similar fate at Ravensbrück. She was 23 years old.
By Kate Murphy Schaefer {abridged}. Kate Murphy Schaefer holds a MA in History with a Military History concentration for Southern New Hampshire University. She is also the author of a woman’s history blog, www.fragilelikeabomb.com.

Type 3 Mk. II B2
Clandestine suitcase transceiver · 1942
Type 3 Mark II, commonly referred to as B2, is a British WWII portable clandestine transceiver, also known as a spy radio set, developed in 1942 by (then) Captain John Brown at SOE Station IX, and manufactured by the Radio Communication Department of the SOE at Stonebridge Park. The set was issued to agents, resistance groups and special forces, operating on occupied territory. The official designator is Type 3 Mk. II but the radio is also known as Type B Mk. II, B.II and B2.

The B2 came in two versions. The initial version came in an unobtrusive leather suitcase that allowed an agent to travel inconspicuously. This is the most well-known variant. Later in the war it was dropped by parachute in two water-tight containers, that were more suitable for use by resistance groups operating in the field.

The images show the Type 3 Mk.II in its original brown simulated leather suitcase, which can easily be recognized as it has three locks at the front: two simple locks at the sides, and one that can be locked with a key at the centre.
Operating the Type 3 Mark II (B2)

The radio set consists of three units: a receiver (RX), a transmitter (TX) and a Power Supply Unit (PSU), plus a box with spares and accessories. When mounted in the suitcase, the transmitter is located at the center top, with the receiver mounted below it. The PSU is at the right in such a position that the two other units can be connected to it. The spares box is generally positioned at the left, with the Morse key mounted on its lid. When operating the B2, the lid of the spares box should be placed on the table, so that the Morse key can be operated.

The Type 3 Mk.II (B2) was relatively small for its day and produced an HF output power of 20 Watts. Nevertheless, it was too big to carry around unobtrusively especially when travelling by public transport. For this reason, later radios, such as the Model A Mk. III (A3) were made much smaller, albeit with a limited frequency range (3.2-9.55 MHz) and reduced power output (5 Watt).
The most well-known appearance of the B2 is the suitcase version, but hardly any surviving B2 is found in its original red leather suitcase. In fact, the B2 was delivered in a variety of different suitcases, ranging from sturdy leather cases to simple cardboard and even wooden variants.

The original leather case is easily recognised, as it has three locks rather than the usual two. In many cases, the original case was swapped for a more common two-lock version, as it was easily recognised by the enemy. Later in the war, cheaper cardboard suitcases were used instead.

Louis Meulstee's excellent book Wireless for the Warrior, volume 4 even shows an example of a wooden carpenter's toolbox in which a B2 is fitted. The dimensions of the suitcase are pretty standard for the era. This B2 in it's original issue simulated leather cardboard covered wood frame suitcase with 3 locks. The cases were changed later in the war for twin catched cases, as three, one lock and two catches, became too identifiable by the Gestapo.

A photograph in the gallery was taken during WWII, probably in 1942 or 1943, and shows this B2 radio's production line at the Bontex Knitting Mills, which became SOE Station VIIa (7a) . This facility is also known as Stonebridge Park,

While Virgina Hall {see her photo in the gallery} was adept in all aspects of tradecraft, one of the most powerful tools at her disposal was the suitcase radio, a catch-all term used to describe any transceiver small enough to be transported into the field and operated covertly. A suitcase was often used to house the radio as it would be less likely to arouse suspicion if the spy’s lair was discovered. The B2 suitcase radio was also a great form factor for a portable transceiver – just the right size for the miniaturized radios of the day, good operational ergonomics, and perfect for quick setup and teardown. You can even imagine a spy minimally obfuscating the suitcase’s real purpose with a thin layer of folded clothing packed over the radio.

Great care was given to ensure that the field agent would have every chance of using the radio successfully and that it would operate as long as possible under adverse conditions. With a power budget often limited to five watts or so, these radios were strictly QRP affairs. Almost every suitcase rig operated on the high-frequency bands between 3 MHz and 30 MHz, to take advantage of ionospheric skip and other forms of propagation. An antenna optimized for these bands would likely be a calling card to the enemy, especially in an urban setting, so controls were provided to tune almost any length of wire into a decent antenna.

Footnote; it is estimated around 7,000 of this form of clandestine spy-craft equipment were made by the British. It’s historical WW2 Nazi equivalent, the German made Enigma Machine, over 100,000 of those were manufactured, almost 15 times as many. Yet, surviving examples of the Enigma Machine can now achieve between $250,000 to $800,000. Thus, it is entirely possible that these suitcase transceivers can one day approach these figures, if not even likely. In fact in almost all respects they should be on a value parity already, as the operators of the Enigmas were based in relatively comfortable German bases, ships or field commands. Safe and relatively well protected and far away from fear and terror. The operators of these transceivers, men and women, many barely out of their teenage years, were, every single minute of every single day at appalling risk of capture and the inevitable, unspeakable torture {especially the women}, at the hands of the Gestapo, and summary execution, after being transferred to a concentration camp, sometimes simply within a few weeks of the start of their clandestine service in Nazi occupied Europe.

A dear friend of the partners {Mark and David's} late mother, Camilla Hawkins, was Anita Vulliamy, daughter in law of Major-General C.H.H. Vulliamy. She was a simply a remarkable lady, who, during the war, was captured by the Gestapo, horrifyingly tortured, but managed to survive captivity. During her months in the Gestapo prison she crocheted a holy cross, made of prison cell straw bedding. After the war, her cross was exhibited alongside a similar piece, a straw doll, made by British SOE heroine Odette Churchill at a Charity event in London in 1956 and they raised £875 for the Polio Fund in one week. A huge sum in those days. Camilla mentioned that her friend, Anita, almost always wore fine leather gloves in company, as her finger nails had been torn out by her Gestapo interrogators. They grew back in part, but not well enough for Anita to feel comfortable to show her hands in public. Anita and Odette survived, and both considered themselves to be the extraordinarily lucky ones.  read more

Code: 25249

19995.00 GBP

An Original WW2 SOE Issue, Special Operations Executive, Sabotage Clam Mine From Section XV. Designed by Charles Fraser Smith, The Inspiration For James Bond's 'Q'

An Original WW2 SOE Issue, Special Operations Executive, Sabotage Clam Mine From Section XV. Designed by Charles Fraser Smith, The Inspiration For James Bond's 'Q'

With its original wooden 'dummy' time pencil as issued before use.
During the Second World War Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) developed a whole series of sabotage devices for use behind enemy lines.

The SOE was created in 1940 on the orders of Winston Churchill. The organization was so secret that not even Parliament was aware of its existence. Among its successes were the destruction of the Nazi nuclear program and the capture of Nazis.

Charles Fraser Smith was the man who organized Section XV of the SOE, and who developed the secret tools used by their agents. He is often mentioned as being the inspiration for the character Q from the James Bond novels and movies. Other creations of Section XV included the cat bomb, bat bomb, and limpet mine

The MKIII Clam is a small time-device with a magnetic base which enables it to be attached instantly to any flat iron or steel surface. It consists in the main of a Bakelite shell in the form of an oblong box with rounded corners. The base of this box has a detachable lid to a compartment intended to hold the explosive, in this case completely empty and inert, whilst at each end are powerful magnets.
It was also designed as pocket sized so if an SOE agent was in civilian dress it could be easily concealed and be withdrawn at just a second's notice and attached to, say, a German staff car, an ammunition truck or the boiler of a train

The Clam is a small time-device with a magnetic base which enables it to be attached instantly to any flat iron or steel surface.

It consists in the main of a bakelite or metal shell in the form of an oblong box with rounded corners.
The base of this box has a detachable lid, whilst at each end is a powerful magnet.

In the top of the box is a recess or tube to take a standard "L" Delay time pen.
The units are so designed that they can be paired, the magnet faces being put together.

Each Clam was supplied and equipped with a lid held in position by 4 countersunk screws and with a wooden dummy to take the place of an "L" Delay time pencil with a detonator.
The standard "L" Delays used are issued in cartons of 10, and in timings of: 1-hour, 6-hours, 12-hours, 24-hours, 3-days, 7-days, 14-days and 28-days.

Delay ("No. 9 delay switch")
Another, subsequent type was developed by Millis Jefferis of MD1 known as the "Lead Delay switch" or officially "Switch, No. 9, L Delay". Instead of relying on the chemical action of a corrosive liquid on metal (which was subject to temperature variation), it used a piece of metal under stress – the metal in question being a lead alloy that was extremely affected by mechanical creep. A piece of this lead was notched to a set diameter, the diameter setting the time delay. When the starting pin was removed, this wire was placed under tension by the spring-loaded striker, and began to gradually stretch. After a certain time, it would snap at the notch and allow the striker to hit the percussion cap.

The delay could be set from a matter of minutes to hours. Manufacture was entirely by MD1. Generally speaking L-delays were slightly less reliable and had shorter delays, but were more reliable underwater (if a No. 10 fuze developed a leak, water would dilute the corrosive liquid and increase the delay or stop the fuze from working).

One type, the British Number Ten Delay Switch (official name, "Switch, No. 10, Delay" and often referred to as a "timing pencil"), was made of a brass (or in later versions aluminium) tube, with a copper section at one end which contained a glass vial of cupric chloride (the liquid was widely and erroneously reported to be sulfuric acid, while beneath the vial was a spring-loaded striker under tension and held in place by a thin metal wire. The timer was started by crushing the copper section of the tube to break the vial of cupric chloride, which then began to slowly erode the wire holding back the striker. When the wire eventually parted, the striker was propelled down the hollow centre of the detonator, hitting the percussion cap at the other end of the detonator.

Number ten delay switches had delays ranging from 10 minutes to 24 hours and were accurate to within plus or minus two or three minutes in an hour's delay, and plus or minus an hour in a 12-hour delay, though environmental conditions could affect this. The switches were typically issued in packs of five, all the switches in a pack having the same delay.

The briefcase bomb used in the July 20 plot to assasinate Hitler, used a captured British pencil detonator inserted into a block of British plastic explosives weighing approximately two pounds. The bomb was set to 30 minutes and detonated as planned, but Hitler survived with minor injuries. Stauffenberg could not prepare the second block, though. He got rid of it while driving through the forest to the airfield. His driver, Leutnant Erich Kretz, reported seeing Werner von Haeften throw something into the woods in his mirror.

Empty, inert, and safe.  read more

Code: 25250

750.00 GBP

Original, WW2, Special Operations Executive, Secret Agent’s Spy Suitcase Radio Hand Generator. Of an Agent of Churchill's Secret Army, Behind Enemy Lines During Clandestine Warfare, Circa 1942/3 Issue, of the So-Called

Original, WW2, Special Operations Executive, Secret Agent’s Spy Suitcase Radio Hand Generator. Of an Agent of Churchill's Secret Army, Behind Enemy Lines During Clandestine Warfare, Circa 1942/3 Issue, of the So-Called "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

We also have the incredibly rare complete and original SOE suitcase radio receiver transmitter type 2B, but sold separately.
A method to generate power for the secret SOE/OSS agent’s radio transmitter/receiver, when the battery has either lost power, or to save the power of the battery. Still screwed to its bespoke wood mounting block. Overall it is worn as one would expect, and it is just amazing to wonder the missions this fabulous historical rare piece of British WW2 spy equipment has been used, and remarkable that it survived the war and the subsequent 76 years. Ideal for a collector of highly interesting and rare SOE and 0SS spy equipment, or indeed the perfect accompaniment for a collector who has an SOE radio as they really ever survive together. A picture in the gallery is of Virginia Hall of SOE & OSS operating her suitcase radio transmitter, with Edmond Lebrat pedalling a generator, in July 1944 (by Jeff Bass). Using the bycycle chain of an adapted bicycle with pedals instead of using the hand crank handle that ours is fitted with. England. June 1940. Things looked bleak for the Allies after the fall of France and the retreat from Dunkirk, Britain was on the defensive and most people believed that the invasion of England would soon begin. In an effort to take some of the fight to the enemy Winston Churchill authorised Hugh Dalton, the Minister of Economic Warfare, to set up a clandestine organization to help form, supply and run resistance movements in occupied countries. This new Special Operations Executive (SEO) was to be responsible for recruiting and training agents who would then be sent behind enemy lines. (The work of the SOE). One of the most difficult roles which members of the SOE undertook was that of wireless operator.

An SOE wireless operator had to know the area they worked in intimately. It was vital that they transmit from a different place, and only very briefly, each time they made contact with base as it was estimated that, in an urban environment, the Germans were able to track down a transmitter in around half an hour. Agents also had to create schedules for their transmissions which did not involve making contact on the same day of the week or at the same time of day, as any sort of pattern which could be identified by the Germans would be disasterous. The ideal for an agent was to set up, transmit, dismantle and get away within a maximum of 20 minutes to avoid capture and torture. To be found transmitting would almost certainly mean death to the operator, but it could also be devastating to the resistance group they worked with. If the enemy captured a transceiver and code books they would try to use them to trap the rest of the grouup. To try to prevent such deceptions each wireless operator was instructed to spell certain words incorrectly – if a transmission was made with the word spelt correctly the handler back in England would know that the operator had been compromised and, hopefully, have time to warn field agents in time for them to make good their escape.

Noor Inayat Khan, a member of the SOE who was executed by the Germans
The majority of radio operators sent behind enemy lines by the SOE were women as it as believed that they would be able to move around with their equipment without drawing as much attention to themselves as a man would. After all, it was quite common for women to be out shopping with a bag during the day whilst a man in a similar situation would be much more conspicuous. The women who signed up to do this work were under no illusions as to the importance, and the danger, of what they were committing to – the life expectancy of as SOE wireless operator working in Occupied France was just six weeks. A picture in the gallery is of another complete with its battery clips but unused SOE hand generator probably unissued for sale a few years ago for £2,400. Our example is less than half that figure, plus has the intriguing feature of its being in obvious used condition, a great bonus our our minds,. Ours also still has its bespoke wooden mounting bracket attached, made to screw or mount the generator to a fixed support as as when needed. It had hand written marking of WD war department probably applied as its post war stores mark.  read more

Code: 23497

995.00 GBP

A Rare National Socialist Flyers Corps Flyers Helmet, 1930's In Brown Cotton With Bullion NSFK Badge

A Rare National Socialist Flyers Corps Flyers Helmet, 1930's In Brown Cotton With Bullion NSFK Badge

In superb condition overall. The National Socialist Flyers Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps; NSFK) was a paramilitary aviation organization of the Nazi Party.
NSFK was founded 15 April 1937 as a successor to the German Air Sports Association; the latter had been active during the years when a German air force was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. The NSFK organization was based closely on the para-military organization of the Sturmabteilung (SA). A similar group was the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK). During the early years of its existence, the NSFK conducted military aviation training in gliders and private airplanes.

The National Socialist Flyers Corps was originally founded in January 1932, but it was quickly absorbed into the pro-Nazi Deutscher Luftsportverband(DLV – ‘German Air Sports Association’) on 25 March 1933. The DLV’s widespread amalgamation of Germany’s air sports associations and glider clubs reflected the overarching Gleichschaltung(‘co-ordination’) of Germany’s institutions and systems by the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei(NSDAP – ‘Nazi Party’). On 17 April 1937, however, Adolf Hitler resurrected the National Socialist Flyers Corps from the ashes of the DLV. The NSFK’s handbook would later claim that ‘everything had to be developed out of the slightest beginnings, almost out of nothing’. 6The DLV’s main task, as the handbook continues, had been ‘clear and distinct, but also huge: “cooperation in the reconstruction of German aviation”.’

Ultimately, the National Socialist Flyers Corps was able to wield a significant level of both military and political control over its sizeable membership: influencing everything from their anti-Semitic views and strengthening their support for the Führer, to fostering a military brotherhood ready for the air war. Along with its blatant appealing to the ‘airmindedness’ of its members, the NSFK combined its National Socialist propaganda with a diverse and dedicated pre-military training scheme. The effectiveness with which such training was delivered could be inconsistent and, in certain cases, was insufficient. Nevertheless, the NSFK’s instructors still provided a well-rounded foundation for its members that enabled many of them to enjoy successful careers in the Luftwaffe.

Politically, the NSFK was unequivocally steeped in National Socialist dogma: its men were intensely bombarded with Nazi slogans in every medium available, from songs and posters to magazines and lectures. The extent to which this politicisation was successful is somewhat difficult to measure, but given its strong influx of young, impressionable Flieger-HJ boys, it can be assumed that many NSFK members were susceptible to the continuation of their political indoctrination. What is less open to debate, however, is that the National Socialist Flyers Corps served as a crucial supplier of keen and ambitious young men to the Luftwaffe – whether their enthusiasm was for politics, flying, or a mixture of the two. The NSFK’s contribution to the main air force in this respect, then, should certainly not be overlooked

Photo from; EIN JAHR NS-FLIEGERKORPS 1937-1938
FLYING CORPS 1937 - 1938)

For ref; Victoria Taylor, an aviation historian based at the University of Hull and Sheffield Hallam University  read more

Code: 25243

750.00 GBP

Very Fine Regimental Officer's Sword WW1 of the 5th Prussian Jäger Battalion (1st Silesian). Imperial Prussian Eagle Guard With Crest of Kaiser Willhelm IInd. Commanded By Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia the Heir of Kaiser Wilhelm IInd. Sword No 1

Very Fine Regimental Officer's Sword WW1 of the 5th Prussian Jäger Battalion (1st Silesian). Imperial Prussian Eagle Guard With Crest of Kaiser Willhelm IInd. Commanded By Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia the Heir of Kaiser Wilhelm IInd. Sword No 1

Stamped on the guard for the first officer of the 5th Jäger Battalion, the 1st Company, Sword Number 1. Stamped on the hilt, 5.J.1.1, in it it’s matching numbered scabbard. Used in the 1914 Schlieffen Plan, the Battle of the Ardennes, and the Battle of Verdun and Marne. Overall the sword is in excellent condition, with its original multi wire bound sharkskin grip fully original and intact. Bronze guard, with the personal monogram of the Kaiser upon the grip, and guard depicting the Imperial Prussian Eagle, pieced and in relief. Double fullered blade and it’s original all steel combat scabbard. The blade bears the Kaiser Wilhelmi W Crown proof inspection mark
The 5th Prussian Jäger Battalion (1st Silesian)
AKA The Jäger-Batallion von Neumann (1.Schlesisches ) Nr.5 was formed in 1808 as the 1. Schützen-Abteilung (Schlesische). They fought Napoleon at the Battles of Leipzig and Waterloo, Revolutionaries in Baden in 1849, Austria- Hungary at Königgrätz in 1866 and France again at Wörth and Sedan in 1870. Since 1901 Archduke Ferdinand Carl of Austria-Hungary was honorary Colonel in Chief of the battalion.

In 1914 they were garrisoned at Hirschberg (modern Jelenia Góra, Poland) and formed part of the V Army Corps. During the First World War they served on the Western Front, notably at the Battles of the Marne and Verdun.

On mobilisation, V Corps was assigned to the 5th Army forming part of centre of the forces for the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914 on the Western Front.

In August 1914 the command of 5th Army was assigned to Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, heir to the Hohenzollern throne, with General Schmidt von Knobelsdorf serving as his chief of staff, and would remain thus until late 1916. The opening hostilities on the Western Front saw the Crown Prince's 5th Army, along with the neighboring 4th Army (commanded by Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg), acting at the center of the Schlieffen plan attack into Belgium and France. On 21 August 1914, in what became known as the Battle of the Ardennes, the 4th and 5th Armies advanced into the Ardennes to counter a thrust by the French 3rd and 4th Armies. Over the next two days 5th Army played a major part in halting the opposing French forces. By 23 August, after taking heavy losses and being outmaneuvered strategically, the two French armies were driven into retreat. Following the German 5th Army's victory in the Battle of the Ardennes it moved to Verdun, where it would remain until 1918. In February 1916 the Crown Prince's 5th Army would launch Operation Gericht, the German offensive that began the Battle of Verdun, one of the bloodiest and longest battles in history. Late in 1916, after suffering terrible losses in its efforts at Verdun, General Max von Gallwitz assumed control of 5th Army. Before the close of the war 5th Army fought in several noteworthy actions, including the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, in September 1918, when it was defeated by the American Expeditionary Force under John J. Pershing. The Fifth Army continued to oppose the AEF's Meuse-Argonne Offensive until the Armistice of 11 November 1918. At the end of the war it was serving as part of Heeresgruppe Gallwitz

It was still in existence at the end of the war in Armee-Abteilung C, Heeresgruppe Gallwitz on the Western Front.

Wilhelm, German Crown Prince, Crown Prince of Prussia (Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst; 6 May 1882 – 20 July 1951) was the eldest child of the last Kaiser, Wilhelm II, German Emperor, and his consort Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, and thus a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, and distant cousin to many British royals, such as Queen Elizabeth II. As Emperor Wilhelm's heir, he was the last Crown Prince of the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, until the abolition of the monarchy.

Wilhelm became crown prince at the age of six in 1888, when his grandfather Frederick III died and his father became emperor. He was crown prince for 30 years until the fall of the empire on 9 November 1918. During World War I, he commanded the 5th Army from 1914 to 1916 and was commander of the Army Group German Crown Prince for the remainder of the war. After his return to Germany in 1923, he fought the Weimar Republic and campaigned for the reintroduction of the monarchy in Germany. After his plans to become president had been blocked by his father, Wilhelm supported Adolf Hitler's rise to power, but when Wilhelm realised that Hitler had no intention of restoring the monarchy, their relationship cooled. Wilhelm became head of the House of Hohenzollern on 4 June 1941 following the death of his father and held the position until his own death on 20 July 1951.

Small denting to the scabbard.  read more

Code: 25235

995.00 GBP

An Early 'Special Boat Service' Royal Navy Special Forces Frogman's Bracelet Compass With Original Strap. Excellent Condition Leather, Fully Working Compass. Can Be Operational With a Lanyard Mount

An Early 'Special Boat Service' Royal Navy Special Forces Frogman's Bracelet Compass With Original Strap. Excellent Condition Leather, Fully Working Compass. Can Be Operational With a Lanyard Mount

Brass pressure sealed case, with with screw fitted filling or release aperture, original long leather strap in excellent condition with original buckle. In good working order.

The pattern 261. No. 1241B. Divers Compass. Stamped upon the face seal ring.

The Special Boat Service (SBS) is the special forces unit of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy. The SBS can trace its origins back to the Second World War when the Army Special Boat Section was formed in 1940. After the Second World War, the Royal Navy formed special forces with several name changes—Special Boat Company was adopted in 1951 and re-designated as the Special Boat Squadron in 1974—until on 28 July 1987 when the unit was renamed as the Special Boat Service after assuming responsibility for maritime counter-terrorism. Most of the operations conducted by the SBS are highly classified, and are rarely commented on by the British government or the Ministry of Defence, owing to their sensitive nature.

The Special Boat Service is the maritime special forces unit of the United Kingdom Special Forces and is described as the sister unit of the British Army 22 Special Air Service Regiment (22 SAS), with both under the operational control of the Director Special Forces. In October 2001, full command of the SBS was transferred from the Commandant General Royal Marines to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet.6 On 18 November 2003, the SBS were given their own cap badge with the motto "By Strength and Guile". SBS operators are mostly recruited from the Royal Marines Commandos.

Origin: Second World War
Roger Courtney became a commando in mid-1940 and was sent to the Combined Training Centre at Achnacarry in Scotland. He was unsuccessful in his initial attempts to convince Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes and later Admiral Theodore Hallett, commander of the Combined Training Centre, that his idea of a folding kayak brigade would be effective. He decided to infiltrate HMS Glengyle, an infantry landing ship anchored in the River Clyde. Courtney paddled to the ship, climbed aboard undetected, wrote his initials on the door to the captain's cabin, and stole a deck gun cover. He presented the soaking cover to a group of high-ranking Royal Navy officers meeting at a nearby Inveraray hotel. He was promoted to captain and given command of twelve men as the first Special Boat Service/Special Boat Section.

The unit, on the shores of Sannox, Isle of Arran, was initially named the Folboat Troop, after the type of folding canoe employed in raiding operations and then renamed No. 1 Special Boat Section in early 1941. One training exercise required SBS members to navigate folboats 140 miles (230 km) over 3 days and 3 nights from Ardrossan to Clachan, via the Isle of Kerrera, where they reconnoitred and sketched RAF Oban. Attached to Layforce, it moved to the Middle East. The unit worked with the 1st Submarine Flotilla based at Alexandria and did beach reconnaissance of Rhodes, evacuated troops left behind on Crete, and carried out a number of small-scale raids and other operations. In December 1941 Courtney returned to the United Kingdom where he formed No2 SBS, and No1 SBS became attached to the Special Air Service (SAS) as the Folboat Section. In June 1942 they took part in the Crete airfield raids. In September 1942 eight men of the SBS carried out Operation Anglo, a raid on two airfields on the island of Rhodes; all but two of the men were captured after carrying out their mission. Destroying three aircraft, a fuel dump and numerous buildings, the two uncaptured SBS men had to hide in the countryside for four days before they could reach the waiting submarine. After the Rhodes raid, the SBS was absorbed into the SAS due to the heavy casualties they had suffered.

The Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment (RMBPD) was formed on 6 July 1942, and based at Southsea, Portsmouth. The RMBPD was under the command of Royal Marines Major Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler with Captain J. D. Stewart as second in command.The detachment consisted of 34 men and was based at Lumps Fort, and often exercised in the Portsmouth Harbour and patrolled the harbour boom at nights.

1st SAS was divided, with 250 men from the SAS joining the Small Scale Raiding Force to form the Special Boat Squadron under the command of Major the Earl Jellicoe. They moved to Haifa and trained with the Greek Sacred Regiment for operations in the Aegean.

They later operated among the Dodecanese and Cyclades groups of islands in the Dodecanese Campaign and took part in the Battle of Leros and the Battle of Kos. They, with the Greek Sacred Band, took part in the successful Raid on Symi in July 1944 in which the entire German garrison was either killed or captured. In August 1944 they joined with the Long Range Desert Group in operations in the Adriatic, on the Peloponnese, in Albania, and, finally, in Istria. So effective were they that, by 1944, the 200–300 men of the SBS were holding down six German divisions.

Throughout the war, No.2 SBS did not use the Special Boat Squadron name but instead retained the name Special Boat Section. They accompanied US Major General Mark Clark ashore before the Operation Torch landings in October 1942 on Operation Flagpole. Later, one group, Z SBS, which was based in Algiers from March 1943, carried out the beach reconnaissance for the Salerno landings and a raid on Crete, before moving to Ceylon to work with the Special Operations Executives, Force 136 and later with Special Operations Australia. The rest of No. 2 SBS became part of South-East Asia Command's Small Operations Group, operating on the Chindwin and Irrawaddy rivers, and in the Arakan, during the Burma campaign.23

Although their roles always overlapped to some extent, the various canoe and boat units became more specialised from late 1942 onwards. The RMBPD focused on ship attack and harbour sabotage, the Special Boat Section and COPP undertook covert beach surveys, and the Special Boat Squadron engaged in raiding, sabotage and reconnaissance above the high-water mark.

Picture in the gallery of the printed details on the RN service guide for its use, and storage of compass when not in use.

A few years ago we were privileged to have acquired the service sword of a WW2 SBS D.Day hero, and his ancestral; sword of his ancestor, the great ‘Nicolson of Delhi’ hero of the Raj in the 19th century, one of the few men to still have his much revered statue still standing in India.  read more

Code: 25234

395.00 GBP

An Original and Superb WW2 RAF Air Ministry Issue 'Scramble Bell', Cast Bronze With Turned Hardwood Handle On A Brass Socket Mount With Brass Ball Top. Interior Bears The AM Crown Mark of the Air Ministry Contract

An Original and Superb WW2 RAF Air Ministry Issue 'Scramble Bell', Cast Bronze With Turned Hardwood Handle On A Brass Socket Mount With Brass Ball Top. Interior Bears The AM Crown Mark of the Air Ministry Contract

An iconic centre piece of any collection from the most renowned and famed era of the British RAF. This would would make an amazing addition to any collection, or display, or a unique historic gift for any collector of aeronautica.

A most scarce, original, 'Battle of Britain' piece of original, RAF Air Ministry issue aeronautica, an original brass bracket mounted then hand-held 'scramble' bell, complete with its wooden handle, stamped AM Crown, marked with crown and initials AM, Used at an RAF air base. Made in the period when the RAF knew very well that war was imminent and very likely, and it was used throughout the entire war, right from the 'Battle of Britain' period. It’s diameter of the bell is 200 mm, and height 300 mm approx, it weighs, 3.15 kilos.

A very fine example, in super condition, of an original RAF scramble bell from a RAF base, such as RAF North Weald, as it likely came from that location area, another that came from RAF Debden, an airfield 3 miles south east of Saffron Waldon in Essex, was sold over six years ago for 2,500 at auction in New York.

This hand bell would have been rung when instructions came through from HQ of an imminent attack by the feared and deadly Luftwaffe Bombing Squadrons, in order to scramble the bravest of the brave, the frighteningly young, RAF, RAAF or RCAF pilots into the air. During the Battle of Britain and beyond the average age of the pilots was just 20 years old, of the 2,937 British and Allied aircrew. Britain aircrew were flying multiple sorties a day to intercept the relentless Luftwaffe raids over the British skies, Aircrew from sixteen nationalities flew and fought together against the Luftwaffe, who outnumbered the RAF in both aircraft and pilots.

Against all odds, the RAF defeated the Luftwaffe. Hitler was forced to abandon his plans to invade Britain.
544 aircrew were killed during the Battle of Britain. A further 422 aircrew were wounded. Almost a third of all the men that flew.

British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, famously expressed the incredible debt owed to the Battle of Britain aircrew:

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

During WW2 the world's premier gallantry medals were granted to air Force personnel, 22 Victoria Crosses were awarded, and 2,001 Air Force Crosses were Awarded, 26 were awarded to the same recipient twice, and just 1 was awarded to the same man three times.

Throughout the summer of 1940, across England, on hundreds of grass makeshift runways, with young eager pilots that awaited in huts for the bell to be rung, then rushing ‘hell for leather’ to their fighter planes, in order to attack the German bomber and fighter formations descending on vulnerable Southern England. Such as RAF Debden, in Essex, that was built in April 1937, with the tarmac airstrip laid in 1940. It was a sector station for 11 Group RAF. Many British Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons were based at Debden, including number 17 squadron throughout the Battle of Britain. In September 1942, it was handed over to the USAAF, as part of British support for the American bombing campaign in Europe. The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England, literally "The Air Battle for England") was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. The British officially recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as the Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz.

The primary objective of the German forces was to compel Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement. In July 1940 the air and sea blockade began, with the Luftwaffe mainly targeting coastal-shipping convoys, ports and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth. On 1 August, the Luftwaffe was directed to achieve air superiority over the RAF with the aim of incapacitating RAF Fighter Command; 12 days later, it shifted the attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed, the Luftwaffe also targeted factories involved in aircraft production and strategic infrastructure. Eventually it employed terror bombing on areas of political significance and on civilians.

The Germans had rapidly overwhelmed France and the Low Countries, leaving Britain to face the threat of invasion by sea. The German high command knew the difficulties of a seaborne attack and its impracticality while the Royal Navy controlled the English Channel and the North Sea. On 16 July, Adolf Hitler ordered the preparation of Operation Sea Lion as a potential amphibious and airborne assault on Britain, to follow once the Luftwaffe had air superiority over the UK. In September, RAF Bomber Command night raids disrupted the German preparation of converted barges, and the Luftwaffe's failure to overwhelm the RAF forced Hitler to postpone and eventually cancel Operation Sea Lion. Germany proved unable to sustain daylight raids, but their continued night-bombing operations on Britain became known as the Blitz.

Historian Stephen Bungay cited Germany's failure to destroy Britain's air defences to force an armistice (or even outright surrender) as the first major German defeat in World War II and a crucial turning point in the conflict. The Battle of Britain takes its name from a speech by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18 June: "What General Weygand has called The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin." The scramble bell came three different forms, the larger mounted bell, with the same AM Air Ministry marks, but much heavier, so they had to be wall mounted, or on a free standing bracket, hanging outside of say, a hut, and this type the medium sized bracket mounted for hanging outside of a hut, but as this one with an added handle, which was naturally much somewhat portable, and ideal for emergency RAF bases and landing strips, created with makeshift or tented non-permanent buildings. And the smaller regular contract hand-bell was also ideal in those bases.  read more

Code: 25232

1795.00 GBP

A Most Fine Imperial German & WW2 General Officer's & Field Marshal's Grade Sabre As Carried By Field Marshal von Kliest With Ruby Eye Lion's Head Pommel

A Most Fine Imperial German & WW2 General Officer's & Field Marshal's Grade Sabre As Carried By Field Marshal von Kliest With Ruby Eye Lion's Head Pommel

Lioness head quillon end and langets decorated with a panel to the reverse langet, and a pair of crossed cannon barrels on the front langet. Remarkably the hilt still retains around most of all its original highest grade gold plate surface.

P hilt guard with oak leaf with acorn decoration across the bow, laurel leaf patterning around the ferrule and wire bound sharkskin grip. It looks truly, spectacularly beautiful.
The blade is double side fully etched with Romanesque scroll patterning combined with stands of arms.

In the gallery is a portrait photo of WW2 Field Marshal von Kleist holding his near identical Imperial service lion's head pommel sword.

Almost all WW2 German Generals and Field Marshals served in WW1 and thus continued to use their previous war service sword, just as this one. The added benefit was often that the Imperial German made swords could be better quality than the later period replacements, especially the superior deluxe versions like this one, which were the next grade below the presentation Damascus bladed German Grosse Degan sabre. the sword hilt and blade is is superb condition for age.
The scabbard is steel, blued overall, with a copper-gilt suspension belt mount. Truly one of the best quality and condition examples apart from the light scabbard denting we have seen in 20 years. Curiously we have seen exactly the same kind of denting on the scabbards of known WW2 General officer's swords, often caused by sword scabbards being caught in Mercedes staff-car doors

The scabbard has several service dings and dents  read more

Code: 24759

1095.00 GBP

A Very Good WW1 & WW2 Royal Naval Officer's Sword with Service Knot

A Very Good WW1 & WW2 Royal Naval Officer's Sword with Service Knot

Made and used in WW1 and WW2, yet perfectly serviceable for current service.

Near mint gilt, fully etched blade with traditional anchor and the King George Vth cypher.

The original Royal Naval sword was designed in 1805, although elegant in design it proved impractical and was replaced in 1827 by the solid hilt variant. In 1846 the Royal Naval blade was standardised for all Royal Naval officers, with the current lighter, straight single-edged blade being commissioned into service in 1929.

During World War I, the Royal Navy's strength was mostly deployed at home in the Grand Fleet, confronting the German High Seas Fleet across the North Sea. Several inconclusive clashes took place between them, chiefly the Battle of Jutland in 1916. The British fighting advantage proved insurmountable, leading the High Seas Fleet to abandon any attempt to challenge British dominance. The Royal Navy played an important role in securing the British Isles and the English Channel, notably ferrying the entire British Expeditionary Force to the Western Front without the loss of a single life at the beginning of the war.
The Royal Navy nevertheless remained active in other theatres, most notably in the Mediterranean Sea, where they waged the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns in 1914 and 1915. British cruisers hunted down German commerce raiders across the world's oceans in 1914 and 1915, including the battles of Coronel, Falklands Islands, Cocos, and Rufiji Delta, among others

At the start of World War II in 1939, the Royal Navy was still the largest in the world, with over 1,400 vessels. The Royal Navy provided critical cover during Operation Dynamo, the British evacuations from Dunkirk, and as the ultimate deterrent to a German invasion of Britain during the following four months. The Luftwaffe under Hermann Göring attempted to gain air supremacy over southern England in the Battle of Britain in order to neutralise the Home Fleet, but faced stiff resistance from the Royal Air Force. The Luftwaffe bombing offensive during the Kanalkampf phase of the battle targeted naval convoys and bases in order to lure large concentrations of RAF fighters into attrition warfare. At Taranto, Admiral Cunningham commanded a fleet that launched the first all-aircraft naval attack in history. The Royal Navy suffered heavy losses in the first two years of the war. Over 3,000 people were lost when the converted troopship Lancastria was sunk in June 1940, the greatest maritime disaster in Britain's history. The Navy's most critical struggle was the Battle of the Atlantic defending Britain's vital North American commercial supply lines against U-boat attack. A traditional convoy system was instituted from the start of the war, but German submarine tactics, based on group attacks by "wolf-packs", were much more effective than in the previous war, and the threat remained serious for well over three years

Fully etched blade with old aged pitting at the tip end now surface polished bright.  read more

Code: 25221

695.00 GBP