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Remembered Today:

Ypres Ring


Gunner Bailey
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Looking for something else I found this by chance in my loft. I cannot remember when I got it but as my sapper grandfather spent a lot of WW1 around Ypres it may have been his. It is a man size ring. Aluminium with a copper inlay. Very nicely made.

Can perhaps one of our Belgian pals tell me if these were sold by the town after WW1? Otherwise it may be more family trench art.

John

post-8629-1250155959.jpg

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Do you know that is an amazing coincidence, I was tidying yesterday and found one almost the same in a gift tin in my library, will post a picture later.

Mick

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Do you know that is an amazing coincidence, I was tidying yesterday and found one almost the same in a gift tin in my library, will post a picture later.

Mick

Twins seperated at birth?

John

this one looks postwar to me

Can you explain why?

John

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Picture of my ring.

Mick

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Amazing Mick. Clearly a less elegant design but aluminium and copper just the same. Also your design looks more a woman's ring. It is an amazing co-incidence.

John

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Its a large size, thats a very thick pen.

Mick

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Given the materials that these rings are made of it is likely that these are war time trench art in the true sense. A soldier could carry these around in his pocket and work on them in quiet moments unlike the brass dinner gongs, vases and other items made from 18 pdr shell cases. The rings are probably made from German fuze caps which would be a good source of aluminium and brass.

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Surely a soldier would need some specialized tools to make those rings? You can`t just whittle away at aluminium and brass as if it`s wood!

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The one I have hasn't been made as a one off by an amateur, its mould cast with a copper insert.

Mick

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Never the less it could have been made in a workshop somewhere behind the lines. The tool used to make the pattern on your ring is often used on "soldier made" trench art.

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Surely not sold by town of Ieper? Spelling is French. Nice souvenirs of an ugly war, though. A

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Surely not sold by town of Ieper? Spelling is French. Nice souvenirs of an ugly war, though. A

To the British it was just Ypres or just Wipers. If British or Belgian made I'd expect the Y version to be used. I have some clearly Belgian made trench art vases that use the Y version.

John

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Given the materials that these rings are made of it is likely that these are war time trench art in the true sense. A soldier could carry these around in his pocket and work on them in quiet moments unlike the brass dinner gongs, vases and other items made from 18 pdr shell cases. The rings are probably made from German fuze caps which would be a good source of aluminium and brass.

The aluminium could have come from something like an aircraft windscreen surround. If so just a drill and a file would be needed to make a basic ring. Easily available to sappers or mechanics.

John

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I think I may have solved this.

On page 27 of Nicholas Saunders book 'Trench Art', there is a photo of 'three Belgian soldiers making finger rings'. On page 28 there is a photo of an aluminium serviette ring with a copper inlay with Ypres inscribed on the copper.

Looks like Belgian soldiers, during the war, is the most likely source.

John

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I have a number of rings of this type from both France and Belgium.

Unlike the (later) ‘Battlefield Sweetheart Brooches’ which were produced in the 1920’s, they are fairy crudely (my assessment) made of aluminium, some incorporating scraps of copper or pieces of brass buttons. I had always understood them to have been made during the war.

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Never the less it could have been made in a workshop somewhere behind the lines. The tool used to make the pattern on your ring is often used on "soldier made" trench art.

As I said, not a one off made by an amateur.

Mick

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  • 3 weeks later...

A man with metal working experience from civilian life could have made that with little effort.

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More than just some metal working experience - so as I said not a one off made by an amateur.

Mick

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More than just some metal working experience - so as I said not a one off made by an amateur.

Mick

Mick

My thinking is that most trench art was done by people with some metal working skills and these probably increased the more they did it. I would think that there were more metal workers around at the start of the last century than there are now.

My ring does look very well made with the copper inset to the aluminium, but who can tell how this was done from 90 years on?

John

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John thats my point - So in my mind an amateur would be a clerk or shopkeeker turning out fine specimens of metalwork. A metalworker turning out metal items isn't an amateur. Now I must admit that since having completed my apprenticeship in 1981 I don't regularly touch my tools, I couldn't make that in my shed - but I can see that the insertion of the copper insert, almost a dovetail, in the specimen I have takes some skill.

As much as I would like to think it was made by a veteran with a couple of files and lump of aluminium and copper while remembering his lost mates with a tear in his eye, I really don't think so.

Mick

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John thats my point - So in my mind an amateur would be a clerk or shopkeeker turning out fine specimens of metalwork. A metalworker turning out metal items isn't an amateur. Now I must admit that since having completed my apprenticeship in 1981 I don't regularly touch my tools, I couldn't make that in my shed - but I can see that the insertion of the copper insert, almost a dovetail, in the specimen I have takes some skill.

As much as I would like to think it was made by a veteran with a couple of files and lump of aluminium and copper while remembering his lost mates with a tear in his eye, I really don't think so.

Mick

Hopefully Mick if we can meet up some time we can compare these specimens. The skills involved certainly exceed my own metal working skills.

John

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